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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

A Scripture Catechism
in the
Method of the Assembly's

by Matthew Henry

Q. 35. What is sanctification?
A. Sanctification is the work of God's free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness.

1. Are all that are justified sanctified ? Yes: for Jesus Christ is made both righteousness and sanctification, 1 Cor. 1:30. Is it necessary they should be so? Yes: for without holiness no man shall see the Lord, Heb. 12:14. Did Christ die that they might be sanctified? Yes: for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified, John 17:19. And was this the intention of their election? Yes: he hath chosen you to salvation through sanctification, 2 Thes. 2:13.

2. Is sanctification the work of God? Yes: we are sanctified by God the Father, Jude 1. Is it the work of the Spirit of God? Yes: it is sanctification of the Spirit, 1 Pet. 1:2. Is it a work of free grace? Yes: according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, Tit. 3:5. Is it a work wrought in us? Yes: for we are his workmanship, created unto good works, Eph. 2:10.

3. Is sanctification something more than being civilized? Yes: for he is not a Jew that is one outwardly, Rom. 2:28. Is it more than being baptized? Yes: it is not the putting away the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience, 1 Pet. 3:21. Is it an inward change of the heart? Yes: we must be renewed in the spirit of our mind, Eph. 4:23. Is it the renovation of the whole man? Yes: if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, 2 Cor. 5:17. Will it suffice to have a new name? No: for thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead, Rev. 3:1. Will it suffice to have a new face? No: for there are those that have the form of godliness, but deny the power of it, 2 Tim. 3:5. Must there be a new heart? Yes: a new heart will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you, Ezek. 36:26. And a new nature? Yes: put on the new man, Eph. 4:24. And a new birth? Yes: except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God, John 3:3.

4. Must we be cleansed from sin? Yes: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you, Ezek. 36:25. Must we be consecrated to God? Yes: for we are the temple of God, 1 Cor. 3:16. Must the law be written in the heart? Yes: I will put my law in their heart, Heb. 8:10. Must the understanding be enlightened? Yes: anoint thine eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayest see, Rev. 3:18. Must the heart be softened? Yes: I will take away the stony heart, and give a heart of flesh, Ezek. 11:19. Must the will be bowed? Yes: Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? Acts 9:6. Must the affections be made spiritual? Yes: Set your affections on things above, Col. 3:2. Must the body also be an instrument of holiness? Yes: Present your bodies a living sacrifice, Rom. 12:1.

5. Must we be renewed after the image of God? Yes: Put on the new man, which is renewed after the image of him that created him, Col. 3:10. And after the pattern of Christ? Yes: for Christ must be formed in us, Gal. 4:19. Is sin mortified in all that are sanctified? Yes: they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh, Gal. 5:24. Is grace planted in them? Yes: there is a well of water springing up to eternal life, John 4:14. Is this work perfect at first? No: it is first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear, Mark 4:28.

6. Do all that are sanctified die unto sin? Yes: Reckon ye yourselves dead unto sin, Rom. 6:11. Do they live unto righteousness? Yes: being dead to sin, we live unto righteousness, 1 Pet. 2:24. Are they enabled to do so? Yes: for it is through the Spirit that we mortify the deeds of the body, Rom. 8:13. And is the course of their conversation accordingly? Yes: they walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit, Rom. 8:1. Is it our duty to submit to the Spirit as a sanctifier? Yes: Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the works of the flesh, Gal 5:16. And is the grace of God promised us for this purpose? Yes: Sin shall not have dominion over you, Rom. 6:14.

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