Justification and Sanctification "Because God Thesis

Excerpt from Thesis :

Calvin graphically expresses this in the following excerpt:

Why, then, are we justified by faith? Because by faith we grasp Christ's righteousness, by which alone we are reconciled to God. Yet you could not grasp this without at the same time grasping sanctification also. For he "is given unto us for righteousness, wisdom, sanctification, and redemption" [1 Cor. 1:30]. Therefore, Christ justifies no one whom he does not at the same time sanctify [Nullum ergo Christus iustificat quem non-simul sanctificet]. These benefits are joined together by a perpetual and inseparable bond [Sunt enim perpetuo et individuo nexu coniuncta], so that those whom he illumines by his wisdom, he redeems; those whom he redeems, he justifies; those whom he justifies, he sanctifies…Thus, it is clear how true it is that we are justified not without works yet not through works [sit nos non-sine operibus, neque tamen per opera iustificari], since in our participation in Christ-which justifies us-sanctification is just as much included as righteousness.

In Calvin's effort to correctly correlate justification and sanctification, he characteristically consulted the larger Trinitarian patter of redemption, a concern which led him "in the 1559 Institutes to discuss 'justification' in Book III, which focused specifically on the work of the Holy Spirit (within a broadly Trinitarian context)."

Calvin concisely stated his integrative concern regarding justification and sanctification in the following:

[A]s Christ cannot be torn into parts, so these two which we perceive in him together and conjointly are inseparable-namely, righteousness and sanctification. Whomever, therefore, God receives into grace, on them he at the same time bestows the Spirit of adoption, by whose power he remakes them to his own image.

Calvin not only contends Christ to be focus of justification, he argued that the whole of the Christian life, including both justification and sanctification, are a gift of God's grace in Jesus Christ. According to Calvin, no human goodness exists apart from God's grace; "hence, all people are caught in a web of sin and estrangement from which they cannot extricate themselves"

Rather than independently performing good works, they lived in utter dependence on God's grace to do good works.

Calvin associates his entire theological terminology, which includes the terms, regeneration, conversion, justification by faith, and sanctification, with the reality and actuality of the Holy Spirit.

Some perceive the fact Calvin distinguished yet did not separate justification and sanctification as an act of "genius." According to Calvin, "Justification and sanctification are two parts of one complex whole which, for the sake of analysis, must be separated, but which in fact are indissolubly united."

Calvin describes sanctification as "the general process of man's becoming more and more in the course of time conformed to Christ in heart and outward life and devoted to God."

As some remnants of sin remain in the Christian during the course of his/her life, sanctification, according to Calvin, constitutes a gradual process that occurs through the virtue of Christ's death and resurrection, along with the power of His word and Spirit indwelling the believer.

Calvin perceives justification and sanctification to reflect double grace. He wrote:

The whole may be thus summed up: Christ given to us by the kindness of God is apprehended and possessed by faith, by means of which we obtain in particular a twofold benefit: first, being reconciled by faith by the righteousness of Christ, God becomes, instead of a judge, an indulgent Father; and, secondly, being sanctified by his Spirit, we aspire to integrity (blamelessness) and purity of life.

Basically, to Calvin, justification sanctification are roughly equivalent. When believers are justified, they begin the new process of sanctification. Although a continual battle between sin and the Christian's regenerate "part" transpires. The regenerate part, nevertheless, gains the upperhand, causing the saint to grow and perfect holiness. Justification and sanctification can never, Calvin stressed, be considered "as an autonomous state of the believer, but are existentially dependent upon one's participation in Christ, which is constantly maintained by the grace of God."

As the Holy Spirit renews individuals toward purity and holiness with His sanctifying power, Calvin stresses, the results of sanctification portray the evidence which marks the children of God and distinguishes them from the children of the world, Conclusion

In some instances Bloesh and Calvin do appear to agree on some aspects of justification and sanctification. According to Bloesch, Calvin also proclaimed the call to holiness for Christians, holding out the hope that the Christian could demonstrate progress in sanctification. Calvin proclaims, however: "Ours is a holy calling. It demands purity of life and nothing less; we have been freed from sin to this end, that we may obey righteousness."

Calvin, contrary to Bloesh, purports that personal holiness does not reflect the condition for faith, instead it denotes the true evidence of the Christian's faith.

Calvin also differs from Bloesh as he asserts that human deductions do not define justification and/or sanctification, but comes as a message God sends from heaven in His quest for His people, as He seeks to save those who are lost.

The researcher concurs with Coleman, that when one enters theology with human speculation, he/she fails, as human intelligence is darkened and perverted, with only the human means, one cannot attain to knowledge engulfed by the incorruptible nature of divine truth and practice. Calvin stressed that one cannot obtain even the minutest portion of light and sound doctrine without being a disciple of Scripture. On one hand, Bloesh, as noted at the start of this paper, concurs with Calvin that Scripture constitutes a unique authority for Christians to turn to "for guidance and correction, and by which they measure all truth claims about God and salvation."

On the other hand, Bloesh attributes more credit to human definition than Calvin, who credits God's hand as being the One who not only designed, but ultimately fashioned justification and sanctification to work together for the good of those whom He calls, according to His purpose.


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