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Sanctification: Explorations in Theology and Practice

ISBN: 9780830896936
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Often treated like the younger sibling in theology, the doctrine of sanctification has spent the last few decades waiting not-so-patiently behind those doctrines viewed as more senior. With so much recent interest in ideas like election and justification, the question of holiness can often seem to be of secondary importance, and widespread misunderstanding of sanctification as moralism or undue human effort further impedes thoughtful engagement. But what if we have missed the boat on what sanctification really means for today’s believer?

The essays in this volume, which come out of a recent Edinburgh Dogmatics Conference, address this dilemma through biblical, historical, dogmatic and pastoral explorations. The contributors sink their teeth into positions like the “works” mentality or “justification by faith alone” and posit stronger biblical views of grace and holiness, considering key topics such as the image of God, perfection, union with Christ, Christian ethics and suffering. Eschewing any attempt to produce a unified proposal, the essays included here instead offer resources to stimulate an informed discussion within both church and academy.

Resource Experts

Key Features

  • Explores the relationship between sanctification and other biblical themes
  • Addresses pastoral, philosophical, and practical aspects of sanctification
  • Examines various historical views on sanctification


Prelude: An Opening Homily

  • Holiness: Restoring God?s Image: A Homily on Colossians 3:5-17

Part 1: Sanctified by Grace Through Faith in Union with Christ

  • Living by Faith—Alone? Reformed Responses to Antinomianism
  • Sanctification by Faith?
  • Covenantal Union and Communion: Union with Christ as the Covenant of Grace
  • Sanctification after Metaphysics: Karl Barth in Conversation with John Wesley’s Conception of “Christian Perfection”

Part 2: Human Agency and Sanctification’s Relationship to Ethics

  • “Let the Earth Bring Forth...”: The Spirit and Human Agency in Sanctification
  • Sanctification and Ethics
  • On Bavinck’s Theology of Sanctification-as-Ethics

Part 3: Theological and Pastoral Meditations on Sanctification

  • Gospel Holiness: Some Dogmatic Reflections
  • Faith, Hope and Love: A Theological Meditation on Suffering and Sanctification
  • Sonship, Identity and Transformation
  • Sanctification Through Preaching: How John Chrysostom Preached for Personal Transformation

Top Highlights

“His point is rather that the renewal of the mind, and so of God’s image in us, is a process: it does not take place in an instant, nor has it taken place fully yet.” (Page 30)

“So holiness is relational, and no one can claim to be holy if they are isolated or insulated from others who name Christ as Lord. Isolationist Christians are a contradiction to what it means to be in Christ. Holiness is about belonging to a holy people (Ex 19:5; 1 Pet 2:9).” (Page 31)

“consistency would suggest that there is essential continuity to the role of faith in justification and sanctification.” (Page 36)

“to be made new by Christ is inextricably bound to being ‘in’ Christ” (Page 12)

“By contrast, positively, the only thing that matters is that ‘Christ is all and is in all.’ Consequently, if holiness is living in his image, we relate to one another as he related to others.” (Page 32)


  • Henri Blocher
  • Julie Canlis
  • Ivor Davidson
  • James Eglinton
  • Brannon Ellis
  • Michael Horton
  • Kelly M. Kapic
  • Richard Lints
  • Bruce McCormack
  • Peter Moore
  • Oliver O’Donovan
  • Derek Tidball

Praise for the Print Edition

Kapic encourages suffering Christians to focus on the images of the cross, resurrection, and feast: 'Suffering can be like a famine: a famine of comfort and peace, a famine of joy and health, a famine of community and self-worth. To this famine Christ offers the feast of himself' (p. 231). This essay should be read by everyone in the church and is alone worth the price of the book.

—J. V. Fesko, New Horizons

Few doctrines today are as unwieldy and ill-defined as sanctification. Vast terrain must be charted, and a path forward must be suggested that honors the wide variety of biblical teachings that impinge on the subject. Kelly Kapic has done us all a great service in gathering these essays that explore the terrain and map out proposals regarding evangelical holiness. On a number of key issues, ranging from sola fide or perfection to union with Christ or suffering, this book draws wisely from the tradition, engages patiently with the scriptural testimony, and tries to think clearly and compellingly for the church today. I commend it.

—Michael Allen, Kennedy Associate Professor of Systematic Theology, Knox Theological Seminary

Reading these essays brings rich blessing. While these scholars offer the kinds of insight one would expect from each, still the insights themselves can be surprisingly rich. Amid contemporary Reformed confusion and conflict, this collection helpfully places sanctification in biblical, historical and pastoral perspective—thus making truly ecumenical and evangelical contributions.

—Daniel J. Treier, Wheaton College

Product Details

In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Kelly M. Kapic, since 2001, has served as an associate professor of theological studies at Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, GA. He is the author, editor, or coeditor of several books, including The Devoted Life: An Invitation to the Puritan Classics.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition


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    Digital list price: $29.99
    Save $9.00 (30%)