Yesterday in our adult Sunday school class, we continued studying the Scriptures for our doctrine of salvation (soteriology), especially how redemption is applied to us by the Holy Spirit under what the Bible calls sanctification.
Do you know how understanding sanctification can give you deeper confidence that you are saved, and sense the peace that comes with this assurance?
Reformed theology teaches that Christians can know that they are truly saved and that they will persevere until the end and die in faith… Often when people deny the possibility of the full assurance of salvation, they do so out of a fear that being assured of salvation will impede our sanctification. They think that once someone knows he is saved, he will think he has no duty to obey the Lord. If we know that we will certainly get to heaven, it is argued, then it does not matter what we do with the rest of our lives because God is going to receive us into heaven no matter what.
Scripture does not share this worry. Just consider today’s passage (II Peter 1:3 – 10)…
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What is Sanctification?
According to the Catechism (Q. 35), sanctification is “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.” It is a continuing change worked by God in us, freeing us from sinful habits and forming in us Christlike affections, dispositions, and virtues. It does not mean that sin is instantly eradicated, but it is also more than a counteraction, in which sin is merely restrained or repressed without being progressively destroyed. Sanctification is a real transformation, not just the appearance of one.
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I have many favorite resources for helping in sanctification. But one of the most important is an old book by Walter Marshall entitled Gospel Mystery of Sanctification (1692). Fortunately, you can get the PDF of the book for free!