Tug of war in 1920'sJustin Tay­lor brings our atten­tion to an online dia­logue between Kevin DeY­oung and Tul­lian Tchivid­jian on the effort we’re called to make in our sanc­ti­fi­ca­tion. Since that ties in with our cur­rent series, Com­pleted by the Spirit, I thought it would be good to visit the dis­cus­sion as it stands so far:

The two pas­tors agree that the indica­tive of the gospel and our jus­ti­fi­ca­tion in Christ must be the basis of our sanc­ti­fi­ca­tion. But I think the dif­fer­ence can be boiled down to the dif­fer­ence between action and ontol­ogy. At the risk of over­sim­pli­fi­ca­tion, Kevin’s call is for us to “do” those things that are given to us as imper­a­tives, while Tullian’s call is for us to “rest in” the indica­tives so that the imper­a­tives flow from them.

Our view — and the one that will be explained in fur­ther posts in the Com­pleted by the Spirit series — is that Paul’s imper­a­tives are calls for us to “be who we already are.” We can do things that look like sanc­ti­fi­ca­tion but if those actions are done in the flesh, they are sim­ply behav­ior mod­i­fi­ca­tion. It’s a change in the heart that is desired, not sim­ply an out­ward change in actions.

To grow in Christ’s image, we must engage in “the hard work of going back to the cer­tainty of our already secured par­don in Christ and hit­ting the refresh but­ton over and over,” as Tul­lian explains. It’s know­ing who we now are in Christ that gives us the free­dom to be that new creature.