Q. While visiting a local church, we were introduced to the idea of “a 2nd work of grace”. We were told that you can obtain perfection through sanctification while still on earth, at which point you no longer sin. Instead, you only make mistakes. In addition, you can lose your salvation before you are perfect but, you can also be saved again. This goes against everything we have ever studied and we just don’t buy it. We would appreciate your comments.
A. The so-called second work of grace is based on 1 Thes. 5:23 which says,
“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Some teach that this sanctification comes with the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and I have actually had people write me claiming to have stopped sinning because of it. One man even gave me the date on which he stopped sinning.
The problem I have with this teaching is that the man who wrote 1 Thes. 5:23, the Apostle Paul, also wrote the Book of Romans in which he admitted that he could not stop sinning and in fact the harder he tried the worse he became. (Romans 7:14-8:1) Then He thanked the Lord for attributing his sins to his sin nature and not condemning him for them. He had made a similar statement in 1 Thes. 5:24 when he said that the Lord is faithful and able to keep us blameless. This is because when the Lord went to the cross, He took all the sins of our life and paid the price for them there (Col. 2:13-15). Because of this the Father can no longer blame us for them, having already blamed His Son. Therefore we’re not condemned and are considered blameless. So it’s not that we stop sinning, it’s that because of the cross the Lord can regard us as though we had.