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Desiring Sanctification

The Westminster Shorter Catechism defines a Christian’s sanctification as 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.   **See - Ezek. 36:27; Phil 2:13; 2 Thess. 2:13; 2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 4:23-24; 1 Thess. 5:23; Rom. 6; 2Cor 7:1; 1 Pet. 2:24.

This is a tremendously encouraging teaching of Scripture that is born of regeneration and justification, is empowered presently by the Spirit, and is promised completion for all who are in Christ.  All this finds its beginning and fulfillment in through our union with Jesus Christ and Christ alone. 

 As you seek to understand this teaching from the scriptures, it is helpful to know that other hungry and thirsty ones have sought to understand their sanctification and have given important writings to the church to help and encourage us as well.  Please consider one of these wonderful resources as you seek to understand the Lord’s work in making you more into the image of Christ.   

  • Devoted To God: Blueprints for Sanctification by Sinclair B. Ferguson - Ferguson’s stated goals is: “to provide a manual of biblical teaching on holiness developed on the basis of extended expositions of foundational passages in the New Testament. By the end of the book we will have worked our way together through some of the most important biblical blueprints for building an entire life of holiness.” (p.ix)
  •  How Does Sanctification Work? By David Powlison - Clear-headed, wise and simple, this little book gently steers us toward real and effectual change in the heart and mind. This is thoughtful encouragement toward holiness that goes deeper than abstract aphorisms. Bringing critical doctrine down to earth, these 100 pages are simple enough for new believers, and rich enough to refresh a veteran pilgrim.
  • Extravagant Grace: God's Glory Displayed in Our Weakness by Barbara R. Duguin - Why do Christians still struggle with sin? Can there be any real prospect for change? Inspired by the writings of John Newton, this contemplative study of gospel grace is a brutally honest engagement with the Christian’s ongoing struggle with sin. Christ-centered and hopeful, this is a must read for believers at any stage of their walk.
  • The Hole in Our Holiness: Filling the Gap Between Gospel Passion and the Pursuit of Godliness by Kevin DeYoung. - What’s the difference between running the race well and riding the fence? Holiness. And it’s not just for “extreme Christians” who like a challenge. Articulating difficult scriptural distinctions with care, DeYoung challenges to the modern reader to alignment with the first priority of holiness: communion with the risen Christ.
  • Redemption Accomplished and Applied by John Murray. - A landmark work on the meaning of Christ's death and resurrection, Murray's pastoral reflections on atonement remain refreshingly accessible. This volume has a great chapter on Sanctification.  He also has several papers on sanctification in his Collected Writings Vol. 2.
  • The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification Growing in Holiness by Living in Union with Christ by Walter Marshall - Considered by many as the best human-authored book on sanctification ever produced.  There is a newer version put into more current English by Bruce H McRae.
  • Holiness by J.C. Ryle - A true classic and must read.
  • The Life of God in the Soul of Man by Henry Scougal - Critical work! Sanctification occurs because the human soul has been united to Christ and participates in the divine nature. A person is a Christian because of what Christ has done for us, not what we do for ourselves. The Christian life is the same as He and continues to live and intercede for us. He is our sanctification.
  • The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes - If you struggle with assurance, are hurting, weak and suffering under the burden of sin, read this encouraging book.
  •  The Mortification of Sin by John Owen - Truly an amazing book. John Owen at his best.  This book is highly valued for it’s biblical insights.  See also The Enemy Within: Straight Talk About the Power and Defeat of Sin by Kris Lundgaard which draws heavily on Owen’s work. 
  • The Doctrine of Sanctification by A.W. Pink- Here Pink compiles some of the best teaching on sanctification through church history.  
  • Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin - See specifically the section on The Guide for Christian Living, which can be bought separately. 
  • The Westminster Standards - The Westminster Standards is a collective name for the documents drawn up by the Westminster Assembly (1643–49). These include the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Westminster Shorter Catechism, the Westminster Larger Catechism, the Directory of Public Worship, and the Form of Church Government and represent the doctrine and church polity of the English and Scottish Reformation. The Westminster Confession of Faith and Larger and Shorter Catechism have been adopted as doctrinal standards by a number of Reformed and Presbyterian Christian denominations including the PCA. 

This is by no means a complete list, but a great start for a vast subject.