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Sanctified by Grace?

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Chris Jager asked a good question in response to the first post in this series and I thought it was important enough to explore in more than a couple of lines. He asks:

Also, is sanctification a work solely of the Holy Spirit, or both the Holy Spirit and the believer? Is the work attributed to both, or just the Holy Spirit? When does it become "my work," trying to attain my own righteousness, and when is it true sanctification?

Isn't true sanctification produced through the hearing of the gospel?

Passive Recipients, Made Active in Good Works

Throughout Scripture, regeneration, which is nothing less than a sharing in the new creation, is brought about by the Holy Spirit. Not only in the beginning, but throughout our lives, the Spirit is renewing us by grace, conforming us to the image of Christ by his Word.

The danger in legalism (or neonomianism) is to collapse the gospel into the law, while antinomianism collapses the law into the gospel. Either way, the office peculiar to each becomes murky until finally it is obscured entirely. Furthermore, while legalism collapses justification into sanctification, antinomianism collapses sanctification into justification. One more, destination is the same, even if arrived at by different routes.

It is crucial, then, to distinguish law and gospel as well as justification and sanctification. Each plays its own essential but distinct role. The law reveals God's righteous demands, while the gospel reveals God's gift of righteousness in his Son; in justification God imputes Christ's righteousness to sinners, while in sanctification he renews them day by day. The law functions as the threatening judge to send us to Christ for our justification, but it also functions as the command of our Father in sanctification.

In the new birth and justification we are passive. Repentance and faith are given as a free gift. However, in conversion—the act of repentance and faith—we are active, having been raised from death to life by the Spirit through the gospel. Our initial and lifelong conversion cannot be attributed to us, but only to the Triune God. Every moment our turning from idols and specific sins (including self-trust, but also other fruits of the flesh) to the Living God is a gift of the Father, in the Son, by the Spirit. Nevertheless, it is not the Father who repents, nor the Son who believes, nor the Spirit who does good works; it is believers who, united to Christ, bear the fruit of faith in love and works. Salvation is not restricted to justification but encompasses all of the blessings we enjoy in Christ: election, redemption, effectual calling, justification, adoption, sanctification, and glorification.

Two Dangers to Avoid

So there are two dangers to avoid.

First, we dare not treat justification as a free gift that is based entirely on Christ's person and work in the gospel and then treat sanctification as something that is based on our person and work. As Calvin observes, the Spirit creates faith through the gospel, and this faith bears fruit in love and from love proceed good works. "The source of love is the grace of Christ" (Commentary on Corinthians II:404). "The mortification of the flesh is the effect of the cross of Christ" (Commentary on Galatians, 169). Elsewhere he adds,

Although we may distinguish them [justification and sanctification], Christ contains both of them inseparably in himself. Do you wish, then, to attain righteousness in Christ? You must first possess Christ; but you cannot possess him without being made partaker in his sanctification, because he cannot be divided into pieces [1 Cor 1:13]. Since, therefore, it is solely by expending himself that the Lord gives us these benefits to enjoy, he bestows both of them at the same time, the one never without the other. Thus it is clear how true it is that we are justified not without works yet not through works, since in our sharing in Christ, which justifies us, sanctification is just as much included as righteousness" (Inst. 3.16.1).
Calvin's point is that you can't receive any of Christ's gifts without receiving Christ himself and if you are united to Christ, then you cannot fail to receive all of his gifts.

Second, we dare not see ourselves as passive in sanctification, as we are in the new birth and justification. Christ is always the object of faith in every act, but there are different acts of faith. In justification, faith merely "receiving and resting on [Christ] and his righteousness" (WCF 11.1). Yet faith responds variously to different passages in God's Word: "yielding obedience to the commands, trembling at the threatenings, and embracing the promises of God for this life, and that which is to come. But the principal acts of saving faith are accepting, receiving, and resting upon Christ alone for justification, sanctification, and eternal life, by virtue of the covenant of grace" (WCF 14.2). So in answer to Chris's question, we can say something like this: We are justified by grace through a faith that simply rests in Christ and we are sanctified by grace through a faith that, resting in Christ, is working through love. There are many exhortations in the New Testament to cooperate with the Spirit: "Since we live in the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit" (Gal 5:25-26). We are warned not to quench the Spirit, or as the NIV has it, "Do not put out the Spirit's fire" (1 Thes 5:19).

We do indeed receive our sanctification as a gift. Not only in the beginning, but throughout the life of daily renewal, believers are always active in love because they are united to Christ alone through faith alone. Nevertheless, the consequence of our being mere recipients of grace is that we are by this gift made active in good works (Eph 2:8-10; Phil 2:12-13, etc.). As Luther said, "Faith is a busy thing." It is always looking for something to do, not for justification, but for the glory of God and the good of our neighbors. Sanctification is dependent on justification, but it is not the same as justification. Those who make diligent use of the means of grace will mature. They will no longer be children, but will grow up together with the other members of Christ's body into their head (Eph 4:14-15).

Myriad calls to preserve the bond of unity, to crucify the deeds of the flesh from which quarrels, immorality, and idolatry emerge, to press on, to consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to righteousness in Christ, both presuppose justification and entail something distinct from justification. On the basis of our freedom from the law's condemnation, we are able for the first time truly to love God and our neighbors. We are not what we will be, but we are not what we once were. The new creation has dawned and the Spirit has swept us into it—and keeps us swimming in the powers of the age to come—through his means of grace.

It has sometimes been said that justification is monergistic, but sanctification is synergistic. I understand the point: namely, to distinguish these gifts, as I've done above. It is certainly true that we are active in sanctification and that we grow in Christian maturity through our grace-given responses each day to God's commands and promises. However, it is unusual and, I think, inappropriate to import the monergism-synergism antithesis (typically belonging to the debate over the new birth and justification) into sanctification. It is better simply to say that we are working out that salvation that has Christ has already won for us and given to us by his Spirit through the gospel. Though in sanctification (unlike justification) faith is active in good works, the gospel is always the ground and the Spirit is always the source of our sanctification as well as our justification. As John Owen expressed it, "The doctrine of justification is directive of Christian practice, and in no other evangelical truth is the whole of our obedience more concerned; for the foundation, reasons, and motives of all our duty towards God are contained therein." In other words, the law always tells us what God requires and the gospel always tells us what God has done for sinners and why they should now yield themselves to righteousness.

In Roman Catholic and other synergistic schemes, we are working toward union with God—a final justification according to works. In evangelical teaching, however, we are working out of, or better, from the union with Christ that is already ours. In sanctification, we are striving, training, and running a race to the finish line—not toward justification, but from justification to our glorification. We "run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith..." (Heb 12:1-2).

What the Law Still Can and Cannot Do

In this race, the law still functions as God's command for us, but no longer with the power to condemn those who are justified in Christ. It is easy at this point to turn the third use of the law (to guide believers) back into the condemning use, or as the old Puritans used to say, to turn back from the covenant of grace to a covenant of works. At the beginning, upon first hearing the gospel, the believer was amazed by God's grace in Christ. Eventually, though, exhortations have become quasi-conditions for God's aquittal, as if one began by the Spirit through the gospel and then attained final justification through one's efforts in sanctification (see Gal 3:3).

Again Calvin's pastoral wisdom is helpful:

The consciences of believers, in seeking assurance of their justification before God, should rise above and advance beyond the law, forgetting all law righteousness...For there the question is not how we may become righteous but how, being unrighteous and unworthy, we may be reckoned righteous. If consciences wish to attain any certainty in this matter, they ought to give no place to the law. Nor can anyone rightly infer from this that the law is superfluous for believers, since it does not stop teaching and exhorting and urging them to good, even though before God's judgment seat it has no place in their consciences (3.19.2).

Owen says much the same thing in A Treatise on the Dominion of Sin and Grace, referring to the moral law:

Christ is not in the law; he is not proposed in it, not communicated by it, - we are not made partakers of him thereby. This is the work of grace, of the gospel. In it is Christ revealed, by it he is proposed and exhibited unto us; thereby are we made partakers of him and all the benefits of his mediation. And he it is alone who came to, and can, destroy this work of the devil.... This 'the Son of God was manifested to destroy.' He alone ruins the kingdom of Satan, whose power is acted in the rule of sin. Wherefore, hereunto our assurance of this comfortable truth is principally resolved. And what Christ hath done, and doth, for this end, is a great part of the subject of gospel revelation.
Then in the last section of that work he concludes that the law directs us but can never destroy the dominion of sin and give us new hearts any more than it can justify:
It is that which the law and all the duties of it cannot procure. The law and its duties, as we have declared, can never destroy the dominion of sin. All men will find the truth hereof that ever come to fall under the power of real conviction. When sin presseth on them, and they are afraid of its consequents, they will find that the law is weak, and the flesh is weak, and their duties are weak, and their resolutions and vows are weak; - all insufficient to relieve them. ... They sin and promise amendment, and endeavor recompenses by some duties, yet can never extricate themselves from the yoke of sin. We may therefore learn the excellency of this privilege, first, from its causes, whereof I shall mention some only:- 1. The meritorious procuring cause of this liberty is the death and blood of Jesus Christ. So it is declared, 1Pet.1:18-19; 1Cor.6:20, 7:23. Nothing else could purchase this freedom... 'Christ died, and rose, and revived,' that he might be our Lord, Rom.14:9, and so deliver us from the power of all other lords whatever.

... Let those that are believers, in all the conflicts with sin, live in the exercise of faith on this purchase of liberty made by the blood of Christ; for two thing will hence ensue:- [1.] That they will have a weighty argument always in readiness to oppose unto the deceit and violence of sin... See Rom.6:2. [2.] The internal efficient cause of this liberty, or that whereby the power and rule of sin is destroyed in us, is the Holy Spirit himself; which farther evinceth the greatness of this mercy. Every act for the mortification of sin is no less immediately from him than those positive graces are whereby we are sanctified. It is 'through the Spirit' that we 'mortify the deeds of the body,' Rom.8:13. Where he is, there, and there alone, is liberty...

...Wherefore, a great part of our wisdom for the attaining and preserving this liberty consists in the acting of faith on that promise of our Saviour, that our heavenly Father will 'give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him' of him. When sin in any instance, by any temptation, urgeth for power and rule in us, we are ready to turn into ourselves and our own resolutions, which in their place are not to be neglected; but immediate cries unto God for such supplies of his Spirit as without which sin will not be subdued, we shall find our best relief.

In this battle, therefore, success is always due to "considering the office and care of our Lord Jesus Christ for our relief," Owen adds. "Pardoning mercy, according to the tenor of the covenant, doth always disarm this sin in believers of its condemning power; so that, notwithstanding the utmost endeavours of it, 'being justified by faith, they have peace with God.'" Looking to ourselves, depending on our own progress and resolutions, will not destroy sin at its root, Owen concludes.

Viewed in this light, one can see how antinomianism and legalism come from the same failure to look to Christ for relief from sin's guilt and power. They are two sides of the same coin, as Thomas Boston pointed out:

This Antinomian principle, That it is needless for a man, perfectly justified by faith, to endeavour to keep the law, and do good works, is a glaring evidence that legality is so engrained in man's corrupt nature, that until a man truly come to Christ, by faith, the legal disposition will still be reigning in him; let him turn himself into what shape, or be of what principles he will in religion; though he run into Antinomianism he will carry along with him his legal spirit, which will always be a slavish and unholy spirit. He is constrained, as the author observes, to do all that he does for fear of punishment, and hope of reward; and if it is once fixed in his mind that these are ceased in his case, he stands still like a clock when the weights that made her go are removed, or like a slave when he is in no hazard of the whip; than which there cannot be a greater evidence of loathsome legality (Thomas Boston, "The Marrow of Modern Divinity", 207).
"In a sinking state of the church," Boston wrote elsewhere, "the law and gospel are confounded, and the law justles out the gospel, the dark shades of morality take place of gospel light; which plague is this day begun in the church, and well far advanced" (Gospel Truth, 106). Another 18th-century Scottish minister, John Colquhoun, adds, "To mingle, then, the law with the gospel, or teach men to join the works of the law to the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ as the ground of a sinner's title to justification in the sight of God is, according to our apostle, to preach another gospel (A Treatise on the Law and the Gospel, 142).

There are some in our Reformed and Presbyterian circles today who do not approve of the distinction between law and gospel or the covenant of works and the covenant of grace that they find in their Confession. Far easier it is indeed to yield to antinomianism or moralism, the default setting of our fallen heart. Justification is by grace alone, in Christ alone, but now we feel that we must go on to some other foundation, with a different basis and different conditions, for our sanctification. Yet, as our Lord said, wisdom is vindicated by what she accomplishes. There is more to our salvation than justification. Because of what God has done and is doing, there is much for us to do now. However, any pretended obedience that is not grounded in the finished work of Christ imputed to sinners is both an offense in the nostrils of a holy and merciful God and a fruitless effort to destroy the fruit of sin while leaving its root in tact.


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  • Guest - Rick

    In a few places you reference ‘maturity’? What does ‘maturity’ mean? Is it something that we are becoming or is it something that we (as believers) are ‘in Christ’? What does ‘maturity’ look like for the Christian? Is it a growing recognition of the depths of our sinfulness and of sin’s pervasive influences in our lives – which in turn magnifies the glory of Christ and His redemption of us? In trying to think through this idea of ‘maturity’, I would be interested in your thoughts regarding this Forde quote:
    ‘Am I making progress? If I am really honest, it seems to me that the question is odd, even a little ridiculous. As I get older and death draws nearer, I don’t seem to be getting better. I get a little more impatient, a little more anxious about having perhaps missed what this life has to offer, a little slower, harder to move, a little more sedentary and set in my ways. Am I making progress? Well, maybe it seems as though I sin less, but that may only be because I’m getting tired! It’s just too hard to keep indulging the lusts of youth. Is that sanctification? I wouldn’t think so! One should not, I expect, mistake encroaching senility for sanctification! But can it be, perhaps, that it is precisely the unconditional gift of grace that helps me to see and admit all that? I hope so. The grace of God should lead us to see the truth about ourselves, and to gain a certain lucidity, a certain humor, a certain down-to-earthness.’

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  • Guest - Chris

    Dr. Horton,

    Thank you so much for your response.

    As I live in Tillamook, (Oregon), and have three little, hungry mouths to feed, I can only dream of attending Westminster Seminary California someday. (After studying undergrad at Concordia in Irvine, and joining in fellowship at Christ Reformation Church in Anaheim.)

    Realistically though, your blog, Radio Conversations, combined with the sound works of other reformed authors such as R.C. Sproul and Dr. Riddlebarger have served to bridge the gap in my understanding and continuing education in all of the Holy Scriptures. A child of modern-day evangilcalism and pentecostalism, I have had to start the long process of unraveling what I have been taught and confused by, and re-renewing my mind with sound, Christ centered, reliant, and trust worthy teaching.

    As you well quoted, wisdom is indeed proved right by her actions (I think that's NIV :).

    I've had my first dose of this post, but I know it will take a couple more reads, prayer, and study to digest and apply much of it. There is so much to work into the foggy recesses of my brain...but I know that to "get wisdom" and "get understanding," is a treasure of the kingdom, and I will strive, together with help from teachers and preachers such as yourself, to come to understand all that I can of this "faith that, resting in Christ, is working through love."

    "Justified not without works yet not through works..."

    Your Pupil,
    Chris Jager
    Tillamook, OR

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  • Guest - Bill

    When speaking about sanctification ( believe that it's worthwhile mentioning Karl Barth. He had an extensive doctrine on sanctification which he developed in volume 4 of his Church Dogmatics.

    For Barth sanctification was in Christ just as much as justification. There was only one man that was holy in all history, Jesus Christ. We are sanctified in Christ, God clothes us with Christ's holiness, and we are holy because Christ is holy and not because of any good works of ours. For Barth searching for sanctification within us, is a futile attempt, since God accepts nothing but perfection, all believers will find that they are sinners if they examine themselves honestly against God's standard of holiness. And yet believers are Saints, Paul calls them saints,they are already saints, it's finished, it's accomplished, because God clothes believers with Christ's holiness. Believers are saints, only because Christ is A Saint, not because of any good works that they perform. Barth uses John 17:19 to back up his theology "And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth." So the moment a believer trusts Christ for salvation he receives both justification and sanctification. So both sanctification and justification from this perspective are passive, in the sense recevies both by grace through faith, and that the believer rests in Christ. And this was the main meaning of sanctification for Barth, a de jure or objective sanctification that happens outside the believer. Now Barth did not stop there and went further, by saying that the believer appropriates this objective sanctification for himself (becomes subjective) by faith alone (when he believes and witnesses to the objective sanctification in Christ). And Barth recognized that a Christian is forever changed when he trusts in Christ, he was not antinomian in the sense that he believed that the gospel produces fruit in a believer's life.

    Barth's definition of sanctification may not be perfect, yet it does solve the problem of how do I get full assurance of my sanctification. For Barth to be sanctified meant to be perfect, since God only accepts perfection, and the only Saint was Christ. So by looking at Christ's life of holiness and perfect obedience to the Father, instead of our own good works, we can get full assurance of our sanctification.

    Now somebody might object and say that Barth's difinition of sanctification is no different from justification. This is not the case. Barth associated justification with the death of Christ on the cross, and sanctification with his resurrection (exaltation). But both justification and sanctification occurred objectively 2000 years ago and are entirely appropriated by the believer by grace through faith, and the good works of a christian contribute nothing to either justification or sanctification. Since the good works of the saints are like filthy rags in the sight of the Lord they can not contribute to our sanctification or justification.

    I believe Karl Barth provided a great view on sanctification from the Reformed tradition, even though it may not be as orthodox as some would like.

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  • Guest - Chris

    Friends at the White Horse Inn,

    I am trying to reconcile the liberating and defining statement made by Calvin, which reads, "justified not without works yet not through works," with the clear statement of Paul in Romans 3:28, which reads that we are indeed, "justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law." These statements seem to conflict, but I believe that with some clarity they should somehow coincide.

    Is there perhaps a distinction that I am missing somewhere? One seems to say, "justified with works," and the other, "justified apart from or separate from, or without..." which would be in stark contrast.

    Thank you,

    Chris Jager
    Tillamook, OR

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  • Guest - Michael Horton

    First, in response to Chris on Calvin: He's talking about justification specifically, then salvation more broadly. We are justified apart from works, but works are the fruit of faith; therefore, they will certainly follow.

    In some of the other questions, I detect a more passive view of sanctification than I think the NT teaches. In one sense, of course, I am sanctified (present active indicative) because I am in Christ. Nevertheless, we are also called to grow up into Christ, maturing as the children of the Father who are being conformed to the image of their elder brother.

    Are we getting better? It's certainly true that as we grow, we become more aware of our sins and God' holiness--and therefore more aware of how far we still fall short of God's glory. It's also true that even if we begin to mortify one besetting sin, we find no shortage of others.

    However, God's Word promises us that the Spirit is in fact conforming us to Christ's image day by day and calls us to deny our sinful desires and present our body as a living sacrifice of thanksgiving. "Therefore we make it our aim...to be well pleasing to him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad" (2 Cor 5:9). This struggle takes place from a justification already declared, not toward it; nevertheless, it is a real battle. It cannot be done without resting in Christ, but sanctification is not just another term for justification; it is also being active in love, obedience and good works.

    As with our growth to adulthood, our process of growing up into Christ is not necessarily a matter of "getting better," especially in terms that we can measure ourselves, nor exclusively a matter of understanding the gospel better; it is a matter of deepening in the grace and knowledge of our Savior, facing more honestly our own sin, and becoming stronger and wiser in the battle.

    So while I appreciate Forde's reminder above, I think it overlooks Paul's point that there is a strong dis-analogy between physical and spiritual decay for those in Christ: "Even though our outward man is wasting away, the inner man is being renewed day by day" (2 Cor 4:16).

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  • Guest - mark mcculley

    I will begin with the part with which I very much agree, in which Horton warns against calling “sanctification” a cooperation.

    Horton: “It is inappropriate to import the monergism-synergism antithesis (typically belonging to the debate over the new birth and justification) into sanctification. It is better simply to say that we are working out that salvation that has Christ has already won for us and given to us by his Spirit through the gospel. Though in sanctification (unlike justification) faith is active in good works, the gospel is always the ground and the Spirit is always the source of our sanctification as well as our justification.”

    Mark McCulley: One mistake I think is to say that it’s the Holy Spirit who gives us what Christ has already won. I think it more appropriate to say that the Son gives us the Holy Spirt, and that the Son is given to us by legal imputation. Galatians 4:6– because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit into your hearts.”

    Of course this raises many questions about order and the word “union” and Horton has done a good job of borrowing from Bruce McCormack on the priority of imputation as a performative act. (See both his book on Covenant Union and his essay in Tributes to Calvin).

    I know the Westminster Confession uses “applied by the Spirit” language but we need to account for the order in Galatians 3:13-14. Redemption/ justification is the basis for the promise of the Spirit, the blessing of Abraham. As Ephesians 4:8 quotes Psalm 68: “when he ascended on high, he gave gifts to men.” Every reference to “baptism with the Spirit” (including I Cor 12:13) has Christ as the one who
    gives the Spirit, not the Spirit as the one who gives us Christ. Effectual calling by God the Father does not assume that it’s the Spirit who includes us into Christ.

    But of course that is a long discussion about the grammar and context of things. Right now I am only questioning the reduction which says that it’s the Holy Spirit who gives us the salvation which Christ won. Even though I agree that there is no imputation and calling apart from the Spirit, I worry about the leaving out forensic imputation or making the legal only one of the results of some “more basic” union.

    The thing I would most fundamentally question in Horton’s paragraph above is the conclusion—”the Spirit is always the the source of our sanctification as well as our justification.” One, the Father is forgotten. Two, in what sense is the Spirit the source of our justification? In the sense that Christ did His work by the Spirit? In the sense that the Spirit gives us the faith which has as its object what Christ won for the elect?

    We need to make sure that we keep saying that Christ’s righteousness is not what the Spirit does in us. This is why I don’t think we should even talk about a “twofold righteousness” or an “imparted righteousness”. In any case, we need to make a distinction (not identify) the work of Christ outside us and the work of the Spirit in us.

    Three, we need to define “sanctification” and make a distinction between our traditional use of the word and the Bible use of the word. The Bible has different senses of “sanctification”, both by the Spirit (II Thess 2:13) and “set apart and perfected by the blood” (Hebrews 10). David Petersen’s book Possessed by God is a good place to start to think about this.

    Of course, in our common language, when we say ‘sanctification”, we tend not to be talking about Christ’s death or about the Spirit causing us to hear the gospel. We tend to think of the new birth as creating in us a new disposition which causes us to gradually get better.

    Horton in his good book on covenant union has a very good discussion of the problems with traditional accounts of “regeneration”, and I know that none of us can talk about everything at one time. But my specific point is to ask how the Spirit is the source of “sanctification”. If we are talking about “sanctification by the blood” (Hebrews 10) then it is very right to notice the parallel to Christ’s death as the source of justification. But if we are talking
    about the Spirit causing us to understand and believe the gospel, then we cannot identify the source of justification as the Holy Spirit.

    The gospel is about the law, because the gospel tells us how Christ satisfied the law for the elect. The gospel demands a faith that repents from the old life of trusting ourselves (even with grace and help) to satisfy the law. To hear the gospel is to turn from the sin of trusting ourselves (with grace and help) to ever become acceptable to God. We learn to take sides against ourselves. It is Christ’s death which not only justifies us but also sanctifies us.

    We believe and we repent, and the Holy Spirit causes us to do
    both, but these things that the Spirit works in us are not our righteousness. The Holy Spirit’s work in us is not the source of either our justification nor our sanctification.

    While we are still sinners, we are already sanctified.

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  • Guest - mark mcculley

    Gaffin thinks that the “grace-works” antithesis is removed once you are “united” to Christ.

    p73, Gaffin, By Faith Not by Sight—”Here is what may be fairly called a synergy but it is not a 50/50 undertaking (not even 99.9% God and 0.1% ourselves). Involved here is the ‘mysterious math’ of the creator and his image-bearing creature, whereby 100% plus 100% =100%. Sanctification is 100% the work of God, and for that reason, is to engage the full 100% activity of the believer.”

    1.. “Union” is nevertheless conditioned on “faith”, and faith means not only Christ indwelling but already a “break with sin”, and that “freedom from sin” is defined NOT IN FORENSIC TERMS but in ontological terms.
    2.. The Holy Spirit’s work in us is read into Romans 6. Christ’s “break with sin” by His death in Romans 6 is ignored.
    3. So supposedly we have this “double grace”, and sanctification is by grace also. But also sanctification is a synergy, where works by grace are different than works without grace, and thus sanctification by grace is by both grace and works.

    Beware of “mysterious math”.

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  • [...] Sanctified by Grace: White Horse Inn Blog [...]

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  • [...] Part 1: Holiness Wars: What Is Antinomianism? Part 2: Holiness Wars: Antinomianism in Church History Part 3: Antinomianism and Reformed Confessions Part 4: Sanctified by Grace [...]

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  • Mark,

    My take: I think Horton should have linked his sentence regarding the H.S. as our source with the section he later quotes from Owen.

    "… Let those that are believers, in all the conflicts with sin, live in the exercise of faith on this purchase of liberty made by the blood of Christ; for two thing will hence ensue:- [1.] That they will have a weighty argument always in readiness to oppose unto the deceit and violence of sin… See Rom.6:2. [2.] The internal efficient cause of this liberty, or that whereby the power and rule of sin is destroyed in us, is the Holy Spirit himself; which farther evinceth the greatness of this mercy. Every act for the mortification of sin is no less immediately from him than those positive graces are whereby we are sanctified. It is ‘through the Spirit’ that we ‘mortify the deeds of the body,’ Rom.8:13. Where he is, there, and there alone, is liberty…"

    Horton is not teaching that the H.S. is the originating cause, as he doesn't teach that any where. Again, Owen from his Discourse of the H.S. -

    "The purging of the souls of them that believe from the defilements of sin is, in the Scripture, assigned unto several causes of different kinds; for the Holy Spirit, the blood of Christ, faith, and afflictions, are all said to cleanse us from our sins, but in several ways, and with distinct kinds of efficacy. The Holy Spirit is said to do it as the principal efficient cause; the blood of Christ as the meritorious procuring cause; faith and affliction as the instrumental causes, – the one direct and internal, the other external and occasional."

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