Thursday, January 21, 2010

Reading the Classics with Challies - Redemption Accomplished and Applied

In chapter VII of Murray's classic work entitled Redemption Accomplished and Applied(Murray, John. Redemption Accomplished and Applied. Boston: Wm. B. Eerdmans Company, 1984), the author presents a study of sanctification. As clear and concise as ever, Murray considers this doctrinal issue under several headings; the presuppositions, the concern of sanctification, the agent of sanctification, and the means of sanctification. I have opted to focus on the concern of sanctification.

Murray ably defines exactly what sanctification is concerned with.
This deliverance from the power of sin secured by union with Christ and from the defilement of sin secured by regeneration does not eliminate all sin from the heart and life of the believer. There is still indwelling sin (cf. Rom. 6:20; 7:14-25; 1 John 1:8; 2:1). The believer is not yet so conformed to the image of Christ that he is holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners. Sanctification is concerned precisely with this fact and it has as its aim the elimination of all sin and complete conformation to the image of God's own Son, to be holy as the Lord is holy. (143, emphasis mine)
If we take this idea seriously, as we should, we must recognize that our entire sanctification "...will not be realized until the body of our humiliation will be transformed into the likeness of the body of Christ's glory..." (144) Murray, through his handling of the subject, implores us to take seriously the gravity of this doctrine. This is evidenced by his few points.

Murray states that we must appreciate the gravity of that with which sanctification concerns itself.We do so, according to Murray, by viewing a few things:
  1. All sin in the believer is the contradiction of God's holiness; "But the sin which resides in the believer and which he commits is of such character that it deserves the wrath of God and the fatherly displeasure of God is evoked by this sin. Remaining indwelling sin is therefore the contradiction of all that he is as a regenerate person and son of God. It is the contradiction of God himself, after whose image he has been recreated." (144)
  2. The presence of sin in the believer involves conflict in his heart and life; "The deeper his apprehension of the majesty of God, the greater the intensity of his love for God, the more persistent his yearning for the attainment of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, the more concious will he be of the gravity of the sin which remains and the more poignant willbe his detestation of it." (145)
  3. There must be a constant and increasing appreciation that though sin still remains it does not have the mastery; "It is one thing for sin to live in us; it is another for us to live in sin." (145)
Realizing that, for the believer, Christ has been formed in him and he is the habitation of God is "...equivalent to saying that he must reckon himself to be dead indeed unto sin but alive unto God through Christ Jesus his Lord." (146)

Murray sums this section up succinctly, "It is the concern of sanctification that sin be more mortified and holiness ingenerated and cultivated." (146)


  1. Great, now I have to put all of John Murray's books on my wish list, great stuff. Been eying his commentary on Romans for a little while now. Nice post!

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