Sanctification (Progressive or the More and More of the Ordo)

While we are not yet free from the presence of sin, we are still free! We are free from the power of sin in our lives. Rather than look upon our sin with discouragement, we should remember that in our union with Christ, we are truly free. We don’t ignore sin, but neither do we wallow in it. We press on, knowing that God’s will is our sanctification (1 Thess. 4:3a), and He will complete his work in us (Phil. 1:6).

In this series on the Ordo Salutis, we come to progressive sanctification, where we consider how God works in us and what he requires of us.

In justification and adoption God acts on our behalf. We see this in the answers to Questions 33 and 34 in the Westminster Shorter Catechism (WSC), which note that justification and adoption, are an act of God’s free grace. Sinners are pardoned, accepted as righteous, and received as sons of God. God has acted, and we are the benefactors.

Concerning sanctification, the answer to WSC 35 states that sanctification is the work of God’s free grace. In this ongoing process, God works in us (Phil. 2:13).

At the same time, Paul speaks of our responsibility: “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good” (Titus 2:11-14).

We are called upon to change and to be eager about it! In our justification, the penalty of sin is removed. In our glorification, the presence of sin will be removed. Until we reach glory, sin is still present, but its power is removed. We are not hopeless nor helpless sinners!

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