The Nineteenth Sunday of Pentecost – October 8, 2023

Holy Trinity Church – Tom Mount

Reading: Romans 8:1-4



  • We are considering several important themes found in Paul’s letter to the Roman Christians.
  • Last week we discussed the critical subject of our “justification.”
  • This week we consider the equally important theme of our “sanctification.”

We have been made holy

“To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his holy ones.”

– Romans 1:7

  1. We were declared holy through our “justification”
  • Key idea: God issues a legal decision that we are “not guilty.” Past tense.
  • Key texts: Rom 3:21-25; Jn 5:24; 2 Cor 5:21
  • Results: We are forgiven and rendered “blameless” now and on the Judgment Day. We are ritually “purified” and qualified to share sacred space with God forever.
  1. We were made into new, holy creatures through our “regeneration”
  • Key idea: Our spirits were “re-created” in God’s image by God’s Spirit. Past tense.
  • Key texts: 2 Cor 5:17; Eph 4:22-24; 1 Jn 3:9
  • Results: As “new creations” in Christ, we are fundamentally different persons. Our identity is not “forgiven sinners!” We are “holy ones” who occasionally sin.
  1. We are being progressively made holy through our “sanctification”
  • Key idea: We’re being incrementally transformed into our new selves. Present tense.
  • Key texts: 2 Cor 3:18; Phil 2:12; 2 Peter 1:5-8; Eph 5:18
  • Result: We are learning to be filled with God’s Spirit to resist sin, do good and form new holy habits that honor the Lord. This is the daily battle (Gal 5:17-25).
  1. We will be made entirely holy at our “glorification”
  • Key idea: Our bodies will be instantly morphed into glorious bodies. Future tense.
  • Key texts: Rom 8:22-23; 1 Cor 15:20-23, 50-54; Phil 3:20-21; 1 Jn 3:2
  • Result: As fully re-created beings (spirit and body) we will delight in God’s fellowship and serve him joyfully on a breathtakingly re-created earth forever!

We have been liberated from our enslavement to sin and empowered by God’s Spirit to live holy lives

26 “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.”

– Ezekiel 36:26-27

  1. This indwelling, empowering presence of the Spirit is the hallmark of the New Covenant (2 Cor 3.3-11; Jer 31:31-34; Ezek 36.25-27; Joel 2:28-29).
  2. Before being united to Christ in this New Covenant, we had to rely on our tainted conscience to identify sin and our weak will power to resist it (John 8:34; Rom 1:21; 1 Tim 4:2; Rom 7:7-25).
  3. Now that we are united to Christ in the New Covenant, the Holy Spirit teams up with our re-created spirit to help us identify and resist temptation and to do righteous works (Rom 6:6, 18).


11 “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.”

– Romans 6:11-14