Devotional on Larger Catechism Q&A 35

Devotional on Larger Catechism Q&A 35

Devotional on Westminster Larger Catechism Q&A 35

Q&A 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.”

Reflection

Sanctification stands as a profound testament to the grace and power of God in the life of a believer. Unlike justification, which is a one-time act of God declaring us righteous through faith in Jesus Christ, sanctification is an ongoing process. It involves the continual transformation of the believer’s character and conduct, shaping us into the likeness of Christ. This transformation is both comprehensive and progressive—it touches every part of us (spirit, soul, and body) and continues throughout our earthly lives.

The Promise of Renewal

In sanctification, we see the fulfillment of God’s promise to make all things new. As 2 Corinthians 5:17 states, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” This renewal is not superficial; it reorients our desires, goals, and affections towards God’s will. It is God’s free grace at work in us, not based on our merit but on His mercy.

The Struggle with Sin

The catechism wisely notes that we are enabled “more and more to die unto sin.” This acknowledges the ongoing struggle against sin that every believer faces. Romans 6:11-12 exhorts us, “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions.” The process of dying to sin is daily and deliberate, requiring vigilance and dependence on the Holy Spirit.

Living Unto Righteousness

To live unto righteousness is to live in a way that reflects the character of Christ. This involves both a turning away from sin and a turning towards godly living. Ephesians 4:24 instructs us to “put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” This is an active pursuit, one that involves constant prayer, immersion in Scripture, and engagement with the church community.

Application

Mindful Obedience: Every day presents new opportunities and challenges for obedience. Be mindful of areas in your life where sin might be reigning and consciously submit these areas to God’s control.

Community Engagement: Sanctification often happens in community, as we are sharpened by fellow believers. Engage deeply with your local church, not just in attendance but in relationships that foster growth.

Continual Learning: Never cease to learn from the Scriptures, from sound teaching, and from the examples of mature believers. Growth in knowledge should parallel growth in grace.

    Conclusion

    Sanctification, then, is neither swift nor easy, but it is certain for those who are in Christ. It is a journey marked by grace, struggle, and victory. May we commit ourselves afresh to this process, trusting that He who began a good work in us will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6). Amen.