Sanctification; a Big Word and a Very Important Concept

by: David L. Piland

I play various kinds of worship music on occasion at a little Church in Clarkridge, Arkansas that holds around fifty people. Gene Carter, the pastor, started a sermon off one time talking about big words. He spent about five minutes talking about how he didn’t like to use big words that no one could understand. At one point he said,” I don’t have a great understanding of many big words and I don’t expect anyone else to understand them either.” That being said, my evaluation of Gene is that he was called to preach and does a fine job of preaching.
Paul in 1 Corinthians 2:4-5 said, “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your wisdom may not rest on human wisdom, but God’s power.” A good number of Christians may not know the meaning of sanctification. It is a very important aspect of Christian life, should be talked about, a subject of teaching, and preached about.
Definition
Let’s dive into the meaning of this ‘big’ word. “Sanctification is the process of Christian growth through which the Holy Spirit makes us like Christ.” Once we are saved it is not in God’s plan to leave us to our sinful ways. “In our lives, sanctification is God’s dynamic process that moves a disciple along in practical holiness.” Both of the quotes that were just listed describe sanctification as a gradual process.
When seeking the definition of sanctification, it is important to understand that sanctification and justification are two different subjects although they are not mutually exclusive. Justification is a forensic act, God’s declared justice satisfied so far as the believing sinner is concerned. Or said another way justification is the declaration of God toward sinners based solely on the finished work of Christ.
Sanctification is the inward renewal of a person’s character that results from the Holy Spirit as the gift of God’s grace to those who are justified. Faith is the means by which believers embrace the full penal satisfaction of Christ’s death on the cross on their behalf. Real moral progress is a result of sanctification. (7)
Basis
The basis that must be achieved before sanctification can be possible is the absolute faith in and surrender to our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12 NIV) The only method of salvation is justification by faith, and can be seen by the example of Abraham. “Abraham believed the Lord, and He credited it to him as righteousness.” (Genesis 15:5) One must be clear that it is the object of faith, and not faith alone that produces the result. God counts us righteous because He puts Christ’s righteousness to our account.
It is important to point out that justification merely declares us righteous and removes our guilt of sin. It does not change us in our life. God saved us by faith, and we are to live by faith. “If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10) Once we reach this point we are justified and the sanctification process begins.
Means
Before one can understand how to obtain sanctification, it is first important to understand how it is not obtained. In the following scripture Paul explains the importance of the believer’s death to the Law and the new union with Christ.
For when we were in the realm of the flesh the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore the fruit for death. But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released to the law so that we serve in the new way of the spirit, and not in the old way of the written code. (Romans 7:5-6 NIV)

Paul explained in 7:5 that a moral transformation is not a possible result of the Law, it can only result in death by way of arousing sinful passions. Sanctification, therefore, cannot be apprehended through Torah observance. The same faith in Christ that leads to our Justification, also leads us to our sanctification.
But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as first-fruits to be saved by the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. He called to you through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 NIV)

B.H. Carroll summarizes this Bible passage as follows, “that through which we get to salvation is faith in the gospel and the renovating power of the Holy Spirit” God’s instructions for our sanctification can also be found in Colossians 1:1-2, ”Since then you have been raised in Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things a Sanctification starts at one’s identification with Christ in his death and resurrection.”
McGee describes the next step in the process of sanctification as, “Shackles of a saved soul; struggle of a saved soul.” Paul in Romans 7 goes on to explain the difficulty in turning away from the shackles of the Old Testament Law and or old sinful ways. Justification is an instantaneous act, sanctification is not. Sanctification, requiring much effort, is the life process of growing in holiness.
Results/Fruits
As Christians we are not to place judgement in the form of condemnation on ourselves or other people but we can grade the fruit that people produce.
But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as first-fruits to be saved by the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. He called to you through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 NIV)

We will bear fruits by our actions, we will strife to be Christ-like if we are in the sanctifying process.
We will be determined not to stand up for our rights and to trust God for our defense. “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘it is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19) Effort will be constant in guarding our hearts against behavior unbecoming of sanctified life. “Be very careful, then, how you live-not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” (Ephesians 5:15-17)
Our immediate goal is conformity to Christ, ”And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” (Romans 8:28-29) God’s goal is to make us Christ-like. As we become more Christ-like, we discover our true selves and God’s purpose for our lives. We accomplish this by reading and heeding the Bible. By studying the example that Jesus set for us during his life on earth. By being Spirit-filled and by being the hands and feet of Christ.
Our willingness to serve is a result of sanctification. During a sermon at a Church that I attend, Real Life Church in Mountian Home AR, senior Pastor Vince Daniel said, “We are most Christ-like when we serve.”

Assurance
At the end of the last section we got into serving Christ. Our willingness to serve Christ is a strong indicator of the level of assurance that we will have in our sanctification. When I consider the level of sanctification in my own life or if I am talking with someone else about sanctification in their life I always bring to mind Paul. I think about how he went from someone who persecuted Christians, to being converted to a Christian on the road to Damascus as found in Acts 9:1-19.
He then spent the rest of his life, and gave his life, spreading ‘The Good News’. He was beaten on several occasions.
Now I want you to know brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear. (Philippians 1:12-15)

Paul used this time to preach to and convert many of the Roman soldiers that made up the palace Guard.
For I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out to be for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, wether by life or by death. For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:19-21)

To explain Paul’s position here, he considered it a privilege to suffer for Christ. While he was chained to a guard he preached to and converted them. If he was to be executed he would get to be with Christ. If we have the mindset of Paul we can have assurance of sanctification. The less we can live for ourselves and the more that we can live for Christ, the more assurance of sanctification we can have.
In conclusion we have found that sanctification is the process of a Christian traveling spiritually from justification to being Christ-like. In order for sanctification to occur we must be justified and surrender ourselves to be filled by Christ. We must become less so Christ can become more. Sanctification is a gradual process that to some degree depends on our willingness and desire to be In-Christ. The level of sanctification should increase throughout our lives. We can be assured of our sanctification based on our willingness to serve Christ and the fruit that we produce for Christ. The opposite of love is selfishness. Our ability to love God and our neighbors is a good indicator of our sanctification. Sanctification is a big word but it is also a very big part of a Christian.
Bibliography
B. H. Carroll, An Interpretation of the English Bible, vol. 5, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1948
Ben C. Blackwell, John K. Goodrich, and Jason Matson, Reading Romans in Context: Paul and Second Temple Judaism, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2015.
Carl F. H. Henry, Gordon H. Clark, The Biblical Expositor, Vol. III: Matthew to Revelation, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1985
Charles Grandison Finney, Power from on High [Electronic Resource]: A Selection of Articles on the Spirit Filled Life, Fort Washington, Pennsylvania: Christian Literature Crusade, 1994.
Eric Mason, Unleashed: Being Conformed to the Image of Christ, Nashville: B & H Books, 2015.
Gordon T. Smith, Called to be Saints [electronic resource]: An Invitation to Christian Maturity, Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2012
Herbert Lockyer, All the Doctrines of the Bible, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1964
Kapic, Kelly M., Sanctification : Explorations in Theology and Practice. Downers Grove, IL, USA: InterVarsity Press, 2014. ProQuest ebrary. Web, 2016.
J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, Nashville: Thomas Nelson Inc., 1983.
Moo, Douglas. The Epistle to the Romans. The New International Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996.
New International Version: Life Application Study Bible Commentary, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1991
Sally M. Promey, Sensational Religion [electronic resource]: Sensory Cultures in Material Practice, London: Yale University Press, 2014

The Cost Of The House And The Senate’s Recent Vote To Repeal Obamacare

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It is a widely known fact that the US House of Representatives are dead set on repealing the ACA otherwise known as Obamacare. They have voted to repeal it 62 times. As an Independent Christian Conservative I have never understood why other than the current republicans are catering to the Insurance companies and the Koch Brothers and their group Americans For Prosperity.  With the Koch’s and Americans for Prosperity being Pro Life and Pro Gay marriage it astounds me that they have gained so much control over the Republican Party.  The I recall that the ran 44,000 TV adds before the 2014 election. If a Politician that they back doesn’t appease them they will be voted out come the next election. Who can run against that kind of money?  Now the Senate has voted to repeal Obamacare. One of the main things that Obamacare has done is limit the profits of the Insurance companies. Under the ACA the Average increase in premiums over the past 5 years has been 2 percent the current increase just came in at 8.5 percent. With the repeal and all of these limitations gone some estimates are that rates will instantly go up 158 percent. All this is due to the baby boomers getting older and having more health problems. This realization was what led to Obamacare in the first place.

Recent  CBO projections of the savings to taxpayers  brings real question to why at this point the Republicans are so  hung up on repealing the ACA.  According the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office the Affordable  Healthcare Act will reduce net Medicare spending by $428 Billion from 2010-2019 and $716 Billion from 2013-2022.

The ACA or ‘Obamacare’ included new benefits for Medicare recipients by filling the Part D “doughnut hole.” It helps seniors on two ways. The health law provided new co-insurance for brand name and generic drugs. In 2015, beneficiaries hit the coverage gap after they and their plans spend $2,960 on covered drugs. Once the coverage gap is reached, beneficiaries then pay a co-insurance of 45% of the plan’s cost for covered brand – name drugs, and 65% for covered generic drugs until reaching a catastrophic threshold. A complete repeal would repeal the coverage gap co-insurance, and beneficiaries would end up paying 100% of the cost of covered drugs until the catastrophic threshold is reached instead.

The ACA or ‘Obamacare’ also filled in the doughnut hole by reducing the rate of growth in the catastrophic threshold — the amount beneficiaries must spend out-of-pocket before catastrophic coverage takes over. At that point beneficiaries have fixed co-pay. In 2014, for example, the annual catastrophic threshold fell from $4,750 in 2013, to $4,550 — the same level that it was in 2010. While the threshold rose in 2015 to $4,700 out-of-pocket, that’s still less than it was in 2013. If the Supreme Court stopped subsidies from flowing to the 34 states that did not establish their own exchanges, 8.2 million fewer people would have coverage by 2016, according to research released this month by the Urban Institute, an economic and policy research think tank. Next year, the number of people insured through purchasing private plans would drop by 69 percent.

 

Without subsidies to purchase insurance, many people would immediately lose coverage because they could no longer afford it. Others could be kicked off their plans without Obamacare’s protections for people with preexisting conditions. “You would just have an awful lot of people be uninsured, and then that ripples back through the health care system,” Jost says. “Basically, you would have a lot of people die because they couldn’t get health care.”

 

This is just the tip of the iceberg. A roll back of the Medicaid expansion would cause millions more Americans to lose their coverage and create mayhem for state governments. Without the ACA to plug the so-called “doughnut hole” for prescription drugs, seniors would see their drug bills go up.

 

A Supreme Court decision against Obamacare would cost millions of Americans their coverage, but full repeal by Congress would be even more devastating. Health care experts describe a state of complete chaos were the ACA to simply disappear from the books.

 

By now, the ACA has so fundamentally changed the health care system that repeal would not simply return the country to its pre-Obamacare state. The Urban Institute estimates that just rolling back subsidies for people in states with federally run exchanges—the Supreme Court scenario—would create such turmoil in the private insurance market that the number of people in 2016 buying private plans on their own would be substantially lower (just over 1 million) than if the ACA had never been implemented (about 7.3 million). In other words, destroying the exchanges would be much worse than if they were never implemented at all. Returning to the way things were is no longer possible.

 

Repeal would be bad for insurers as well as customers by causing at least short-term turmoil for insurance companies. Without an individual mandate and without subsidies to make insurance affordable, younger, healthier people would likely drop their coverage, leaving insurers to cover older, sicker people with more health care needs. But insurance companies can’t raise premiums until next year because the 2015 rates have already been locked in—at the very least, it would take months to renegotiate rates with each state. The result, according to Blumberg, a coauthor of the Urban Institute report, could be that companies spend more on coverage than they bring in on premiums. Not exactly a problem these companies are looking forward to.

There you have it. The Republicans driven by the greed of large Corporations and Insurance Companies are destroying the ACA at a cost of almost a trillion dollars to the taxpayers and causing over 30 million people to lose the Insurance coverage.

A Special Thanks to Gwen Mandell and IndependentVoting.org for Profiling Me in “The Hub”

 

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A Profile in Independence:

David Piland, Clarkridge, Arkansas

 

David Piland of Clarkridge, Arkansas found IndependentVoting.org after viewing the National Conference of Independents on CSPAN. A third generation electronics contractor, David called to say, “I want to work on open primaries here in Arkansas.”  Here’s a little bit from David:

David Piland

 

 

“I grew up in a small midwest town in the Ozarks (in the aftermath of the Vietnam War) where a handful of people had quite a bit and everyone else really didn’t seem to have enough to get by, and if they did it was barely. Despite it all everyone seemed to be content keeping things just the way it was. The area was dominated by Republican politics. I have never been on board with the Republican way of helping the wealthiest get richer while adding to the suffrage of the poor, which has produced a long history of sacrificing American and foreign lives to increase the wealth of military contractors. The Democrats seem to cater to the massive banks of Wall Street, with bailouts and protection from being broken up.  They have been credited with failing to correct a system that creates perpetual welfare.  The fact that around half or more of the people in the United States feel the same way that I do lead me to start the blog AverageJoePolitics.com and IndependentArkansas.org.  The amount of independent voters is growing due to the lack of elected officials that represent the wants and needs of the majority of the people that they represent. The politicians cater to the desires of their political party instead of their voters.”  

 

Why Would a Conservitive want to Repeal The Affordable Care Act?

By: David Piland

 

Why Would a Conservative Want to Repeal Obamacare?

 

Since March 23, 2010 when President Barack Obama signed the Federal  statute known as the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA) or “Obamacare” into law, conservatives have ran and been elected on the platform of repealing or defunding it. The more Libertarian or far right of the Republicans of course have keyed on the idea that the ACA forces United States Citizens to buy something that they may not want. Republicans also have made a big deal out of the slow roll out including all of the website problems and the upfront cost, not to mention the continual uninsured having to pay a tax at the end of the year for failing to acquire insurance. All things being considered one would still have to wonder why the Republicans are dead set on repealing the law with the recent findings by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office on how much the ACA will save the United States taxpayer over the long haul.

The slow roll out and the redesigning of the enrollment website by a different company than the original company that built it has cost the taxpayers.  This has been a big point of attack from right wing extremist looking to repeal the law. If the law was scrapped at this point, that large monetary investment by the taxpayers would be lost.

The law is very confusing which opens the door for critics.  Before the Affordable Healthcare Act coverage was very poor for an individual that was not eligible for group rates and coverage levels.  Also many people that had preexisting conditions could not acquire health coverage at all.

To understand the reasoning behind the ACA forcing U.S. citizens to purchase healthcare insurance they don’t want, one has to take into account who  ends up paying for the uninsured to receive healtMost people who do not have health insurance generally wait until a health problem is severe as they do not want to incur the high cost of healthcare without the benefit of health insurance picking up the majority of the cost. As history has taught us, preventive health care can prevent a lot of serious health problems. As with cancer and many other health issues early detection is often the key. When people that are uninsured have a major health problem, they encounter an expense they most likely will never be able to fully pay for. This unpaid bill, that is most likely higher than it would have been had the person been insured and sought treatment sooner, ultimately gets written off by the Hospital and ends up getting paid for by the U.S. taxpayers. What you are left with is forcing the uninsured to purchase insurance, or forcing taxpayers to pay for the cost of their healthcare.

Recent  CBO projections of the savings to taxpayers  brings real question to why at this point the Republicans are so  hung up on repealing the ACA.  According the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office the Affordable Healthcare Act will reduce net Medicare spending by $428 Billion from 2010-2019 and $716 Billion from 2013-2022. Any true conservative should be interested in saving hundreds of billions of dollars

When Sen Ted Cruse (R-Texas) announced that he was running for President at Liberty University he promised to repeal every word of Obamacare. Yet when his wife decided to leave her employment at Goldman Sachs to help with his campaign and they lost their health coverage, Ted Cruse signed up for Obamacare for his family.

It would all seem to come down to the large corporations.  They have reduced their work force from full time to part time employees in record numbers. According to a recent comment by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) American Companies have around 2.1 million dollars in untaxed profits stashed overseas. The same corporations that include Apple, General Electric and Microsoft That will do anything to avoid paying their fair share of an already reduced tax rate of 20% over the lower middle class that are at a tax rate of 35% is now doing anything they can to keep from providing benefits to their employees out of their massive untaxed profits. I would suspect that these are the same corporations behind the Republican politicians that want to repeal the ACA.

 

Our Decaying and Corrupt Political System

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By: David Piland

Today in the United States the Independent movement is growing like never before. A recent Gallop pole indicates that 42% of U.S. Citizens consider themselves independents. According to Jacqueline Salit, President of IndependentVoting.org, the increase in independent voters is a result of our decaying and corrupt political system. 2016 Independent Democratic Presidential Candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), while giving a speech at the Brookings Institute, said that “we are moving rapidly away from our democratic heritage into an oligarchic form of society where today we are experiencing a government of the billionaires, by the billionaires, and for the billionaires. As a result of disastrous Supreme Court decision, the 5-4 decision on Citizens United, billionaire families are now able to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to purchase the candidates of their choice. The billionaire class now owns the economy, and they are working day and night to make certain that they own the United States government.”

In August 1014 a half-dozen groups with ties to libertarian billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch had funded almost 44,000 ads in battleground states ahead of the November midterm elections, according to a report from the Center for Public Integrity and the Kantar Media Group/CMAG. They had great success retaining control in the house and gaining the majority in the Senate. The ads were a combination of attacks on Obamacare, also known as the Affordable Healthcare Act, and negative ads attacking candidates directly. The Koch brothers and the political group that they head, known as Americans for prosperity, also influenced elections at the state and local levels. In 2012 Americans for Prosperity had a bus tour with a hand full of staffers that at one point traveled across northern Arkansas. The bus had anti-Obama graphics on it. Their goal has been to get handpicked State Representatives and State Senators elected to push their agenda of lower taxes for the wealthy, and fewer benefits to the poor, along with less environmental and financial restrictions on large corporations.

In a Washington Post Article Carter Eskew reported:

“The 60 Plus Association, another group with connections to the Koch brothers, has sent mailers targeting vulnerable legislators by linking them to the Democrats’ signature health-care law. State politicians, the mailer said, voted to support Obama’s health care plan.The mailer depicts an African American man in a lab coat with a stethoscope slung over his shoulder and cites a vote to accept federal funding for the state health insurance exchange. The group did not respond to requests for comment.” Butch Wilkins, one of the targeted Democratic legislators who represents part of Jonesboro, AR said “It’s another lie, of course I don’t have a vote on Obamacare.” “They call themselves Americans for Progress, but they want to take us back — kill Social Security, kill the 40-hour week,” said Gerald Bosacker, 82. “They want to take us back to slave labor. Democracy is at stake.” AFP of pushing policies that benefit its wealthy backers. This includes lower taxes and less government regulation. “I call them Americans for Their Prosperity,” said Wilkins, the state representative. “They’re not interested in prosperity for Arkansas, but they’re interested in someone’s prosperity.”

 

The Koch brothers and their associates had good results; the libertarian right wing republicans took the Arkansas Senate, House, and Governorship for the first time since reconstruction. JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Missouri’s GOP-controlled Legislature is using its clout to push for limits to the state’s social safety net. Proposals nearing the end of the legislative process include a measure to tie the amount of time available for individuals to receive unemployment benefits to the state unemployment rate. Instead of the current 20 weeks, people could receive as little as 13 weeks of benefits. Another bill would cut how long low-income families can receive monthly assistance. A Senate budget proposal also would reduce funding for the social services, health and mental health departments. Some Republicans say those agencies are wasteful, and resources instead should go to programs designed to help welfare recipients find a job or get a better job.

One of the greatest factors driving voters to be Independent is the tax code. The wealthiest Americans pay very little taxes per dollar earned while most of the tax burden falls on the lower half of the middle class. A large number of corporations are allowed to stash U. S. profits in offshore accounts to avoid paying taxes.

Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) reports:

“When Prudential Financial needed help at the start of the Bush era repression in 1998 the American taxpayers gave them a bailout. How do they repay us?  In 2014 Prudent Financial made $3.5 billion in U.S. profits. They paid no taxes and got a $106 Million rebate from the IRS.” Last week, as I watched live Senate coverage on C-Span, all of the Republican Senators voted down an amendment by Sen Sanders that would end the loophole that allows offshore tax evasion.

At the beginning if this session the current group of Republicans at the national level passed legislation preventing money from the Social Security and Social Security Disability accounts from being moved back and forth from one to another to balance whichever one might have a shortfall at the time. This transfer has been done six times in the past, twice from the Social Security Disability to Social Security. The old-age trust fund is on track to be able to keep paying promised benefits in full through 2034, but the Social Security Disability program can only do this through 2016, according to estimates from Social Security’s trustees. But the Disability program would still have enough tax revenue that could keep funding about 81 percent of promised benefits. This would leave a 19% shortfall.

A large number of people that used to align with Republicans are not on board with helping the rich get richer and while cutting programs to the most vulnerable citizens. The Republicans are pushing the Koch brothers agenda while hoping the hundreds of millions of dollars the Koch brothers spend can pull the wool over the eyes of the United States Citizens with their negative adds or somehow convince people that what the Republicans are doing is somehow is in their best interest.