The battle cry of the Reformation was justification by faith. The issues at stake demanded that this doctrine be made focal. The gospel of grace is polluted at its fountain when justification of free grace and by faith alone occupies other than a central place. Rome had its doctrine of justification. But it was stated to consist in sanctification and renovation and was construed also as a process out-wrought in the works which are the fruit of faith.
It has ever been the objection that justification complete, perfect, and irrevocable by faith alone is inimical to the interests of holy living. Does not such a doctrine remove the need for and the incentive to good works and the sanctified life evidenced thereby? Paul had to meet this challenge and the Reformers encountered the same allegation.
In a nutshell the answer to the charge is the doctrine of sanctification. Justification and sanctification are inseparable and a faith divorced from good works is not the faith that justifies. Justification is concerned with righteous standing in the sight of God, sanctification with holiness of heart and life. Faith itself is faith in Christ for salvation from sin and acceptance with God. Implicit in the faith by which we are justified is hatred of sin and commitment to God whose glory is holiness.
Definitive Sanctification. To speak of sanctification as definitive might appear to deny its progressive nature and open the door to the fallacy by which the doctrine has so frequently been distorted. But biblical teaching is not to be suppressed or toned down because of an objection that springs from too restricted an understanding of the biblical witness nor by fear of the distortions to which the doctrine has been subjected.
When Paul addressed ...1
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