Reformed theology owes a special debt to the principles of biblical exposition recovered for the church at the time of the Reformation. It is particularly associated with the work of John Calvin, but was later developed by such seventeenth-century Puritans as John Owen and Thomas Goodwin (in England), and Thomas Hooker and John Cotton (in New England). Many later Christians have owed a special debt to the Reformed theological tradition. They include preachers like George Whitefield, C. H. Spurgeon and D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones; and theologians such as Jonathan Edwards, Charles Hodge, Abraham Kuyper and B. B. Warfield; as well as such influential twentieth-century Christian leaders as J Gresham Machen and Francis Schaeffer. From one point of view, most evangelical theology in the English-speaking world can be seen as an exposition of, deviation from or reaction to Reformed theology.

A cursory glance at the biographies or writings of these men underlines the fact that Reformed theology has always placed special emphasis on the subject of sanctification. Few axioms are more central to Reformed teaching than that theology and practice, doctrine and lifestyle are partners joined together by God. They ought never to be separated. Nor is this relationship merely a “marriage of convenience.”

The doctrine(s) of the Reformation were disturbingly unique to the people of that day, particularly to the Roman State Church. One of their characteristics was the source of those doctrines... The Scriptures alone. They remain unique even to this day for the same reason yet those who are disturbed and opposed to them are not restricted to the Rome but rather the vast majority of the visible church is at odds with Reformed Theology, even some who consider themselves to be "Reformed". Among the doctrines which are uniquely Reformed stands justification and sanctification. And these two unique doctrines are invariably provocative when they are held to be inseparable; two sides of the same coin, if I may use that old description. It is the latter, sanctification, which Sinclair Ferguson's article focuses upon and sets forth that it is clearly taught in Scripture but he also shows its many facets, how it is related to faith and justification, its progressive nature, how it effects believers, the role of the Spirit in the believer, etc. I was impressed by how much the author was able to accomplish in such a short article. This is not to say that there aren't some magnificent books, even volumes of books that have been written which say much more, yet come short in being called 'exhaustive', and are certainly worth reading. Nevertheless, Dr. Ferguson's article is still a "gem" in my estimation and worthy of applause. BigThumbUp

You can read this article now by clicking here: The Reformed View of Sanctification.

For later reading, visit The Highway website and click on the "Article of the Month" logo.

As always, we encourage those who read these articles to discuss them, ask questions, etc. in the appropriate forums.

In His service and grace,

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simul iustus et peccator

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