Results tagged “Sanctification” from Reformation21

Tempted From Without, Yet Without Sin

Article by   December 2018
"...real temptation could not come to Jesus from within but only from without..." - Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, 3:315 continue

The World in the Church 4: Lawless World: Lawless Church?

Article by   November 2015
My first article began with the observation that Satan ambitiously aims to attack the church at the very points that are intended by God for its defence. He seeks to bring the world into the church through its elders, and at the heart of its public worship. Having considered the problems of distractedness, the desire to appear normal, and hostility to religion, in this final article I turn to reflect on how a worldly lawlessness may have infected the church. We live in a lawless age. The modern and post-modern turn inward that I mentioned in my last article is also a turn away from external moral responsibility and any kind of external moral regulation of the self's desires continue

"Peace, Peace..." Beyond Personal Peace to Kingdom Peace

Article by   July 2015
I worry about many of us evangelicals, including many of us in the Reformed tradition. I fear we have tended to reduce the Gospel to a promise of personal peace and we are often tempted to limit sanctification to psychological wellbeing. I believe this is one reason we are often ill equipped to think well about issues of social justice and relational disputes. We think they matter, but they are not actually essential to the Christian life. It is not necessarily that we hate the poor, don't care about racism or sexism, or are ignorant of other social pains. But we struggle to make the strong connection between those issues and living out the Christian faith. continue

The Fruit of the Spirit: Walk by the Spirit [Part 1]

Article by   April 2015
Paul's list of the nine-fold fruit of the Spirit has embedded itself in the varied exegetical and moral-ascetical traditions of Christianity as a succinct depiction of gospel virtue, one which directs the mind, the affections and the will towards great regions of Christian truth. To reflect on this tiny fragment of apostolic exhortation is to be set before an ideal which is at once compelling and impossible. Alert readers are simultaneously captivated by the sheer goodness of the life which these words commend and chastened by their incapacity and unwillingness to enact it. But, more importantly, as we reflect on these words we are reminded that believers live and act in the realm of the Holy Spirit. In that realm of grace, God's regenerative mercy is alive and active, setting aside inability and opposition, and establishing a form of common human life - the church - in which love, joy, peace and all the others are being established as human nature is renewed and moved towards its completion. continue

Union with Christ and Sanctification

Article by   August 2014
One of the chief benefits of the recent debates regarding sanctification is a renewed emphasis on the believer's union with Christ through faith. If we realize how often the apostle Paul situates our salvation "in Christ," we will also realize that Christ truly is the fountain of every spiritual blessing for the Christian. It is for this reason that the fourth affirmation of the Gospel Reformation Network on the gospel and sanctification highlights the centrality of union with Christ: continue

The Gospel Includes Sanctification

Article by   July 2014
In this article, I want to examine the third of the Affirmations & Denials of the Gospel Reformation Network, which makes a point at the very heart of our concern in presenting a balanced view of the gospel: We affirm that the gospel provides salvation for the whole man, including man's need for both imputed and imparted righteousness. Matthew's Gospel tells us that Jesus began his ministry in Galilee, where he went "proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people" (Mt.4:23). continue

Sanctification and the Heidelberg Catechism, Part Two

Article by   July 2014
The HC gives serious and careful attention to the requirements of God's law as a guide for the Christian life (Q. 92-113). This section does not teach sinners how to live in order to be saved, as if salvation could be earned by works of the law. Rather, it teaches those who are already saved through faith in Christ how to "behave towards God" and "what duties we owe to our neighbor" (Q. 93). continue

The Gospel and Total Depravity

Article by   June 2014
This month, I want to continue in my studies of the Affirmations and Denials on the Gospel and Sanctification, which touch upon so many significant issues. Having started with Article 1, which says that Legalism Is a Real Problem, I move now to Article 2, The Gospel and Total Depravity. We start with the affirmation: We affirm that unregenerate man, being totally depraved, is unable to obey or please God unto salvation. continue

Legalism is a Real Problem

Article by   May 2014
Legalism and self-righteousness are perennial problems that are endemic to the fallen condition of man. As Sinclair Ferguson has written, legalism "is embedded in the heart of man almost from the very day of his creation." (1) This is universally true of the unbeliever who, having neglected Christ, can only point to his or her own deeds for acceptance with God. But legalism is also a constant danger to the believer in Christ, who is constantly tempted to base his or her acceptance with God on moral or spiritual performance. continue

Thank God that Christians Are Not Totally Depraved

Article by   November 2012
One of the most pressing concerns in Reformed churches today is the importance of getting the gospel right. Recently, Reformed churches have had to oppose the Federal Vision theology, which compromises justification by inserting good works into the definition of faith. Unfortunately, Christians tend to defend doctrines by erring in the opposite direction. So it is that Reformed churches are presently facing a corruption of the gospel by the virtual denial of sanctification and good works. continue

Overcoming Sin & Temptation

Article by   December 2006
J. I. Packer's endorsement of John Owen's treatment of sin in an introduction to the 1983, Multnomah Press edition of Owen's writings on sin, Sin and Temptation, contained the following effusive words: He told me how to understand myself as... continue


Article by   October 2006
Imagine a prison with such a positive atmosphere that the guards don't need to carry guns to protect themselves. Imagine a prison where inmates begin each day with Bible reading and prayer, leading some to faith in Christ. Imagine a... continue

Surviving the Desert

Article by   May 2006
"The most significant lesson that desert dwellers can learn . . . is to regard themselves not as exiles from some better place, but as people at home in an environment to which life can be adjusted." When I was... continue


Article by   August 2005
 I want to speak with you about the single greatest threat to romantic love in America today, and possibly in human history. I refer, of course, to the ready availability of internet pornography. Nearly ten years ago, before I had... continue

Results tagged “Sanctification” from Reformation21 Blog

Sobriety and the Gospel

Article by   October 2019
In my previous post, I discussed how patience (along with the closely-related virtues of endurance and perseverance) is one of the most valuable Christian virtues in connection to Christian maturity. However, there is another virtue of the Christian life which,... continue

Patience and Maturity

Article by   September 2019
Over the past several months, I've taken a break from regular writing and blogging because I've been pondering the importance of Christian maturity. The apostle Paul himself stated that one of the central goals of his ministry was to... continue


Article by   August 2019
This month, the Alliance is pleased to offer a free MP3 download of Discipleship from the Alliance Teaching Series. Curated from years of biblical teaching, Discipleship presents listeners with thirteen encouraging messages on sanctification, the Church, and the Christian life. Download your copy... continue

Why Not All at Once?

Article by   March 2019
Christ, by his perfect life, atoning death and resurrection from the dead, secures the believer's calling, regeneration, justification, adoption, sanctification and glorification. Older Protestant theologians frequently referred to the order of the application of the benefits of redemption (i.e. the... continue

The Growing Christ

Article by   December 2018
During the Christmas season, we rightly focus our attention on the marvel of the incarnation of the eternal Son of God; then, we lag into the final days of the year with regrets about the many ways we failed... continue

Souls Always Need More Curing

Article by   December 2018
David Powlison, in his excellent book Seeing With New Eyes, touches on the reality of indwelling sin--particularly with regard to what we believe and how it impacts our actions. Powlison rightly insists that all believers live in a tension between... continue

Luther, Law and Love

Article by   November 2018
Life is too short not to reap the spiritual benefit of reading Martin Luther's Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians. Archibald Alexander, the first professor at Princeton Theological Seminary, once said that this particular work was the most... continue

The Statement on SJ&G Explained: Article 6, Gospel

Article by   October 2018
[Editorial Note: This is the sixth post in a series of posts in which we have invited the authors of "The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel" to expound upon the statement's affirmations and denials. We encourage our readers... continue

A Prayer for the Church (Galatians 5:16-26)

Article by   July 2018
Our Father in heaven, we rejoice to remember that hidden in the holiness of your Son, you count us holy in your sight. Not only as we pray, but as we live each day, you see us as saints,... continue

Andy Stanley, the Ten Commandments and Jesus

Article by   May 2018
I recently wrote about a sermon that Andy Stanley, pastor of one of the largest churches in America, North Point Community Church near Atlanta, GA, preached titled Aftermath, Part 3: Not Difficult (you can watch it here). In the... continue

A Functional Imperfect Perfectionism

Article by   March 2018
There is a functional perfectionism that can subtly creep into the minds and hearts of even those who adamantly reject any idea of instantaneous sanctification in a believer's life. On one hand, it is altogether possible for us to... continue

Looming Debate Over SSA

Article by   February 2018
These days, it seems that almost every week social media uncovers another eruption along the Presbyterian Church in America's (PCA) volcanic fault line between social accommodation/compassion and biblical obedience. This week, a conference promoting strategies to address same sex attraction... continue

Luther's Royal Marriage

Article by   October 2017
Martin Luther was an outsized personality, with great faith and some great flaws. Living with this great person has a good effect on you. Let me commend his little book, The Freedom of a Christian. When he challenged the... continue

Four Propositions on Homosexuality and Holiness

Article by   December 2015
In response to the cultural tidal wave of gay-rights advances in America, Christians and churches are seeking categories to make sense of our situation.  As the Supreme Court has legally normalized homosexuality, more and more people feel comfortable admitting to... continue

In Defense of Piper

Article by   September 2015
I've been told that some folk are taking issue with John Piper's Foreword to Thomas Schreiner's book on justification. According to Piper, who agrees with Schreiner, we are "right with God by faith alone" but we do not "attain heaven... continue

Which is better: Justification or Sanctification?

Article by   November 2014
Why do we love justification and sanctification? And do we love one more than the other?If you've ever been in a position where you think you might die, your theology really begins to matter, and you learn a great deal... continue

Church Planting Burdens: A Desire to Succeed

Article by   October 2014
As I was leaving Wal-mart earlier today, I noticed a woman, in a red and white checkered dress, holding a sign that said, "Success is only mentioned in the KJV once. Check Joshua 1:8." Is that the only time the... continue

Holding the centre

Article by   June 2014
Having been away on holiday for a week (yes, delightful, thank you for asking), I return to find that things continue much as they were, except that Mark Jones has joined Team Reformation21, and Paul has allowed him to write... continue

The rebel and the king

Article by   June 2014
(I first posted this about two years ago, but it seems germane, so I am going over the ground again.)Consider the man born into a family of terrorists. The man's father had rebelled against the King of the kingdom in... continue

An Apologie

Article by   June 2014
Thanks to Carl (sort of) for the Introduction. But the man he speaks about is not me, I promise. I have lots of friends on Facebook, but do plan to purge some of the less trustworthy ones. I hope to... continue

Don't Believe the Lie: Email Is Not the Best Option

Article by   February 2014
According to this 1995 commercial, "American Online is making it easier for people to live, work, and play." In part, this is true. Ordering roses for our spouse, checking the weather, arranging family vacations, and watching the news is much... continue

The Church: The Place for Those in Perfect Health

Article by   February 2014
On numerous occasions I have been told that the church is like a hospital for the sick. The illness is sin; the remedy is Christ. We, therefore, attend church to receive our diagnosis and to gladly hear and embrace its... continue

All that Grace Does!

Article by   June 2013
This coming Monday evening, June 17, we begin our pre- PCA General Assembly conference, hosted at Second Presbyterian Church of Greenville by the Gospel Reformation Network.  The conference is titled, "What Grace Does."  Too often today, salvation is preached as... continue

Misconceptions about Justification and Sanctification

Article by   December 2012
I have benefited from reading the comments on the wide variety of blogs that have picked up the discussion between Tullian Tchividjian and me on the subject of total depravity, the Christian, and the doctrine of sanctification.  In some respects,... continue

Oh to Grace How Great a Debtor -- A Reply to Tullian Tchividjian

Article by   December 2012
I was glad to see some some constructive dialogue in the comments section of Tullian Tchividjian's reply to my critique of his article on total depravity and Christians.  Let me say at this point (even though I look forward to the day... continue

Surface repairs

Article by   October 2012
The home which God has given to me and my family is one for which I am deeply grateful. However, as with cars, computers and bodies, home-owning is one of the great demonstrators of entropy. In my case, though, it... continue

Highlights from Walter Marshall's "Gospel Mystery of Sanctification" (4)

Article by   March 2012
Walter Marshall's Directions 4-9 from Gospel Mystery of Sanctification emphasize that in the pursuit of holiness the order is Gospel then godliness, not godliness then Gospel. Direction Four The means or instruments by which the Spirit of God accomplishes our... continue

Highlights from Walter Marshall's "Gospel Mystery of Sanctification" (3)

Article by   March 2012
So far, as we have pointed to some highlights of Walter Marshall's justly lauded book, "Gospel Mystery of Sanctification," we have learned the following from him about growth in grace in the Christian life: 1. Those who have been saved... continue

Highlights from Walter Marshall's "Gospel Mystery of Sanctification" (2)

Article by   February 2012
In our first highlight from Walter Marshall's "Gospel Mystery" we saw no antipathy to the ideas of the believer's duty or to the believer's aspiration to holiness or to the believer's endeavor to obey the moral law. Marshall says, to repeat,... continue

Highlights from Walter Marshall's "Gospel Mystery of Sanctification"

Article by   February 2012
John Murray famously commended Walter Marshall's "Gospel Mystery of Sanctification" as the best book ever written on the subject. Recently, however, some sound divines have become suspcious of the work, in part because of who is citing it and because... continue

What Goes Up Must Have Come Down

Article by   January 2012
Recent online debates over the proper pastoral use of biblical commands in the lives of believers have left me a bit bewildered. Apparently, some would see these commands merely as descriptions of the Christian's deficiencies, the spiritual equivalent of a... continue

A Question of Balance? Some Final Comments on Sanctification and the Role of the Law

Article by   August 2011
Again I want to express my thanks to my good friend Sean Lucas for his careful contributions to this important discussion.  Before audience fatigue sets in completely I do want to respond briefly to three issues he raises in his... continue

Sanctification and the Gospel: A Surrejoinder to Sean Lucas

Article by   August 2011
I want to thank my good friend Sean Lucas for his Reformation21 rejoinder to my previous post.  We have corresponded privately on this issue, but given the prominence of this internet discussion, I also think that a public response is... continue

A Rejoinder on Sanctification and the Gospel

Article by   August 2011
I am so thankful that my friend Bill Evans has waded into the important historical and theological conversation on sanctification. There is so much good and right with his piece on "Sanctification and the Nature of the Gospel" that I... continue

Sanctification and the Nature of the Gospel

Article by   August 2011
As one who has been studying the peculiar history of Reformed soteriology (i.e., the doctrine of salvation) for a number of decades now, I have followed some recent blog exchanges with considerable interest.  In a stimulating piece available on the... continue
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