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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

The Shorter Catechism
of the Westminster Assembly
Explained and Proved
from Scripture

by
Thomas Vincent


XXXV. Ques. What is sanctification?
Ans.
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.

Q. 1. Wherein doth sanctification differ from justification and adoption?
A. Sanctification doth differ from justification and adoption, in that 1. Justification and adoption are acts of God without us; sanctification is a work of God within us. 2. Justification and adoption do make only a relative change; sanctification doth make in us a real change. 3. Justification and adoption are perfect at first; sanctification is carried on by degrees unto perfection.

Q. 2. Whose work is the work of sanctification?
A. 1. Though we be the subjects of sanctification, yet we are not the authors and efficient causes of our sanctification; we can defile ourselves, but we cannot cleanse and renew ourselves. 2. Sanctification is the work of God, which is wrought by his Spirit. "God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit." 2 Thess. 2:13.

Q. 3. Is there no desert of the grace of sanctification in any of the children of men before they are sanctified?
A. No; for all the children of men are by nature wholly polluted with sin, and it is wholly of God's free grace that any of them are sanctified.

Q. 4. Wherein doth our sanctification consist?
A. Our sanctification doth consist in our renovation after the image of God, in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness. "Put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge, after the image of him that created him." Col. 3:10. "And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." Eph. 4:24.

Q. 5. What is the subject of our sanctification?
A. The subject of our sanctification is our whole man, understanding, will, conscience, memory, affections, which are all renewed and changed in regard of their qualifications; and all the members of our body, which are changed in regard of their use, being made instruments of righteousness.

Q. 6. Wherein is our sanctification begun?
A. Our sanctification is begun in our regeneration and effectual calling; wherein our minds are first enlightened, and our wills renewed, and the habits of all graces are infused.

Q. 7. How is our sanctification carried on?
A. Our sanctification is carried on by degrees, as God doth bless his providences, especially his ordinances, through them to communicate further measures of his Spirit and grace.

Q. 8. Wherein is our sanctification perfected?
A. Our sanctification is perfected in our glorification, when we shall be made perfectly free from sin, and fully conformable unto the image of God.

Q. 9. What are the parts of sanctification?
A. There are two parts of sanctification 1. Mortification, whereby we are enabled to die more and more unto sin. "Reckon ye yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin." Rom. 6:11. 2. Vivification, whereby we are enabled to live unto righteousness. Yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God." Rom. 6:13.

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