7 Strands of Grace

The Ordo Salutis

In What is the Gospel: Part 1, we explored the gospel in macro. In part 2, we’ll dig a bit deeper into the micro aspects of God’s grace in order to untangle a variety of strands that have left some believers confused over the years.

The tool we will use is called the Ordo Salutis, a Latin phrase meaning Order of Salvation. What the Ordo Salutis attempts to do is understand the specific strands of the gospel in a logical progression, much like the conception, birth, and growth of a human being.

The strands we will consider are predestination, regeneration, effectual calling, justification, adoption, sanctification, and glorification.


1) Predestination

As the word implies, predestination concerns the pre-determination of human destiny. The apostle Paul addresses this topic explicitly in Ephesians 1:4–6, “4 For [God] chose us in [Christ] before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will — 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.”

A Question of Interpretation

Since the word is in the Bible, we have to come to grips with the fact that Scripture teaches predestination. The question for the Bible-believing disciple of Jesus is not do you believe in predestination but what do you believe about predestination? How do you interpret the biblical teaching on the subject?

Without delving into a 60,000-word thesis in an attempt to explain the intricacies of the debate, let’s use two simple illustrations.

Adoption

One is the metaphor of adoption Paul uses in verse 5, which really is a beautiful picture of grace as a parent decides to lavish love on a child who is not their own, but who through adoption, becomes their own. The parent gives the child a new name, a new identity, a new family, a new inheritance — every is new. And everything is grace. Because who chooses whom? Does the child choose the parent or do the parents choose the child? Of course, the parents choose the child.

The same is true with the meaning of predestination. God as Father does the choosing. And this choosing is not based on foreseen merit or faith in the believer. As Paul says, predestination is grounded in love, which is the essence of what the Bible calls foreknowledge. When Sciptures says that he chose those whom he foreknew, the knowledge is not cognitive, it is relational — just like Adam knew Eve. It was personal and intimate. Not merely factual or informational.

In the Bible, faith is never the object of foreknowledge. Outside a reference to the event of the crucifixion, the object of foreknowledge is always a person or people. It is the same way an adoptive parent may speak of the fact that they foreknew their child before the adoption was complete. To be foreknown is to be foreloved. It is to have God set his affection on you before you set your affection on him, meaning that the moving cause in predestination is not in us but in God, or as Paul writes, “In love he predestined us…”

Being a recipient of such kindness and affection is why Paul exults, “to the praise of God’s glorious grace!”

Camera Angles

A second illustration concerns camera angles at sporting events. With modern technology, there are many cameras situated throughout a stadium that are able to broadcast the action to viewers via television or online. Sometimes the camera angle is low to the ground, like a sideline cam. From that perspective, you really can’t see all the action, but only what is right in front of you. However, with aerial cameras and drones, we can have a literal sky view of the action below, seeing the entire field of play, watching plays as they develop.

In the same way, Scripture uses different camera angles to show us how God’s plan of redemption is unfolding. The ground-level camera is represented by passages such as John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes upon him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

This passage represents the universal offer of the gospel to any and all who will believe. Amen!

There are also sky view cameras in the Bible that show us the action from God’s vantage point, such as Acts 13:48. In this passage, Luke records that in the wake of Paul’s preaching, many people responded to his message while others did not.

What was the difference? Did some people have greater intellectual capacity to understand? Were those who came forward more spiritually sensitive or morally superior? Why did some believe and others not believe? Luke does not leave us to guess but tells us point-blank: “All who were appointed to eternal life believed.”

Must someone believe in order to be saved? Absolutely.

The issue is this: How does someone believe? Where do they receive the ability to respond? Are they born with eyes to see or, to use Jesus’s terminology, have they been “born again” by the power of the Holy Spirit?

An attorney may object that I am leading the witness. Okay, probably am. But I can’t help ask these foundational questions, which lead us to the next strand of the Ordo Salutis.


2) Regeneration

In the theological conversation between the two primary soteriological “camps” among Bible-believing Christians (Arminians, who tend to emphasize human responsibility, and Calvinists, who tend to emphasize God’s sovereignty), a fundamental divide concerns the ability which sinners have (or do not have) to respond to the offer of the gospel.

Which Precedes the Other?

The question that we face is whether faith precedes regeneration or whether regeneration precedes faith. The apostle Paul addresses this quandary with some precision in Ephesians 2:1–10:

1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience — 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved — 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (ESV)

A major theme that stands out in this passage is how the tipping point from unbelief to belief is the experience of regeneration, where someone who was dead experiences the miracle of spiritual resurrection. Indeed, regeneration precedes faith.

My grandmother was a luminary figure in my childhood. She loved me well and I felt it. I spent as many nights in her home as I did in my own. Those evenings with “Granny” were filled with games, watching 70s sitcoms, and enjoying homecooked dinners followed by all the chocolate ice-cream I could eat.

Two weeks after I turned fifteen, she died of stomach cancer and was buried within the wall of a beautiful mausoleum in Memphis, TN. Losing her was emotionally devastating to me as a teen. I grieved her loss deeply then and still miss her today.

Whenever I return to Memphis, I make a special trip to Memorial Gardens to visit her tomb. With my face near the marble wall, I can stand two feet from where her head rests about four feet off the ground in the casket. While I know she can’t hear me, I still talk to her about my life, my wife and kids, pastoral ministry, thoughts, and dreams.

I would do anything to bring her back.

However, regardless of how loudly I speak or what powerfully compelling words I use to woo her awake, she simply cannot respond. Granny does not have the physical ability. It is hard to say it, but she is dead.

She does not have ears that can hear.

It is the same way with every sinner born on the planet. We are the real walking dead. Physically alive. Spiritually lifeless.

A Problem of Ability

Jesus’s raising of Lazarus is a helpful picture for us. He had died and been buried. Then Jesus calls him out. But you can’t just tell a corpse to stand up and walk out of a tomb. They don’t have the ability.

Unless they are given the ability through supernatural resurrection.

Just as God raised Lazarus’s physical body from death to life, God regenerates our souls, raising a dead sinner to new life with ears that are able to hear the gospel and respond.

The faith that is exercised by the previously dead sinner is the result of God’s prior activity of spiritual regeneration. That is what gave the dead sinner the ability to believe unto salvation.

This is why Paul emphasizes that we are saved by grace through faith and not by our works. In Ephesians 2:8 he says, “It is the gift of God.” In fact, it is a miracle of God. If you don’t believe God does miracles today, you don’t believe in regeneration, which is as much of a miracle as the raising of Lazarus.

No one believes the gospel because of any natural ability they possess. Not superior intellect. Not greater moral sensitivity or theological insight.

No, my ability to respond to grace is a gift of grace itself — “so that no one may boast.”

It was the calling of Jesus to Lazarus that brought him to life, which helps us to understand what effects this spiritual resurrection.


3) Effectual Calling

The strand of calling in the Ordo Salutis refers to the invitation of God to respond to the message of the gospel. Examining Scripture, we discern two kinds of calling.

Two Kinds of Calling

One is a universal invitation to anyone and everyone to receive Jesus as Savior and Lord. We call this the general call of God.

The second kind of call is specific and effectual, like Jesus commanding Lazarus to “come out of the grave.” This is the effectual call of God.

It is the effectual call that, as the word implies, effects the new birth of regeneration. When Jesus effectually calls someone to believe the gospel, he gives them the ability to respond… and they do.

The Westminster Shorter Catechism describes effectual calling in Question 31, asking, “What is effectual calling?”

The answer: “Effectual calling is the work of God’s Spirit, whereby, convincing us of our sin and misery, enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ, and renewing our wills, he persuades and enables us to embrace Jesus Christ, freely offered to us in the gospel.”

What a concise but loaded statement!

Here we see that the effectual call is the work of the Spirit, who convicts us of our spiritual need by “enlightening” and “renewing” and “persuading” and “enabling” the sinner to embrace Jesus by faith.

The Necessity of Effectual Calling

A number of passages shed light on the necessity of the effectual call.

One is John 6:44, where the apostle records Jesus saying, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” The Greek word used for “can” is dynamai (δύναμαι), a word of ability and power from which get our English word dynamite. No one is able to respond apart from the enabling grace of God in the effectual call of God.

Another passage speaking to the role of the Holy Spirit in the sovereign grace salvation of sinners is Titus 3:4–7, Paul writes, “4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

Although Paul does not mention the word “call” here, he does describe the effect of the Spirit’s work as rooted not in anything worthy in the sinner but in “the goodness and loving-kindness of God” and “according to his own mercy.” It is the Spirit who regenerates through Jesus Christ.

The result of this effectual call is mentioned in verse 7 and is the next strand in the Ordo Salutis.


4) Justification

As Paul wrote to Titus, we have been saved by the regenerating work of the Spirit “so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:7).

It is hard to improve on the definition of justification in the Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 33, which asks, “What is justification?”

The answer: “Justification is an act of God’s free grace, wherein he pardons all our sins, and accepts us as righteous in his sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone.”

Again, what a concise but loaded statement! As an act of unmerited free grace, I am forgiven and accepted as righteous by faith in the gift-righteousness of Jesus.

It is said that to be justified is to be declared by God “just if I’d” lived a sinless life — just like Jesus — where I possess a perfect record before the law of God.

This perfect record includes two sides and two hinges.

Two Sides

The two sides are absolute forgiveness and imputed righteousness. As a sin-substitute, Jesus bears my penalty before the law by enduring the just wrath of death that I deserve for my cosmic treason. The result is that all charges against me are canceled. This is absolute forgiveness.

But there is a second side to justification, which is imputed righteousness. Being justified, I am not merely forgiven, I am seen by God as if I have loved God and neighbor perfectly — just like Jesus.

My once sinful-slate is not just clean. It is filled with a record of perfect obedience.

I do not earn this perfect record but receive as a gift. In fact, it can only be received as a gift because there is only one who achieved a righteous record before the law.

That one is Jesus.

Just like I could never wear the Green Jacket of a Master’s Golf Champion unless someone else won it and gave it to me, I could never stand righteous in the presence of God unless wearing the perfect record of Jesus that he won and gave to me. Wearing that jacket would remove the record of my abysmal golf score and replace it with the record of a champion.

This is how the absolute forgiveness of God and the imputed gift-righteousness of Jesus form the two sides of justification.

Two Hinges

The way we receive the gift is dependent on the two hinges upon which justification swings.

The first hinge is repentance. Now, let’s be clear what we mean by repentance. We do not mean penance, which is where I make promises to do something in order to make up for my failures.

Repentance is not a promise to do better. In fact, repentance is not about anything we do at all but is a confession, not only about where we have rebelled against the King’s ways, wisdom, and will but is about what we can’t do. Repentance is brutal moral honesty about the condition of my sinful nature, with a recognition that my moral golf score is far lower than I want to admit.

In repentance, I turn from running away from God with my sin and turn back toward him with my sin. Holding it out with the hope of mercy, which is exactly what the repentant discover in the heart of God, “who is rich in mercy” (Ephesians 2:4).

If the first hinge is repentance, the second hinge is faith. By faith, we do not mean the belief that God exists or even that Jesus died and rose from the dead. Saving faith unto justification believes that God actually imputes gift-righteousness to my record. Personally.

Gospel faith is taking God at his word that “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation” (Colossians 1:21–22).

This is followed by verse 23, “If you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel.”

You see, saving faith centers on the hope held out in the gospel — that through Jesus as your sin-bearing, righteousness providing substitute — you are no longer seen by the Father as a condemned sinner but as a beloved son or daughter — “holy in his sight without blemish and free from accusation.”

It is the personal reconciliation with God that is inextricably connected to our justification that is the next strand in the Ordo Salutis.


5) Adoption

As the word indicates, the next step in God’s plan of redemption is adoption, where someone who was a spiritual orphan is engrafted into the family of God as a son or a daughter.

This means that not everyone is a child of God. All humans are creatures of God and subjects of God, but only those who experience the grace of adoption are his children.

Earlier, we quoted the apostle Paul in Ephesians 1:4–6, noting how he uses the concept of adoption to illustrate how God predestines the elect by grace,

“4 For [God the Father] chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will — 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.”


In the next verses of Ephesians 1, we discover that the foundation upon which adoption takes place is justification, the legal status we need in order to be reconciled to God without the fear of judgment. Paul writes, “7 In [Jesus] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8a that he lavished on us.”

It is the peace with God that justification secures that gives us the confidence to draw near with assurance of God’s love for us as treasured sons and daughters. In Romans 5:1–2, we read more on this topic from Paul, who says,

“1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.”


Since we have been justified we have peace, and no one has more peace than a child at rest in his or her Father’s arms. Here we note that justification is not the end of the gospel but is a means to an even greater end.

What is that greater end? Adoption!

According to theologian J.I. Packer, “Adoption is the highest privilege that the gospel offers: higher even than justification.” As someone who prizes the doctrine of justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, this takes some reflection for me to grasp. Upon reflection, we may note that justification may be the primary and fundamental blessing of the gospel, but adoption is the highest.

I think Packer is correct.

Justification is unthinkably glorious in how it deals with the problem of our legal status before God by transferring our sin to Jesus upon a cross and transferring his perfect record of righteousness to us. Jesus the treasured son becomes the rejected orphan so that the rejected orphan may become a treasured son.

On the heels of being declared just through receiving gift-righteousness by faith, we are welcomed into the family of God as the beloved of God, his very own adopted children. This is even more glorious! For if justification is legal, adoption is familial, relational, and personal.

Not only do we get to know God as the sovereign King but we get to know him as our devoted Father whom we are invited to call “Abba.” That term may sound strange to our ears because it is Aramaic, a commonly spoken language in New Testament times. When an infant was learning his first words, he would say, as we do, mama or dada. Only the words he would use would be imma and abba. When instructed to call God Abba, we are being invited to know him with the intimacy and trust of a toddler.

In adoption, we receive a new posture toward God, a new identity, a new name, a new family, a new inheritance, a new hope, a new future and more — all by grace and for the glory of God.

Maybe the best, most practical aspect of adoption is that we do not have to pray like professionals. We can approach God like little children running up to their daddy. Stumbling, stuttering, twisting up our words. Doesn’t matter. He understands and is delighted we’ve come to him for help.

As the author of Hebrews writes,

“14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:14–16).


A big way God helps in our time of need is the next strand in the Ordo Salutis.


6) Sanctification

The Westminster Shorter Catechism pulls through for us again by providing a crisp but substantive definition. In response to question 35, the answer is, “Sanctification is the work of God’s free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness.

Distinctions

Without breaking this definition apart in order to explain every word (which would be a valuable exercise), I want to focus on several distinctions between the act of God in justification and the work of God in sanctification before we get into the actual dynamic of how this strand is experienced in a believer’s life.

  • In the act of justification, we are wholly passive recipients of a one-time declaration. In the work of sanctification, we are active participants in an ongoing process.
  • The act of justification is dependent upon God’s work for me in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. The work of sanctification is dependent upon God’s works in me through the indwelling influence of the Spirit.
  • The act of justification is a static, legal declaration where I’m giving a new positional status. The work of sanctification is a dynamic, personal transformation where I’m giving a new spiritual ability.
  • The act gives me a living hope in the finished work of Jesus for me. Sanctification cultivates in me living hope in the progressive work of the Spirit within me.
  • Both justification and sanctification are by grace through faith unto the glory of God.

It is of the most crucial theological necessity that we understand these distinctions, lest we (even if unintentionally) make sanctification a shifting foundation of our justification instead of our justification the absolute ground for our sanctification.

This is the exhortation of Thomas Wilcox (1621–1687), in his well-known sermon Honey from the Rock, where he writes, “Poor, ragged nature, with all its highest improvements, can never spin a garment fine enough(without spot) to cover the soul’s nakedness. Nothing can fit the soul for that use but Christ’s perfect righteousness.”

Or as the Scottish preacher Robert Murray M'Cheyne (1813–1843) said, “For every one look at yourself, take ten looks upon Jesus.”

Dynamics of Sanctification

As far as the dynamic of change that takes place in sanctification, there are a few images that I find helpful. One is from Jesus in John 15, where he speaks of himself as a vine and his disciples as branches:

4 Abide in me, and I will abide in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I will abide in him and he will bear much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.


Without mentioning the Holy Spirit, we don’t have to stretch the imagery too far to recognize that the fruit of which Jesus speaks is the same fruit mentioned by the apostle Paul in Galatians 5:22–23 when he speaks of the fruit of the Spirit that is manifested in the believer’s life as we yield to and walk with the Spirit.

Jesus’s metaphor of a vine and branches gives a word-picture for how the fruit of the Spirit grows. Essentially, fruit grows as we abide in Jesus as branches in a vine.

Just like a lifeless branch is dependent upon the sap of the vine in order to produce a cluster of grapes, so we are dependent upon the power of the Spirit to produce in us and through us the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self-control, etc.

The What, the Why, and the How

When we consider the dynamic of sanctification as fruit production, the what we are to produce is no mystery. The good fruit of the Spirit versus the rotten produce of the flesh.

Of course, by this point in the Ordo Salutis, we know that the why of producing good fruit is not in order to be saved but is a result of being saved. It is evidence of a living branch to produce fruit — to be life-giving.

The remaining question is the how? How does the Spirit actually fill the branch unto fruitfulness?

Working with the analogy of branches connected to a vine, we may infer that abiding has to do with how the branch presses into the vine for its life. Apart from abiding in the vine, the branch can do nothing. You and I can produce no good fruit. None.

Unless we, as a branch, are filled with the sap of the Spirit.

How does that sap flow into our lives? As we believe the gospel. As we consciously exercise a repentant faith, confessing our remaining sin but holding firmly to the promises of grace that are ours in Jesus.

He is our life. He is our Vine. As I press into the truth that he is my sin-bearer and righteousness provider and the source of all spiritual fruit in my life, I am filled with the Spirit.

When I am filled with the Spirit, I begin to experience new desires and manifest a new ability to fulfill those desires. While I am a participant in these desires and abilities, I am not the source of them.

Evidence of the Spirit’s Presence and Power

When my life begins to change at the level of desire and motive, I can be sure that the Spirit is at work within, generating his fruit that soon will bloom on the branch. This is why when our children were young and would do something unnatural, like share a toy or express genuine gratitude, we would make a big deal about it. Not by congratulating the child on being morally superior but by recognizing that the Spirit was at work in their life, because there is no other way they would show such kindness if not for the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.

The same is true for any believer. The only way to produce good fruit is not by trying harder to change, but by believing more tenaciously that you are fully forgiven, accepted as righteous, and dearly loved as an adopted child of God in whom the Spirit dwells to convince you of this grace and to empower you to walk in God’s ways — for your good and for his glory.

Theologically, we call our abiding in the Vine union with Christ. Paul speaks about this union as being “in Christ,” which is one of his favorite phrases for the fullness of what it is to be a believer. We are in Christ in the same way Noah was in the ark. Safe. Secure. With a new world about to be revealed.

That is the promise for all who are in the ark of gospel safety through faith-union with Jesus. It is a promise that leads to the final strand in the Ordo Salutis.


7) Glorification

With a broad brush, we can describe all of history as moving through four stages. The first stage in the story’s development is creation, where God the Maker pronounces all things good. That era was soon followed by the era of rebellion in which the first humans committed treason against the Creator. Surprisingly, on the heels of rebellion we witness God establishing a plan of redemption for those who have rebelled.

The promise of redemption would find its fulfillment in the person and work of Jesus, who would become the divinely appointed scapegoat, taking upon himself the sins of his people.

As the story unfolds, the stages of creation, rebellion, and redemption overlap providing the opportunity for the unrighteous to put their trust in the Christ as their Rescuer-Savior and Lord.

The final act in the story is the consummation of history with those still in rebellion facing the eternal consequences that their treason against the King deserves while those who received the gift of God’s redemption experience the full restoration of a new heaven and new earth, along with the glorification of their own resurrected bodies.

It is the strand of glorification of which Paul speaks in Romans 8:18 when he writes, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” He writes further in verses 29–30, “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”

You may notice that in this passage we have a mini order of salvation. Foreknowledge, predestination, calling, justification, and finally, glorification. Interestingly, Paul writes of these in the past tense — even glorification. He is so certain of God’s eternal plan of redemption, that when someone receives even one of the pearls on the string of grace, he can have the assurance that he will receive them all. It is a done deal. Or as Jesus said in his final words on the cross, “It is finished!”

Paralleling the four stages of history are the four states of mankind. These states help us grasp the wondrous implication of what God has planned for the glorification of his people.

The State of Mankind at Creation

At creation, humans were created with the fullness of free will, allowing them the option to trust God unto obedience or to defy his wisdom through disobedience. A fun Latin phrase that captures this human state of freedom is possee peccare et posse non-peccare which means “possible to sin and possible not to sin.” This was the state of mankind at creation. They had true freedom to choose.

The State of Mankind in Rebellion

Well, we know what they chose, which led to a change in their condition, what we call the state of man in rebellion. In this state, the Latin phrase changes to non-posse non-peccare, which means “not possible not to sin.” In rebellion, humans lose their true free will and become enslaved to their sin natures. Oh, we are still free to choose what we want. The problem is what the sinful nature desires. Thus, we may possess qualified freedom but exist in ultimate bondage.

The State of Mankind in Redemption

When a dead sinner is regenerated by the Spirit, he enters into a new condition — the state of mankind in redemption. In this state, the Latin changes to posse non-peccare, “possible not to sin.” While the penalty of sin has been abolished through the cross, the presence of sin remains in the disciple of Jesus. Though this is a source of ongoing frustration, we have not been left in this life without an internal resource to enable us to crucify the desires of the flesh and live in newness of life, the indwelling presence and power of the Holy Spirit (see above in sanctification).

The State of Mankind in Glory

This is the state where the Latin finally transitions to non-posse peccare, “not possible to sin.” Can you imagine? There will be a day that will last forever in which you will not even be able to sin. Glory hallelujah and amen! This is one of the great promises to which I hold with ever-increasing hopefulness as I anticipate the state of glory where you and I who have been saved by Jesus will ourselves be made like him, enjoying the fullness of joy in the presence of our Savior forever and ever — all to the praise of his glorious grace!