Saturday, April 09, 2005

Sanctification...Sola Fide?

Sanctification by faith alone? Is that title uncomfortable to you? What is your understanding of sanctification? The fact that sanctification is by faith alone has been misunderstood, abused, and, most of the time, rejected. Reformed Christians have (rightly) worked hard to distinguish between justification and sanctification, arguing that justification is the legal declaration of 'righteous' based upon the meritorious righteousness of Jesus Christ, and not a statement of the actual condition of the believer himself. Yet it seems that while Protestants have worked so hard to keep our works out of justification, that often they have mistakenly thought that since they have kept them far from justification, therefore they can then safely pour them into the catagory of sanctification. Sanctification is the actual infusion of the righteousness of Christ into us, even as justification is the actual imputation of the righteousness of Christ to our account. Francis Turretin says concerning the difference between justification and sanctification,

The former consists in the judicial and forensic act of remission of sin and imputation of righteousness; the latter in the physical and moral act of infusion of righteousness and internal renovation.

In like manner, the Westminster Larger Catechism #77 states concerning this difference:

...God in justification imputeth the righteousness of Christ; in sanctification his Spirit infuseth grace, and enableth to the exercise thereof...

I hope to be arguing in a series herein on Linkin' Blogs, for the biblical and Reformed doctrine of sanctification by faith alone in Christ alone. In the mean time, and keeping with the purpose of this blog, let me suggest a few foundational works that are essential reading on the subject:

John Owen, Sin & Temptation (This is the best work on subject of mortification ever written. It is currently out of print, but one of the books that is contained in this little, abridged volume is availible at the link below)

Walter Marshall, The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification (This is the best single volume on the whole subject of sanctification ever written. It has recently been republished and is availible at the link below)

William Romaine, The Life, Walk, and Triumph of Faith (This is an excellent treatment on the whole subject of living by faith. If you try to buy it anywhere else but the link below you could pay over $ it is only $15. While at the Reformation Heritage Books site, you may wish to also purchase Romaine's other excellent volume, 12 Discourses on the Law & the Gospel)

If you can get these and read them, you will be instantly edified and on your way to understanding sanctification, and that it is by faith in Christ alone.

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