14 June 2011

Sanctification by Justification

Last year I wrote a little piece on how Bavinck and Berkouwer, two outstanding Dutch theologians, viewed progressive sanctification. I argued that they share a key insight into how we grow as believers--namely, that one major way we grow in holiness is by constant enjoyment of our free justification. Berkouwer, however (and to a lesser extent Bavinck), failed to integrate his wonderful insight sufficiently with other aspects of salvation, such as regeneration and union with Christ.

I embed it here (with thanks to David Reimer and the SETS for permission) in the event that it may be helpful amid current conversations on the gospel and its connection to effort and progressive sanctification.

Thanks to Tullian and Kevin for their gracious, sharpening words this week on this crucial subject. So glad we are on the same team. And thanks for showing us that we don't have to choose between loving each other and sharpening each other.

Sanctification by Justification


Gavin Ortlund said...

Great article! Thanks for posting it.

Jed S. said...

I really liked the essay - it's great to see Bavinck and Edwards joined together! (I really, really liked your book on Edwards, by the way.)

But wouldn't you say that the title of your essay more aptly describes Berkouwer's position than Bavinck's? When I was reading it, I could give a hearty Amen to Bavinck but only a very qualified and subdued one for Berkouwer. I'm not sure precisely why.

Maybe it seemed to me that there's a pretty significant distinction or difference of emphasis between the two Dutchmen on the means of sanctification (perhaps because of union with Christ).

Would you say that this is generally accurate:

Bavinck - Sanctified by trusting in Christ (the same Christ who justifies and the same trust that is the instrumental means of justification);

Berkouwer - Sanctified by trusting in your justification (given by Christ).

Jared said...

Dane, thanks so much for your work on this. The clarity is such a welcome oasis among the forensicism and Keswick-ish theology out there. I've been starting to see a great need in gospel-talk circles for emphasizing union with Christ and its implications and benefits. Gaffin has been life-changing for me on this. Thanks again for your work!

Dane Ortlund said...

Thanks guys.

Jed, that may very well be the best way to put it. Thanks.

Charlie Cameron said...

I've just come across your article and wondered if you might be interested in this article - Pride and Faith in Berkouwer's Studies in Dogmatics.