Lord's Day 17

Week 16 :: Week 17 :: Week 18


Sanctification, in the most straightforward sense, is the renewing work of the Holy Spirit in each believer, wherein we are being made holy. Whereas the act of justification and adoption are declarative and instantaneous events, sanctification is a lifelong development in which we grow into the likeness of Christ (Rom 8:29). This is the life of the Christian. Having once been made alive together with Christ, having been declared just and right with God, adopted as an heir of His Kingdom, we now proceed, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to leave behind the old life and grow in grace and truth. Paul describes the new life in Christ as putting “off the old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desire, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph 4:22-24). 

The Westminster Confession teaches that 

by his Word and Spirit dwelling in [the Christian], the dominion of the whole body of sin is destroyed, and the several lusts thereof are more and more weakened and mortified, and [the Christian] more and more quickened and strengthened, in all saving graces, to the practice of true holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord… although the remaining corruption for a time may much prevail, yet, through the continual supply of strength from the sanctifying Spirit of Christ, the regenerate part doth overcome: and so the saints grow in grace, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. 

Sanctification is our cooperative work with the Holy Spirit. As the Spirit guides we learn to let go of the desires of the body, the things of this world, and we learn to live for that which is eternal, which is holy and pleasing before God. As Paul says in Galatians 5:24-25, “And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” 


Almighty and holy God, we thank you for the presence of your Spirit, who makes us alive in Christ, who teaches us to trust in Christ for our salvation, and who continues to work in us to make us into your saints. May we always continue to grow in holiness, that we may see you. In Jesus’ name. Amen. 

Question 35

Q. 35. What is sanctification?

A. 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.

Scripture Proofs

2 Thess. 2: 13;

But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.

Eph. 4:23-24;

and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Rom. 6:4;

We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

Rom. 6:6;

We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.

Rom. 8:1.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.