The Gospel must be protected as carefully against legalism as against antinomianism. An active pride is as dangerous for faith as the laziness that shirks every task. The merit-seeking efforts of a penitential suppression of the desires of the flesh can harden the heart as effectively as the desires of the flesh that are unrestrained. The battle against dead works is just as important as that against dead faith. If justification is continually exposed to the misunderstandings and dangers of quietism, so sanctification is endangered by the abyss of self-righteousness. A super-ethical, predestinarian monergism is as questionable as the moralizing of the Christian religion by Kant and Ritschl. A transformation of the world through sanctification, that would become a boundless union with general culture, is just as much to be avoided as a separation through justification that would lead to a world flight. Daily renewal of the baptismal covenant is indispensable for a life of faith, but the following devotion to the performance of God’s will is no less necessary. Justification robs all conduct of its appearance of holiness, sanctification guards men against sinning against grace. The promise of forgiveness gives the basis of action, direction and power to all conduct; the Christianity of action prevents “pure doctrine” from becoming mere talk. Each statement is only true in its antithesis, in the answer given by the other.
Adolf Köberle, The Quest for Holiness: A Biblical, Historical, and Systematic Investigation, Trans. John C. Mattes (Eugene: Wipf & Stock, 2004) 254.