Sanctification: The Reformed View

One of the main distinctives of this view concerns the relationship between justification and sanctification. Martin Luther taught that by faith in Christ and Christ’s work (i.e., his life, death, and resurrection), the saint is declared righteousness, and is united with Christ by virtue of faith. Calvin taught that because the believer is united with Christ in his death and resurrection, the believer will be progressively sanctified by faith as a necessary effect of their being justified by faith.

Another feature that divides this view from the others is that of the belief that the Christian life is a daily “struggle,” or “fight.” The believer will never reach complete holiness or perfection in this life. In this view, since there will always be indwelling sin in the believer until the Lord returns, he must continually be putting to death the deeds of the body (often called “mortification”) that he may live (“vivication”) (Rom. 8.13). Indeed, unless mortification takes place in some degree or another, he will eventually show himself to not have been one of God’s own. This striving for holiness is itself a fruit of being called to be holy by God, and being helped by the Holy Spirit in the very pursuit of holiness. The deeds of the body can only be put to death by means of the Spirit. Christians in the reformed camp believe that though the believer can make true and real progress in the growth of holiness and godliness, there will always be a deep remnant of indwelling sin.

[Note: This is the way I see sanctification playing out in the life of the follower of Jesus.]


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