A Ham and Cheese Sandwich

So here are four things that are, unless I miss my guess, all part of the same conversation. Mark Galli reviews Kevin DeYoung’s book on Holiness here, and Justin Taylor tweeted this about it — “Galli’s critique of DeYoung on holiness seems very difficult to square with Heb 12:14.” Then Tullian wrote this about the sense in which Christians are still totally depraved, and Rick Phillips had this to say about that.

Me? I agree with everybody.

But the reason we are struggling to get through to each other is, I think, a problem with our theological lab equipment. Before proceeding further, let me put my orthodoxy hat on so that everyone who reads these words will be magically prevented from misunderstanding what I am about to say. There. It’s on, even though it might be at something of a rakish angle.

Tullian is fighting for sola gratia. Rick is fighting for sola fide. Kevin is fighting for the necessary connection between justification and sanctification. Justin says hey, what about this verse? Me? I agree with everybody.

The fact that we are justified through the instrument of faith alone does not mean that we can get faith alone, laid out flat on a table where we can dissect it. I can (and must) distinguish justification and sanctification, but if I successfully separate them, then I will just have two dead pieces of the ordo, one in each hand. I can distinguish Christ in me from me, but if I separate them, I don’t have a thought experiment (what would a Christian without Jesus be like?), I rather have a damned soul.

If you take the cheese away from a ham and cheese sandwich, the first thing you should notice is that you don’t have a ham and cheese sandwich anymore.

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