Carl Trueman nails it:
As recent events have shown, churches contain perverts. Churches contain perverts who are Christians. Churches contain perverts who are Christians who do real harm to others and to themselves in their sin. And pastors are called to confront such people, to protect the flock, and to ensure that civil authorities deal with them.
But they are also called to pastor such perverts, to call them to repentance, to faith, and to lives that reflect their status in Christ. How is that done? Our theology of the Christian life needs to be able to address all Christians in their sin in a consistent manner. (Emphases mine.)
Read Trueman’s post on how sanctification and justification have significant, and often difficult, pastoral implications here.
I do not want you to make a Christ of repentance, or to turn it into a bondage for your soul. I do not bid you to measure the degree of your justification by your repentance, or to suppose that your sins are not forgiven because your repentance is imperfect. Justification is one thing, and repentance is another. You must not confuse things that differ. It is only faith that justifies. It is only faith that lays hold of Christ. But for all that, keep a jealous watch over your repentance. Keep it up–keep it up, and let not the fire burn low.
- you find a slackness coming over your soul,
- feel slow,
- and dull,
- and heavy,
- and cold,
- and careless about little sins,
look to your own heart then, and take heed lest you fall….
May this be our divinity, your divinity, my divinity; your theology, my theology! May repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ…never be disjoined! May we, while we repent, believe; and while we believe, repent! And may repentance and faith, faith and repentance, be ever uppermost, foremost, the chief and principal articles, in the creed of our souls!
—Old Paths, pp. 434-435. Reformatted for readability.
(Also see the kindle version for $0.99.)