Can We Be Glorified Without Being Sanctified? (Kevin DeYoung)

Author of the book “The Hole in Our Holiness,” professor and minister Kevin DeYoung explains the vital need for sanctification in the Christian life.

Kevin DeYoung gave this talk at the 2016 Together for the Gospel Conference. It is an incredibly helpful discussion on the necessity of sanctification in the Christian life and how it relates to justification by faith alone and the doctrine of assurance.

Highlights of the Message:

  • Goal of the talk is to show how the gospel and good works are not opposed to each other
  • The need for sanctification to go to heaven (which may strike some Protestants as a red flag)
  • DeYoung seeks to defend his assertion both biblically and theologically and especially from passages from 1 John, Revelation, and elsewhere
  • Why precise wording matters when talking about difficult theological topics
  • The centrality of holiness in heaven
  • The ways 1 John helps people identify who belong to Christ in terms of what one loves
  • How sanctification contributes in part (NOT in totality) to assurance of salvation

These questions are based on the information from this message and follow the order of the talk. Some of the questions may challenge you to think beyond what you hear and take what you learn a step further through application or bringing in knowledge you might already have.

  1. How does the book of Revelation support DeYoung’s argument for the need for sanctification to go to heaven?
  2. Why does DeYoung say good works are necessary for salvation? What does he mean and not mean by this? How does the Turretin quote DeYoung cites clarify what he means?
  3. How does the holiness of heaven relate to our present sanctification?
  4. What are the three markers or signs in 1 John that show someone they are on the path to eternal life? How can these be explained in terms of what we love?
  5. What 3 objections does DeYoung address concerning his main idea? What Bible verses does he give to counter these objections?
  6. What is the difference between the process of knowing you are a Christian (assurance) and actually becoming a Christian (justification)? What are the various ways God provides assurance of salvation?
  7. How does the Great Commission emphasize sanctification?
  8. Is DeYoung trying to promote sinless perfection? Why or why not? What category concerning good deeds does DeYoung say we need? How does the analogy of a young child cleaning a room or drawing a picture help explain this category?
  9. Was there anything in the talk that helped provide greater clarity for you? How does this talk encourage you in your pursuit of Christ and becoming more like Him?

Other Helpful Bible Verses:

1 Corinthians 6:9–10 – Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

Revelation 2:7 – He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

Hebrews 12:14 – Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

Revelation 22:14–15 – Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

1 John 5:11–12 – And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

1 John 3:6–10 – No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

Romans 12:1 – I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

Related Confessional Statements from the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith:

Sanctification

1. Those who are united to Christ and effectually called and regenerated have a new heart and a new spirit created in them through the power of Christ’s death and resurrection. They are also further sanctified, really and personally,1 through the same power, by his Word and Spirit dwelling in them.2 The dominion of the whole body of sin is destroyed,3 and the various evil desires that arise from it are more and more weakened and put to death.4 At the same time, those called and regenerated are more and more enlivened and strengthened in all saving graces5 so that they practice true holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.6

1Acts 20:32; Romans 6:5, 6. 2John 17:17; Ephesians 3:16–19; 1 Thessalonians 5:21–23. 3Romans 6:14. 4Galatians 5:24. 5Colossians 1:11. 62 Corinthians 7:1; Hebrews 12:14.

2. This sanctification extends throughout the whole person,7 though it is never completed in this life. Some corruption remains in every part.8 From this arises a continual and irreconcilable war, with the desires of the flesh against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh.9

71 Thessalonians 5:23. 8Romans 7:18, 23. 9Galatians 5:17; 1 Peter 2:11.

3. In this war, the remaining corruption may greatly prevail for a time.10 Yet through the continual supply of strength from the sanctifying Spirit of Christ, the regenerate part overcomes.11 So the saints grow in grace, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. They pursue a heavenly life, in gospel obedience to all the commands that Christ as Head and King has given them in his Word.12

10Romans 7:23. 11Romans 6:14. 12Ephesians 4:15, 16; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 2 Corinthians 7:1.

Assurance of Grace and Salvation

1. Temporary believers and other unregenerate people may deceive themselves in vain with false hopes and fleshly presumptions that they have God’s favor and salvation, but their hope will perish.1 Yet those who truly believe in the Lord Jesus and love him sincerely, endeavoring to walk in all good conscience before him, may be certainly assured in this life that they are in a state of grace. They may rejoice in the hope of the glory of God,2 and this hope will never make them ashamed.3

1Job 8:13, 14; Matthew 7:22, 23. 21 John 2:3; 3:14, 18, 19, 21, 24; 5:13. 3Romans 5:2, 5.

2. This certainty is not merely an inconclusive or likely persuasion based on a fallible hope. It is an infallible assurance of faith4 founded on the blood and righteousness of Christ revealed in the Gospel.5 It is also built on the inward evidence of those graces of the Spirit about which promises are made.6 It is further based on the testimony of the Spirit of adoption, witnessing with our spirits that we are the children of God.7 As a fruit of this assurance, our hearts are kept both humble and holy.8

4Hebrews 6:11, 19. 5Hebrews 6:17, 18. 62 Peter 1:4, 5, 10, 11. 7Romans 8:15, 16. 81 John 3:1–3.

3. This infallible assurance is not such an essential part of faith that it is always fully experienced alongside faith, but true believers may wait a long time and struggle with many difficulties before obtaining it.9 Yet with the enabling of the Spirit to know the things freely given to them by God, they may attain this assurance using ordinary means appropriately without any extraordinary revelation.10 Therefore, it is the duty of all to be as diligent as possible to make their calling and election sure. In this way their hearts may be enlarged in peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, in love and thankfulness to God, and in strength and cheerfulness in the duties of obedience. These effects are the natural fruits of this assurance.11 Thus, it does not at all encourage believers to be negligent.12

9Isaiah 50:10; Psalms 88; 77:1–12. 101 John 4:13; Hebrews 6:11, 12. 11Romans 5:1, 2, 5; 14:17; Psalms 119:32. 12Romans 6:1, 2; Titus 2:11, 12, 14.

4. True believers may in various ways have the assurance of their salvation shaken, decreased, or temporarily lost. This may happen because they neglect to preserve it13 or fall into some specific sin that wounds their conscience and grieves the Spirit.14 It may happen through some unexpected or forceful temptation15 or when God withdraws the light of his face and allows even those who fear him to walk in darkness and to have no light.16 Yet they are never completely lacking the seed of God,17 the life of faith,18 love of Christ and the brethren, sincerity of heart, or conscience concerning their duty. Out of these graces, through the work of the Spirit, this assurance may at the proper time be revived.19 In the meantime, they are kept from utter despair through them.20

13Song of Solomon 5:2, 3, 6. 14Psalms 51:8, 12, 14. 15Psalms 116:11; 77:7, 8; 31:22; 16Psalms 30:7. 171 John 3:9. 18Luke 22:32. 19Psalms 42:5, 11. 20Lamentations 3:26–31.

Further Reading:

Holiness – J.C. Ryle

The Hole in our Holiness – Kevin DeYoung

Whenever possible, we link to good Christian bookstores that are actually owned and operated by Christians.

Jim Rosenquist

Jim Rosenquist

Jim is Founder, Editor, and Author at 4Elect. He holds a Master of Arts in Theological Studies from Reformed Theological Seminary. Jim rejoices that God chooses insignificant people to bring glory to Himself.

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What is Sanctification? (Martyn Lloyd-Jones)

The Christian life is not merely about rejoicing in the power of Christ for salvation. The power of Christ is at work in Christians so that they may truly consider themselves “dead to sin.” Dr. Martyn Llloyd-Jones explains this from Romans ch.6-8.

Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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