Sanctification

What is sanctification?

This is the process of becoming morally pure.

 

What does it mean to say something is moral?

This means that a given choice is consistent with the will of God or, to put it another way, consistent with the law of God.  An immoral act is a choice that is not consistent with God’s will.

 

Are only human choices moral?

Yes, since only human choices are free.

 

Do animals not make free choices?

They do not since they are driven by instinct and not by reason.

 

Are only those choices free which are moved by reason?

Yes, a free choice is when the individual is under no external compulsion to choose the way he does.  He makes the choice for his own reasons.  Edwards writes that a person is said to be free when he acts as he pleases.  In other words, there is no “hindrance or impediment in the way of doing, or conducting in any respect, as he wills.”  source

 

What is reason?

In this context, reason refers to a person’s intellect or understanding or our mind.  Our mind informs us what is good, and our will makes the choice to take it.  We use the word “motive” to refer to those reasons which the mind presents to the will and which move the will to choose this thing as opposed to another.

 

If we were to dissect a human choice, what would we find?

A human choice consists of two parts:  first, what is done and second why it is done.  Thus for instance, the difference between a homicide and a murder is not in what was done but why it was done.  A person’s “motive” is the answer to the question why a person acted the way he did.

 

How can we know if a given act is moral or immoral?

First, we must consider both what was done and why it was done.  If a man acts righteously, then we say he is acting in a moral way.  What he is doing is moral.  Jesus, however, said that if a person acts righteously in order that other people would notice, they are acting immorally. (Matthew 6:1)  The reason is that why they are doing it is not moral.  Their motive is not righteous. This shows us that both an action and its motives must be moral if an action is to qualify as a good work.

Second, once we have determined both what is done and why it was done, we then measure both by the light of Scripture.