THE

SHORTER CATECHISM

EXPLAINED


QUESTION 35. What is sanctification?

ANSWER: 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.


Q. 1. What is it for one to be SANCTIFIED?

A. It is to be made a saint, or a holy person set apart for a holy use, 1 Thess. 5:23.

Q. 2. Can any sinner sanctify himself?

A. No; we can defile, but cannot purify ourselves, Job 14:4.

Q. 3. Whose work is it to sanctify?

A. It is the special work of the Spirit of God, 2 Thess. 2:13.

Q. 4. Do any of mankind-sinners deserve that God should sanctify them?

A. No; there are none of them that can deserve any thing from God, but to be left to perish eternally in their sin and pollution, because "they are altogether become filthy; there is none of them that doeth good, no not one," Psalm 14:3; Rom. 3:10-13.

Q. 5. What moves God to sanctify a sinner?

A. His own free grace and good pleasure, Phil. 2:13.

Q. 6. Are not justification, adoption, and sanctification, inseparably linked together?

A. Yes; they that are justified, are adopted; and they that are justified and adopted, are sanctified and glorified, Rom. 8:30.

Q. 7. In what respects are justification and sanctification inseparably joined and linked together?

A. In the decree of God, Rom. 8:30; in the promise of God, Psalm 110:3; in the end of Christ's death, Tit. 2:14; in the offices of Christ, 1 Cor. 1:30; in the gospel-call and offer, 2 Tim. 1:9; 1 Thess. 4:7; and in the experience of all believers, Phil. 3:8, 12.

Q. 8. Though inseparably linked together, are they not carefully to be distinguished?

A. Yes; for the confounding of justification and sanctification lays the foundation of many errors, both in principle and practice; and the want of a clear understanding of the difference between these two, contributes to depress and encumber the believer in his exercise; whereas the distinct knowledge of it would free him from that bondage, John 8:32.

Q. 9. In what do justification and sanctification DIFFER?

A. They DIFFER in many respects; particularly in their matter, kind, form, properties, subjects, order, extent, ingredients, evidences; in their relation to the law; their relation to Christ's offices; and their use to believers.

Q. 10. In what do they differ in their matter?

A. The matter of justification is the righteousness of Christ; but the matter of sanctification is the fullness of Christ communicated, or grace imparted from him, out of whose fullness we receive, "and grace for grace," John 1:16.

Q. 11. How do they differ as to their kind?

A. Justification makes a relative, sanctification a real change: the first changes a man's state, the other changes his heart and life, Ezek. 36:26.

Q. 12. How do they differ as to their form, or manner of conveyance?

A. Justification is effected by the imputation of Christ's righteousness to us; sanctification, by the implantation of his grace in us.

Q. 13. How do they differ in their properties?

A. Justification is complete and perfect at first; but sanctification is carried on gradually, from less to more, until the soul be ripe for glory; the righteousness of justification is strictly and properly meritorious, being the righteousness of God, by which the law is not only fulfilled, but magnified; but the righteousness of sanctification is not so, being only the righteousness of a sinful creature, imperfect in degrees: justification is equal in all believers, but they are not all equally sanctified: hence, in God's family, there are little children, 1 John 2:12:and in his garden, trees of different tallness, or height, Psalm 92:12, compared with Zech. 1:8.

Q. 14. How do they differ in their subjects?

A. Christ himself, and not the believer, is the subject of our justifying righteousness; it is inherently in him who wrought it out perfectly for us; but the believer himself is the subject of the righteousness of sanctification; it is implanted in him as a new nature; whereas his justifying righteousness is not in him as a nature, but on him as a robe; and hence it is said to be UPON all them that believe, Rom. 3:22.

Q. 15. How do they differ in their order?

A. Although, as to time, they are simultaneous; yet, as to the order of nature, justification goes BEFORE sanctification, as the cause before the effect, or as fire is before light and heat.

Q. 16. How do they differ as to their extent?

A. Although justification respects the whole person, yet, it immediately terminates upon conscience, God's deputy, purging it from dead works, and pacifying it with the sprinkling of the blood of Christ; nothing giving true peace to conscience, but that which gave full satisfaction to justice: but by sanctification we are renewed in the whole man, Eph. 4:23, 24.

Q. 17. How do they differ as to their ingredients?

A. The main ingredient in justification is the grace and love of God towards us, manifested in pardoning and accepting us in Christ; whereas the main ingredient in sanctification is our gratitude and love to God, flowing from his love to us, and appearing in our obedience and keeping his commandments, by virtue of his "Spirit put within us, and causing us to walk in his statutes," Ezek. 36:27.

Q. 18. How do they differ as to evidence?

A. Justification is evidenced by our sanctification; for none can warrantably conclude they are justified by the righteousness of Christ, if not students of true holiness, and groaning under a body of sin and death: but sanctification cannot be evidenced by our justification; which being the hidden root of holiness under ground, does not appear, except in lively actings of justifying faith, and other graces, which are internal branches of sanctification; sometimes inwardly discerned by the believer, and sometimes outwardly discovered to others by works, James 2:18.

Q. 19. How do they differ in their relation to the law?

A. Justification has relation to the law, as a covenant, and frees the soul from it, Rom. 7:4; sanctification respects the law as a rule, and makes the soul breathe after conformity to it, and to delight in it after the inward man, Rom. 7:22; hence justification is a judicial sentence, absolving us from law-debt; sanctification, a spiritual change, fitting us for law-duty.

Q. 20. How do they differ in their relation to the offices of Christ?

A. Justification springs from, and is grounded upon the priestly office of Christ, by which he satisfied law and justice, as our surety; but sanctification proceeds from his kingly office, by which he subdues us to his obedience, and writes his law in our hearts, Jer. 31:33.

Q. 21. How do they differ in their use to believers?

A. Justification gives us a title to heaven and eternal life; sanctification gives a meetness for it: justification is God's act, pronouncing our persons righteous in Christ, and taking away the guilt of sin; sanctification is the Spirit's work, cleansing our nature, and taking away the filth of sin: by the former, we are instated into the favour of God; by the latter, adorned with the image of God.

Q. 22. How may the work of sanctification be distinguished?

A. Into habitual and actual sanctification.

Q. 23. What may be termed habitual sanctification?

A. It is that whereby we are renewed in the whole man, after the image of God, and so a renovation of the nature, Eph. 4:24.

Q. 24. Can any have a sanctified life, who have not a renewed nature?

A. No; for a corrupt tree cannot bring forth good fruit, Matt. 7:18.

Q. 25. What is to be understood by the whole man that must be renewed?

A. Both soul and body; in all the powers of the one, and members of the other, 2 Cor. 7:1; 1 Thess. 5:23.

Q. 26. What is the difference between the renewing of the whole man in sanctification, and the renewing mentioned in effectual calling?

A. The renovation in effectual calling is only begun; but this of sanctification, is carried on by degrees, till perfected in glory, Phil. 1:6:there, the seed of grace is sown; here, it is watered, in order to growth: there, the habit is implanted, John 1:13; here, it is strengthened for exercise, Eph. 2:10.

Q. 27. After whose image is the whole man renewed?

A. After the image of God; consisting in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, Col. 3:10; Eph. 4:24.

Q. 28. Whose image do we bear, before we are renewed in the whole man?

A. The image of the first Adam after the fall, having his nature corrupted, Gen. 5:3.

Q. 29. Can any be renewed in the whole man, without being united to the second Adam?

A. No; for we are not sanctified, except by faith uniting us to Christ, Acts 15:9, and 26:18; 1 Cor. 1:2, -- "Sanctified in Christ Jesus."

Q. 30. Though the believer be renewed in the whole man, yet is any part of the new creature WHOLLY renewed?

A. The two contrary principles, grace and corruption, are in the sanctified; being together in such sort, that in every particular part, where the one is, the other is there also beside it: for, what we have of this gracious work of sanctification upon us while here, is but in part; it is not perfect, 1 Cor. 13:9, 10.

Q. 31. What is the tendency of habitual sanctification?

A. The tendency of it is to actual sanctification, Eph. 2:10.

Q. 32. In what consists ACTUAL sanctification?

A. In being enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness, Rom. 6:4, 6.

Q. 33. In what does habitual sanctification differ from actual?

A. The first points at the renovation of our nature; the second at the renovation of our life: the first at the habit; the second at the exercise of grace, working inwardly in the heart, and outwardly in the walk, Eph. 2:10.

Q. 34. What are the parts of actual sanctification, and how are they commonly termed?

A. Mortification; or, a dying unto sin; and vivification; or, a living unto righteousness.

Q. 35. Can any die to sin, and live to righteousness, without being enabled by grace?

A. No; "We are not sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God," 2 Cor. 3:5. The strength of habitual grace will not be sufficient, without actual assistance.

Q. 36. How does the grace of God enable us to die to sin, and live to righteousness?

A. It enables us more and more, 1 Thess. 4:1, or, by little and little, from time to time; for, "the path of the just is as a shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day," Prov. 4:18; and "they go from strength to strength," Psalm 84:7.

Q. 37. Does the work of actual sanctification go on constantly without interruption?

A. The sanctified person is subject to backsliding and decay; yet God never altogether takes his hand from the good work he has begun, but makes good use of backslidings for farther progress in it, Hos. 14:4, 7.

Q. 38. Why is not actual sanctification perfected in this life, but still a remainder of corruption left in God's people?

A. To make them know from experience, the strength of sin, the necessity of mortifying grace, and of the abundance of pardoning grace, 2 Cor. 12:7-9; and to keep them exercised in prayer and humiliation, in the faith and hope of deliverance from a body of sin and death, through Christ, Rom. 7:24, 25.

Q. 39. What is it to die to sin?

A. To have the power of sin, in our nature, so far destroyed as not to obey it, but to hate it in heart, and abstain from it in life, Rom. 6:6.

Q. 40. What is it to live to righteousness?

A. To have our nature so quickened by the power of grace, as to love and obey the commands of righteousness in our life, Rom. 6:13.

Q. 41. From whence is it that this death to sin, and life to righteousness spring?

A. They spring from the virtue that is in the death and resurrection of Christ, to render his mystical members conformable to him in them; "That, like as Christ was raised up from the dead, by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life; for, if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection," Rom. 6:4, 5.

Q. 42. Why have the death and resurrection of Christ such a conforming virtue?

A. Because he died and rose again as a public person. Eph. 2:5, 6, and merited this conformation or fashioning of his mystical members to his own image, Phil. 3:10.

Q. 43. In what consists the excellency of sanctification?

A. It is the end and design of our election, Eph. 1:4; of our effectual calling, 2 Tim. 1:9; of our justification and deliverance from the law as a covenant, Rom. 6:14; and of our adoption, Eph. 1:4, 5:it is the end both of mercies and crosses, Rom. 2:4, Isa. 27:9; and, in a word, it is the end and design of all the precepts of the law, the promises of the gospel, and the operation of the Spirit of God.

Q. 44. Whence arises the necessity of holiness, or sanctification?

A. From the holy nature and will of God: for "it is written, Be ye holy, for I am holy," 1 Pet. 1:16; and "this is the will of God, even our sanctification," 1 Thess. 4:3; and from the death of Christ, "who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works," Tit. 2:14.

Q. 45. For what good end and use is sanctification necessary?

A. Not for justification before God; but for evidencing our justification and faith, James. 2:18. It is necessary for glorifying God, Matt. 5:16, and showing forth his praise, 1 Pet. 2:19; for adorning the doctrine of God our Saviour, Tit. 2:10; for proving our union to Christ, John 15:5, 6; for promoting inward peace and rejoicing, Psalm 119:165, 2 Cor. 1:12; for maintaining fellowship and communion with God, John 14:21, 23; for making us meet for heaven, because without holiness no man shall see the Lord, Heb. 12:14; for making us useful to men on earth, Tit. 3:8; and for stopping the mouth of calumny when we are reproached as evil doers, 1 Pet. 3:16.

Q. 46. What is the meritorious cause of our sanctification?

A. The blood of Christ, Heb. 13:12 -- "Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate."

Q. 47. Whence flows the sanctifying or purifying virtue of the blood off Christ?

A. From the atoning virtue of it, Heb. 9:14.

Q. 48. What is the instrumental cause of our sanctification?

A. The faith of the operation of God, Acts 15:9.

Q. 49. What is the regulating or directing cause?

A. The law of God, Isa. 8:20.

Q. 50. What is the exemplary cause of sanctification?

A. The copy that Christ has set us by his obedience and sufferings, in so far as imitable by us, 1 Pet. 2:21, 22.

Q. 51. What are the marks of sanctification?

A. A heart-respect to all God's commandments, and loving them because they are holy; a hatred of sin, and avoiding of all appearance of evil; a spirit of watchfulness and warfare against sin; a delight in doing good; a conversation becoming the gospel; and an habitual improvement of the blood of Christ by faith and prayer, for cleansing from the filth of sin, and of the precious promises for that end, 2 Cor. 7:1; 1 Pet. 1:4.

Q. 52. What are the chief motives and inducements to sanctification?

A. The will of God commanding, 1 Pet. 1:15; the love of Christ constraining, 1 Cor. 5:14; the dignity of thus resembling God, Lev. 19:2; and the indignity of resembling the devil by the want of it, John 8:44.

Q. 53. What should we do to be sanctified?

A. We should fly to Christ by faith, touching the hem of his garment for healing and purification, for we "are sanctified in Christ Jesus," 1 Cor. 1:2; we should pray for the Spirit of sanctification, through whom alone the deeds of the body can be mortified, Rom. 8:13; we should associate with saints, for "he that walketh with the wise, shall be wise," Prov. 13:20; association begets assimilation; and we should make a right use of God's word and rod, Sabbaths and sacraments.


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