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Sanctification

  • Sanctification is a work of God, whereby He transforms us into the image of His Son through the means of Word and Sacrament. Sanctification is different from works in that it describes the work of God upon our minds leading to works. Works are therefore a fruit of sanctification.
  • That gracious and continuous operation of the Holy Spirit, by which He delivers the justified sinner from the pollution of sin, renews his whole nature in the image of God, and enables him to perform good works. - Louis Berkhof's Systematic Theology
  • The work of God's free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness. - Louis Berkhof's Systematic Theology
  • The work of God's grace, whereby they whom God hath, before the foundation of the world, chosen to be holy, are in time, through the powerful operation of the Holy Spirit applying the death and resurrection of Christ unto them renewed in their whole man after the image of God, having the seeds of repentance unto life, and all other saving graces, put into their hearts, and those graces so stirred up, increased, and strengthened, mortified and quickened. - Louis Berkhof's Systematic Theology

Sanctification is also described as both definitive and progressive. Sanctification is definitive in the sense that all of the believer's works are credited to him as if they were done by Christ. In fact, since our best works are but filthy rags before God (see Isa. 64:6), even the heavenly rewards we receive from our works are merited not by us but by the perfections of Christ credited to our works.

Sanctification is progressive in the sense that God causes us to grow in the knowledge of the Grace of God.

Supporting Scriptures:

  • 1 Cor. 1:30 - "But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption" - Here Christ is described as our sanctification, showing that it is His righteous works that we are rewarded for.
  • Eph. 2:10 - "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." - "His workmanship" implies that sanctification is God's work.
  • Phil. 2:12-13 - "Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure."
  • Heb. 10:10 - "By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."
  • John 17:17 - "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth." - Christ's high priestly prayer.
  • Jude 1 - "...To those who are called, sanctified[a] by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ"
  • 1 Cor. 1:1 - "To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints..."
  • Isaiah 61:10 - "...For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation,..."
  • 1 Thes. 5:23 - "Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Related Links:

  • Westminster Larger Catechism (scroll down to "question 75: What is Sanctification?") - notice the wording "Sanctification is a work of God's grace".
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