How Does Sanctification Work?
Written byDavid Powlison
The process of sanctification is personal and organic—not a one-size-fits-all formula.
Many popular views try to reduce the process of Christian growth to a single template. For example, remember past grace. Rehearse your identity in Christ. Avail yourself of the means of grace. Discipline yourself. But Scripture portrays the dynamics of sanctification in a rich variety of ways. No single factor, truth, or protocol can capture why and how a person is changed into the image of Christ.
Weaving together personal stories, biblical exposition, and theological reflection, David Powlison shows the personal and particular ways that God meets you where you are to produce change. He highlights the variety of factors that work together, helping us to avoid sweeping generalizations and pat answers in the search for a key to sanctification. This book is a go-to resource for understanding the multifaceted, lifelong, personal journey of sanctification.
A Simple Way to Think about Sanctification
Why Did You Write the Book?
Why did I write How Does Sanctification Work? Putting words on paper is one of the ways I work out my salvation. Writing helps me to hold up in front of myself what I believe and what I aspire to be. So, in one sense, I wrote it for myself. But as is typical in any kind of ministry, what’s been meaningful and insightful to me tends to also be meaningful and insightful for other people.
Sanctification in particular is often approached simplistically in the body of Christ. People say things like, “Just remember this truth,” or “Just develop this discipline,” or “Just get accountable,” or “Just use your gifts.” But I’m deeply persuaded that there’s no “Just ___” when it comes to how God works with us.
One of my goals with this book is to make the whole of sanctification shine brighter for people. In the book, I use a metaphor about color and computer technology. There are six primary and secondary colors. But using a computer, you can generate 16.8 million colors. That’s how sanctification works, too. There are some bright colors and major themes: God’s sovereign purposes, Christ’s death for our sins, God’s will that faith works through love. They are all significant. But there are an incredible number of variations that are also important.
I hope people take away not just the principles, but the stories, too. The stories illustrate how particular truths land in particular situations depending on where a person struggles and who they are. For example, love can take on ten thousand forms based on who it’s directed toward. An eight-week-old baby will be loved by her parents in a different way than I loved my mom when she was dying or the way I love my wife after she’s been away on a trip. These instances demonstrate what obedience and faith look like in different cases. We look at the fruits of the Spirit listed in Scripture and see how all of these get lived out in a variety of ways. I hope people are excited to learn that God has a more personal touch than they may have thought.
Publication Year: 2017