"Let's preach the whole counsel of God, imperatives and all!"

William Evans in ongoing debate over the relationship between sanctification and obedience.
A Question of Balance? Some Final Comments on Sanctification and the Role of the Law
Related: Mark Snoeberger’s helpful observations on the topic.

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Aaron Blumer's picture


Evans put it in terms of "Role of the Law," which might be more confusing that it is helpful, given the complexity of the concept of "The Law." But the concept of "obedience" is not complex and this is really what he seems to have in mind.

Aaron Blumer's picture


I think this is one of the most important questions of our time--among Christian people. But it seems too few are asking it.

Charlie's picture

One reason for the circling in these articles is that they are overlapping but not identical discussions. Evans and those who agree with him are, for the most part, talking about the relationship of theological concepts. Lucas, TT, and others are speaking more about how to preach pastorally so that people will progress in sanctification.

From the standpoint of Reformed theology, sanctification does not flow from justification or adoption, but is co-ordinate with them as an effect of union with Christ. The Westminster Standards expand on Calvin's idea of the twofold grace (duplex gratia) of union with Christ, mentioned by Snoeberger.

WSC Q. 32. What benefits do they that are effectually called partake of in this life?
A. They that are effectually called do in this life partake of justification, adoption and sanctification, and the several benefits which in this life do either accompany or flow from them.

However, certain benefits of the Christian life, which we might loosely call sanctification (but the Standards do not) do in fact flow from these benefits.

WSC Q. 36. What are the benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption and sanctification?
A. The benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption and sanctification, are, assurance of God's love, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Ghost, increase of grace, and perseverance therein to the end.

In short, what Horton, TT, and others are preaching is that these benefits are effected in a believer's life as he experimentally appropriates what God has done for/in him. We work best for God when we realize that salvation is all God for us.

WSC 33A: Justification is an act of God's free grace...
WSC 34A: Adoption is an act of God's free grace...
WSC35A: Sanctification is the work of God's free grace...

Now, where some critics may have a legitimate point is that, in practice, some preaching about the gospel focuses too exclusively on justification alone. But that's an easy fix.

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Cor meum tibi offero Domine prompte et sincere. ~ John Calvin