Sanctification and the Gospel

Dr. Richard B. Gaffin, Professor of Biblical and Systematic Theology, Emeritus at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, joined the Christ the Center panel to discuss the nature of the gospel and the relation of the benefits of redemption to union with Christ. The significance of the contribution of John Calvin was delved into, especially his handling of the duplex gratia dei or two-fold blessing of justification and sanctification and how this relates to our union with the risen Lord.

Of special interest was the conversation about how justification and sanctification relate to each other within union. A discussion was also had regarding the distinction between definitive and progressive sanctification and the biblical basis for that distinction. The panel also discussed the relation of the historia salutis (the history of redemption or the accomplishment of redemption) to the ordo salutis (the order of salvation or its application).

Dr. Gaffin is the author of numerous articles and books, including Resurrection and Redemption, Calvin and the Sabbath, Perspectives on Pentecost, By Faith, Not By Sight and he has edited a collection of the shorter writings of Geerhardus Vos, Redemptive History and Biblical Interpretation. In May of 2008 Dr. Gaffin entered into honored retirement and was the recipient of a festschrift entitled Resurrection and Eschatology co-edited by Lane G. Tipton and Jeffrey C. Waddington.


  • Richard B. Gaffin, Jr.
  • Jeff Waddington
  • James Dolezal
  • Jim Cassidy
  • Camden Bucey


Bogue, Carl W. Jonathan Edwards and the Covenant of Grace . Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2009.

Gaffin, Richard. By Faith Not By Sight . Paternoster, 2006.

Gaffin, Richard B., Jr. Resurrection and Redemption: A Study in Paul’s Soteriology . 2nd ed. P & R Publishing, 1987.

Larson, Mark J. Calvin’s Doctrine of the State: A Reformed Doctrine and Its American Trajectory, the Revolutionary War, and the Founding of the Republic . Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2009.

Payne, Jon D. In The Splendor Of Holiness: Rediscovering the Beauty of Reformed Worship for the 21st Century . First. Tolle Lege Press, 2008.

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Christ the Center focuses on Reformed Christian theology. In each episode a group of informed panelists discusses important issues in order to encourage critical thinking and a better understanding of Reformed doctrine with a view toward godly living. Browse more episodes from this program or subscribe to the podcast feed.

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10 years ago

I have not read any of Gaffin’s work, only comments on it. After listening to this interview it seems that what Gaffin is struggling with is what previous generations struggled with when they debated “eternal justification”: How can God be for me (give me a new heart) before he is for me (justification)? Gaffin solves this by saying an “existential union” is the grounds for regeneration.

It also seems that some confusion comes from the fact that Calvin uses sanctification and regeneration interchangeably?

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