We Believe In: Sanctification Part 3: Present Sanctification God’s Role in Present Sanctification -- By: Robert N. Wilkin

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 07:1 (Spring 1994)
Article: We Believe In: Sanctification Part 3: Present Sanctification God’s Role in Present Sanctification
Author: Robert N. Wilkin


We Believe In:
Sanctification
Part 3:
Present Sanctification
God’s Role in Present Sanctification

Robert N. Wilkin

Associate Editor
Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Irving, Texas

I. Introduction

In some ways, in a series on sanctification, this should be the easiest article to write. After all, for many people today the word sanctification is practically synonymous with present sanctification. Many books and articles have been written on the subject from a variety of perspectives.1

However, there are many reasons why this is not an easy task after all.

The fact that a great deal has been written on the subject does not guarantee that not more than a recapitulation need be made. In fact, if one studies what has been written, he discovers that there is great diversity of opinion on the subject.

While it is not the purpose of this article to explore the various views of present sanctification in detail, a brief review may be helpful. In this review I will limit my remarks to the various views on the relationship between present sanctification (i.e., personal holiness) and assurance of salvation.

There are at least five different views of present sanctification. These have been detailed in a recent book appropriately titled, Five Views of Sanctification.2 The perspectives include Wesleyan, Reformed, Pentecostal, Keswick, and Augustinian-Dispensational.

The Wesleyan view, named after John Wesley, holds as two of its main tenets that present sanctification is not guaranteed and that if one fails to live righteously he can and will cease to be a Christian. Dieter writes:

Salvation is by grace. However, although the Reformation tradition frequently emphasizes justification and adoption, it often neglects regeneration and sanctification; a wholly imputed righteousness (objective salvation) comes to the fore, but imparted righteousness (subjective salvation) is neglected. Wesleyans would maintain that the biblical concept of salvation encompasses both and that both are found in the Pauline concept of being “in Christ,” which constitutes the basic definition of a Christian in the New Testament.3

The Reformed view of present sanctification seems to be the opposite of the Wesleyan view on the two points just cited. However, the differences are mainly cosmetic in my estimation. For, while Reformed theologians believe that p...

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