Dr. Peterson Answers Your Questions: Why is definitive sanctification important?

Published on September 27, 2016 by Joshua Centanni

IVP, 2001 | 191 pages

Have your own question for Dr. Peterson? Let us know and we’ll pass it on!


Q&A With Dr. Peterson

Last week Dr. David Peterson, author of Possessed by God, offered to answers your questions on the doctrine of sanctification and related issues. This week we’re posting his answers to your questions.


Chris H. writes,

Thank you for the wonderful contribution to the subject of biblical theology, and more specifically to the doctrine of sanctification. Would you please give your reasons why you believe it is important for churches in the 21st century to reclaim and teach definitive sanctification as the ground and catalyst for holiness of life, both corporately for the church, as well as for the individual Christian.

Dr. Peterson answers,

Chris, it is always important for us to use biblical terminology and concepts in the way the Bible does. Popular teaching about sanctification presents it as a process of becoming more and more holy, which can obscure the relational and grace dimensions to holiness.

To use a human example, I am no more married to my wife today than I was on the day we wed, but the challenge is for me is to be a faithful and loving husband in each and every situation that confronts us. The NT uses other terms for growth, maturation, and change in the Christian life. Sanctification, together with justification, reconciliation, and redemption, describes the gracious way God in Christ brings us into relationship with himself.

As you suggest, sanctification provides the ground and catalyst for holiness of life. It has corporate implications (we belong to the holy community of Christ’s people), with consequent obligations to one another. As we see the need today for Christians individually and collectively to become more distinctive witnesses to God’s grace and power for change, we would do well to use all these salvific terms in the way the Bible does, and to draw out their significance for daily living.

Buy the books

Possessed by God

IVP, 2001 | 191 pages

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