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  • 2 or 3 works of grace

    2 or 3 works of the Spirit or knowing God more fully?

    In our experience being raised in a Christian culture we sometimes have a somewhat distant, somewhat ignorant relationship with God. When we come to know God "more fully," we may describe this as a "new work" or as "spiritual regeneration." To be "born from heaven" is to begin life with God at the center of our being. Even if we have known him in our understanding, it may not translate into real change until we are either regenerated or renewed.

    Whether we are regenerated for the 1st time, or renewed, giving us a deeper appreciation for our Christianity, is the real issue here. Those who had not really known God, or had known Him from a distance, have referred to this regeneration or renewal as 1st, 2nd, and 3rd works of grace. They all come by the power of God, and not by our own abilities. However, accepting them and entering into them brings positive changes to our lives, depending on what we had experienced before and later come to experience in a deeper way.

    If we had known God and never felt that we had come to live a righteous life in the power of God's Spirit, we refer to a "2nd work of grace," or "Sanctification." If we had never experienced miraculous and supernatural gifts, including tongues, healing, and prophecy, and then come to experience them, we refer a "2nd or 3rd work of grace," or "Spirit Baptism," depending on whether or not theology of a "Finished Work" of Christ is accepted. Those who believe in the Finished Work theology, view Spirit Baptism as a 2nd Work of Grace. Others see Spirit Baptism as a 3rd Work of Grace, after Salvation and Sanctification.

    All of these things, however, Christ provided at the cross, and afterwards, at Pentecost. It's just that as Christians we don't always have the knowledge of what being regenerated or renewed means. Those who had never known God in a personal way talk about becoming "regenerated." Those who had never experienced victorious righteous living refer to the 2nd Work of Sanctification. And those who had never been able to demonstrate spiritual gifts claim to have received the Spirit Baptism.

    I personally grew up, living a fairly moral life, and knew God, talking with Him regularly. But I never experienced the power of a righteous life, displayed as a witness to others. It may simply be that I did not exhibit my righteousness as a testimony to others, because I thought all people were basically nice people (I was a child). Later, I came to recognize that God wanted me to be a spiritual witness to something other than the unrighteous world around me, including my own moral failures, and experienced greater sanctification and spiritual gifts simultaneously. I claimed to have received the "Spirit Baptism."

    But I do think all these things had been available to me through my Christian experience, had I been properly taught by people who had experienced it. I was therefore not regenerated, but renewed, spiritually. At least that's how I view it. I had been raised up in a somewhat ignorant experience of spiritual regeneration, but had not fully appreciated the difference between Christians and the non-Christian world. I had to fall into sin in order to come back and realize that our Christian testimony is one of righteousness in order to begin walking in spiritual sanctification and spiritual gifts.

    What's your experience? Do you fit into any of this?

  • #2
    My wife was right--the subject is too complicated for those not familiar with the Sanctification and Pentecostal movements. Vinson Synan recently died, but was a terrific historian on this.

    Basically, it's 1) Regeneration, 2) Sanctification, and 3) Spirit Baptism.

    I believe God provided for all 3 at the Cross and at Pentecost. The Spirit Baptism was supposed to be a down payment on our Salvation, assuring us of the same, as well as an anointing for ministry to the world.

    The reason these 3 get separated into 2 or 3, depending on your theology, is because in the former Christian World many grow up in the faith without a full appreciation for what it is supposed to be. Then, Sanctification and Spirit Baptism may come as separate experiences, after Regeneration, when these things become fully recognized.

    I hope this helps?

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by randyk View Post
      My wife was right--the subject is too complicated for those not familiar with the Sanctification and Pentecostal movements. Vinson Synan recently died, but was a terrific historian on this.

      Basically, it's 1) Regeneration, 2) Sanctification, and 3) Spirit Baptism.

      I believe God provided for all 3 at the Cross and at Pentecost. The Spirit Baptism was supposed to be a down payment on our Salvation, assuring us of the same, as well as an anointing for ministry to the world.

      The reason these 3 get separated into 2 or 3, depending on your theology, is because in the former Christian World many grow up in the faith without a full appreciation for what it is supposed to be. Then, Sanctification and Spirit Baptism may come as separate experiences, after Regeneration, when these things become fully recognized.

      I hope this helps?
      I'm familiar with the topic and perhaps have some thoughts. Most would call these "subsequent definite works of grace" to being saved. The old school Pentecostal testimony is to have been "Saved, Sanctified, Baptized with the Holy Ghost". These are taught as successive. Thus, one cannot be Baptized with the Holy Ghost while not yet having been Sanctified. The order of these of course pretty much follow the historical experience of those seeking a deeper experience with God. So first you had the Methodists, then the Holiness, then the Holiness Pentecostal. Each succeeded the next.

      I took a break there to go search out my copy of Vinson Synan's book The Holiness-Pentecostal Tradition. Yep, still have it. As you said, he was a terrific historian of the movement.

      Anyway, after many years now as a Christian, I see some faults with the "subsequent works of grace" theology. I think it works much more like you suggested in your original post, "knowing God more fully". I find also that thought matches up to Scripture better.

      Let's take "entire sanctification". Once sanctified, if one finds themselves in error, there is no escape from the paradox which is implied. Often times I have seen the strongest Christians fall to this error in "secret sin", or otherwise known as scandal. There is intense pressure to cover one's own faults if you have testified to being "entirely sanctified" supernaturally. I am much more likely to view Sanctification as a continuous work of grace than one of totality and numbered as "#2". You know and I know and your wife knows that we have seen and known many who seemingly are Baptized with the Holy Ghost and who do not live the life of the twice cured Christian.

      My favorite corrective on this is the error of Benjamin Hardin Irwin who founded the Fire Baptized Holiness Church. It isn't that I want to pick on him, but he embraced the doctrinal excess of a multitude of "fire baptisms" meant to cure one ill or the other in progression to a higher order Christian (chapter 3 of Synan's book). I can see how in seeking God one can desire a continually deeper experience. So for me, I have kind of left the word "definite" out of the process. Thus, I don't believe that people either have or have not had the "definite" second blessing of grace called Sanctification as a single work. I'm not even going to discuss Baptism with the Holy Ghost since especially in these forums, the discussion wouldn't be fruitful.

      Blessings,
      Watchinginawe

      I Samuel 3:10 And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by watchinginawe View Post

        I'm familiar with the topic and perhaps have some thoughts. Most would call these "subsequent definite works of grace" to being saved. The old school Pentecostal testimony is to have been "Saved, Sanctified, Baptized with the Holy Ghost". These are taught as successive. Thus, one cannot be Baptized with the Holy Ghost while not yet having been Sanctified. The order of these of course pretty much follow the historical experience of those seeking a deeper experience with God. So first you had the Methodists, then the Holiness, then the Holiness Pentecostal. Each succeeded the next.

        I took a break there to go search out my copy of Vinson Synan's book The Holiness-Pentecostal Tradition. Yep, still have it. As you said, he was a terrific historian of the movement.

        Anyway, after many years now as a Christian, I see some faults with the "subsequent works of grace" theology. I think it works much more like you suggested in your original post, "knowing God more fully". I find also that thought matches up to Scripture better.

        Let's take "entire sanctification". Once sanctified, if one finds themselves in error, there is no escape from the paradox which is implied. Often times I have seen the strongest Christians fall to this error in "secret sin", or otherwise known as scandal. There is intense pressure to cover one's own faults if you have testified to being "entirely sanctified" supernaturally. I am much more likely to view Sanctification as a continuous work of grace than one of totality and numbered as "#2". You know and I know and your wife knows that we have seen and known many who seemingly are Baptized with the Holy Ghost and who do not live the life of the twice cured Christian.

        My favorite corrective on this is the error of Benjamin Hardin Irwin who founded the Fire Baptized Holiness Church. It isn't that I want to pick on him, but he embraced the doctrinal excess of a multitude of "fire baptisms" meant to cure one ill or the other in progression to a higher order Christian (chapter 3 of Synan's book). I can see how in seeking God one can desire a continually deeper experience. So for me, I have kind of left the word "definite" out of the process. Thus, I don't believe that people either have or have not had the "definite" second blessing of grace called Sanctification as a single work. I'm not even going to discuss Baptism with the Holy Ghost since especially in these forums, the discussion wouldn't be fruitful.

        Blessings,


        I appreciate the response nonetheless, and enjoy meeting someone who appreciates Synan's work. I also read his book on the Charismatic movement, but I've lost it now, or gave it away. Anyway, I agree with much of what you say. My own view, however, is based on my own experience. I believe, as I said, that all 3 of these were meant to be experienced together. I believe I read where the Assemblies of God early on adopted the Finished Work theology, which built Sanctification into Regeneration. Christ "finished" all of His work in redeeming us, both Regeneration and Sanctification, on the Cross. However, like you, I believe Sanctification is also a matter of progression--not a definitive change into perfection. We put on Christ's righteousness at Regeneration, but still have to mature in our faith. Never are we perfect or sinless--not until the redemption of our bodies, or glorification.

        The whole idea of a 2nd Work of Sanctification came, I think, from being in ignorance as a Christian, much as I was. I was raised in the Church, talked to the Lord all the time, and lived a relatively moral life. But I didn't know anything about God's Spirit. When I backslid as a teenager, I did find out that the Lord had been with me when I began to laugh at my ungodliness. When I did that despicable act, I suddenly sensed God left me, and I begged Him to come back, never having realized that He'd been with me my whole life.

        Still I knew nothing about the life of the Spirit, that Regeneration should be accompanied by the power of the Spirit. When I finally gave up my sins, and gave my whole life back to God, I read in the Scriptures where God said He gives His Spirit to those who obey Him, and instantly I felt the power of God upon my life. And it was there when I woke up the next morning--I was afraid this strong sense of God's presence would go away. I felt that as long as I walked in His righteousness, I would sense His presence with me. This was what some would feel is a 2nd Work of Sanctification. But I think it should've been part of Regeneration, had I been taught about it.

        The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is really, in my thought, the same power of the Spirit that comes upon us when we obey. But for many, they never experience the power of the Spirit unless they are taught to see God as a supernatural Person who dispenses gifts. For me, I had to see God as visiting me with spiritual power simply by giving up all my idols and choosing to live in His righteousness. As regenerated Christians we simply have to be taught to treat God as a real, spiritual Being, who wants to be number one in our lives, and not largely a distant Person who we go to when we need Him.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by randyk View Post
          My wife was right--the subject is too complicated for those not familiar with the Sanctification and Pentecostal movements.

          Basically, it's 1) Regeneration, 2) Sanctification, and 3) Spirit Baptism.

          I believe God provided for all 3 at the Cross and at Pentecost. ....
          There is nothing complicated. Those He called, are justified through Christ and receive the gift of the Spirit.

          And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by jake2020 View Post
            There is nothing complicated. Those He called, are justified through Christ and receive the gift of the Spirit.

            And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
            Thanks brother. You make that sound so simple!

            Comment


            • #7
              He promises peace to His people; Psalm 85:7-9
              Originally posted by randyk View Post

              Thanks brother. You make that sound so simple!
              For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, 1 Cor 14:33

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by randyk View Post
                2 or 3 works of the Spirit or knowing God more fully?

                In our experience being raised in a Christian culture we sometimes have a somewhat distant, somewhat ignorant relationship with God. When we come to know God "more fully," we may describe this as a "new work" or as "spiritual regeneration." To be "born from heaven" is to begin life with God at the center of our being. Even if we have known him in our understanding, it may not translate into real change until we are either regenerated or renewed.

                Whether we are regenerated for the 1st time, or renewed, giving us a deeper appreciation for our Christianity, is the real issue here. Those who had not really known God, or had known Him from a distance, have referred to this regeneration or renewal as 1st, 2nd, and 3rd works of grace. They all come by the power of God, and not by our own abilities. However, accepting them and entering into them brings positive changes to our lives, depending on what we had experienced before and later come to experience in a deeper way.

                .
                .

                What's your experience? Do you fit into any of this?
                Romans 11:6 KJV declares:
                And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

                Any "work" by God or man is not of grace, but by/of faith.

                So, you cannot have regeneration and renewing as works of grace. There is nothing like work/works of grace.

                Peace (of which is patience) is to grace what righteousness (of which is work) is to faith.
                Grace and peace unto you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Glorious View Post

                  Romans 11:6 KJV declares:
                  And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

                  Any "work" by God or man is not of grace, but by/of faith.

                  So, you cannot have regeneration and renewing as works of grace. There is nothing like work/works of grace.

                  Peace (of which is patience) is to grace what righteousness (of which is work) is to faith.
                  I have to think about that a bit. I was using the conventional terms regularly used by Christians in this regard. When they refer to "works of grace" they are all talking about what God did for us, and not what we do for ourselves. I cannot see our regeneration as anything but a "work of grace" accomplished by God.

                  I believe we receive our salvation by faith. But I don't believe we *accomplish* our salvation by faith. It is a work of God's grace on our behalf, which we receive by faith.

                  Everything God does is, I think, by faith, because it is by faith in His own matchless abilities. There is in no sense God doing a work of grace for Himself, but only for those of us who cannot acquire something on our own.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by randyk View Post


                    I have to think about that a bit. I was using the conventional terms regularly used by Christians in this regard. When they refer to "works of grace" they are all talking about what God did for us, and not what we do for ourselves. I cannot see our regeneration as anything but a "work of grace" accomplished by God.

                    I believe we receive our salvation by faith. But I don't believe we *accomplish* our salvation by faith. It is a work of God's grace on our behalf, which we receive by faith.

                    Everything God does is, I think, by faith, because it is by faith in His own matchless abilities. There is in no sense God doing a work of grace for Himself, but only for those of us who cannot acquire something on our own.
                    Two things:
                    1. God/Jesus does not do any "work of grace". Also, no man does any "work of grace". It matters what scriptures teach and evangelize, not what Christians regularly say.
                    2. Salvation comes by grace, not by faith. After it comes by grace, it is subsequently given to us as a gift. We can only work out that gift of salvation when it is mixed with faith. So, any work (righteousness) of God is/must be domiciled in faith.
                    Grace and peace unto you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by randyk View Post


                      I have to think about that a bit. I was using the conventional terms regularly used by Christians in this regard. When they refer to "works of grace" they are all talking about what God did for us, and not what we do for ourselves. I cannot see our regeneration as anything but a "work of grace" accomplished by God.

                      I believe we receive our salvation by faith. But I don't believe we *accomplish* our salvation by faith. It is a work of God's grace on our behalf, which we receive by faith.

                      Everything God does is, I think, by faith, because it is by faith in His own matchless abilities. There is in no sense God doing a work of grace for Himself, but only for those of us who cannot acquire something on our own.
                      Two things:
                      1. God/Jesus does not do any "work of grace". Also, no man does any "work of grace". It matters what scriptures teach and evangelize, not what Christians regularly say.
                      2. Salvation comes by grace, not by faith. After it comes by grace, it is subsequently given to us as a gift. We can only work out that gift of salvation when it is mixed with faith. So, any work (righteousness) of God is/must be domiciled in faith.
                      Grace and peace unto you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by jake2020 View Post
                        He promises peace to His people; Psalm 85:7-9

                        For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, 1 Cor 14:33
                        Originally posted by Glorious View Post

                        Two things:
                        1. God/Jesus does not do any "work of grace". Also, no man does any "work of grace". It matters what scriptures teach and evangelize, not what Christians regularly say.
                        2. Salvation comes by grace, not by faith. After it comes by grace, it is subsequently given to us as a gift. We can only work out that gift of salvation when it is mixed with faith. So, any work (righteousness) of God is/must be domiciled in faith.
                        Lord, You will establish peace for us, Since You have also performed for us all our works. Isaiah 26:12

                        This is the gate of the Lord; The righteous enters through it....You have become my salvation.
                        The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. Psalm 118:19-23

                        For the sake of my brothers and my friends, I will now say, “May peace be within you.” Psalm 122:7-8

                        Praise your God; For He has blessed your sons among you.
                        He makes peace in your borders; ...He sends His command to the earth; His word runs swiftly. Psalm 147:12-15

                        Finally, brothers and sisters, pray that the word of the Lord will run swiftly and be glorified, just as it was also with you; 2 Thess 3:1-3

                        __________________________________________________ ____
                        “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. Matthew 5:9

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