I am using the HCSB here because I think it most closely clarifies the thoughts of the KJV in these two passages:
Hebrews 10:14 HCSB For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are sanctified.
Romans 7:6 HCSB But now we have been released from the law, since we have died to what held us, so that we may serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old letter of the law.
Of all the concepts in the gospel of Christ, the one that the evangelical church and orthodoxy have gotten the most wrong, is the concept of sanctification and specifically the operation and workings of sanctification in the life of the saint. This is the place where churches that emphasize holiness are so destructive to their members. Let me share what I believe most of them teach. I am going to list it in bullet form:
- After the person is converted the Holy Spirit enables one to live the law
- One must strive at all costs to study and remain holy by the standards provided
- Over a long period of self discipline and study the saint will become more and more holy.
- One who cannot do this should question the fact of their salvation
- If you can't live holy, maybe you should examine to see if you are really saved.
The phrase, "serving in the new way of the spirit" needs some unwrapping and explanation. We have already seen that... somehow just magically walking in the law... is not possible, and Paul uses the entire chapter 7 in Romans to make that point. It's interesting that he ends it in this fashion. Romans 7:24-25 HCSB "What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this dying body? (25) I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with my mind I myself am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh, to the law of sin." Let me try to unwrap this for your. The answer is the gospel. Before you say "no duh" consider this. Sanctification is a process. It happens over time I know, the passage above from Hebrews says that it is already accomplished. It is. But still, we are left with the need to serve in the new way of the Spirit. This speaks of a process.