An Evangelical Reformed Perspective on the Relation between Justification and Sanctification

Bibliographic information:

Jowers, Dennis W. “An Evangelical Reformed Perspective on the Relation between Justification and Sanctification.” In Justified in Jesus Christ: Evangelicals and Catholics in Dialogue. Eds. Steven Hoskins and David Fleischacker. Bismarck, ND: University of Mary Press, 2017.


When God justifies human beings, Reformed evangelicals hold, he remits their sins and imputes to them the righteousness of Christ. God refrains, that is to say, from imputing sins committed by the regenerate before or after their regeneration to them (Romans 4:8) and imputes to them instead the spotless righteousness of the incarnate Christ (Romans 5:19): not that righteousness, which inheres eternally in Christ’s divinity, but that righteousness, which Christ wrought in his saving life and death. When God sanctifies human beings, Reformed evangelicals believe, he at least gradually purges them of sinful acts, qualities, and dispositions and replaces these with holy acts, qualities, and dispositions by virtue of which the saints become partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4), qualified to share in the inheritance of the saints in light (Colossians 1:12). God never justifies anyone whom he does not sanctify. Nor does he sanctify anyone whom he does not justify. Justification and sanctification, albeit radically distinct, are thus inextricably intertwined in the belief of Reformed evangelicals.


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