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In this section of the Baptist Larger Catechism, we address Ch. 13 and 15 in the 1689 London Baptist Confession on sanctification and repentance. This section consists of an expansion of question 39 in the Baptist Catechism and the Keach Catechism. Three additional questions have been added to explain the difference between justification and sanctification (Q. 70), to explain why sanctification is not complete in this life (Q. 71), and to discuss the relationship between sanctification and repentance (Q. 69). These additional questions are similar to questions 76-78 in the Westminster Larger Catechism.

As before, feel free to comment on the additional questions added and the expanded questions below.

Q. 68: What is sanctification?

A: Sanctification is a work of God’s free grace for those whom God has chosen to be holy before the foundation of the world and to whom, in the process of time, the powerful operation of the Spirit1 applies the death and resurrection of Christ.2 They are thus renewed in their whole man after the image of God,3 have the seeds of repentance unto life and all the other saving graces put into their hearts4 and these graces are so aroused, increased, and strengthened5 that they progressively put sin to death and rise unto newness of life.6

1. Ezekiel 36:27; Philippians 2:13; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Ephesians 1:4; 1 Corinthians 6:11

2. Romans 6:4-6; Colossians 3:1-3; Philippians 3:10

3. 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 4:23-24; 1 Thessalonians 5:23

4. Acts 11:18; 1 John 3:9

5. Jude 20; Hebrews 6:11-12; Ephesians 3:16-19; Colossians 1:10-11

6. Ezekiel 36:25-27; Romans 6:4-14; 2 Corinthians 7:1; 1 Peter 2:24; Galatians 5:24

Q. 69: What is repentance unto life?

A: Repentance unto life is an act of God’s free grace1 wrought in the heart of a sinner by the Spirit2 and the Word of God.3 By it, sinners recognize not only the danger of their sins4 but also the filthiness and repulsiveness of their sins to God.5 Understanding that in Christ, God is merciful to those who repent,6 sinners suffer such deep sorrow for7 and hate their sins8 so much that they turn away from all of them and turn to God,9 purposing to walk continually with Him according to this new obedience in every way.10

1. 2 Timothy 2:25; Acts 11:18

2. Zechariah 12:10

3. Acts 11:18-21

4. Ezekiel 18:28-32; Luke 15:17-18; Hosea 2:6-7

5. Ezekiel 36:31; Isaiah 30:22; Philippians 3:7-8

6. Joel 2:12-13; Psalm 51:1-4; Luke 15:7-10; Acts 2:37

7. Jeremiah 31:18-19; Psalm 32:5

8. 2 Corinthians 7:11

9. Luke 1:16-17; 1 Thessalonians 1:9; Acts 26:18; Ezekiel 14:6; 1 Kings 8:47-48

10. 2 Chronicles 7:14; Psalm 119:57-64; Matthew 3:8; 2 Corinthians 7:10


Q. 70: What is the difference between justification and sanctification?

A: Although sanctification is inseparably joined with justification,1 the two are distinctly different. In justification God imputes the righteousness of Christ to believers2 whereas in sanctification, His Spirit infuses believers with grace, and enables them to exercise this grace.3 In justification, sin is pardoned apart from the work of the believer;4 whereas in sanctification, sin is subdued by Spirit-empowered effort of the believer.5 Justification perfectly and equally frees all believers from the wrath of God so that they never fall into condemnation;6 whereas sanctification is not completed in any believer in this life,7 but only grows towards perfection.8

1. 1 Corinthians 6:11; 1 Corinthians 1:30

2. Romans 4:6-8

3. Ezekiel 36:27; Hebrews 9:13-14

4. Romans 3:24-25

5. Romans 6:6-14; Romans 8:13; Philippians 2:12-13

6. Romans 8:33-34

7. 1 John 2:12-14; Hebrews 5:12-14; 1 John 1:8-10

8. 2 Corinthians 7:1; Philippians 3:12-14

Q. 71: Why are believers not completely sanctified?

A: Believers are not completely sanctified because they retain some remnants of sin through their whole being and are continually plagued with desires of their old sinful nature that are contrary to the Spirit. Consequently believers are frequently defeated by temptations, commit many sins,1 and are hindered from performing their spiritual obligations,2 so that their best works in God’s eyes are imperfect and defiled.3

1. Romans 7:18-23; Mark 14:66-72; Galatians 2:11-12

2. Hebrews 12:1

3. Isaiah 64:6; Galatians 5:16-18