Subscribe now

The Doctrine of Sanctification

By A. W. Pink
April 2015 | Review by Julian Kennedy
  • Publisher: Christian Focus Publications
  • ISBN: ISBN 978-1-85792-414-5
  • Pages: 218
  • Price: 8.99
Buy this book »

Book Review

With Pink one comes to expect a thoroughly biblical and well researched treatment of a topic. This book proves no exception.

The doctrine of sanctification is like an onion. Unwrap one layer and you will discover another, never seeming to reach the centre. From the outset, the author links the subject with justification and poses many questions answered later in the book.

He states that sanctification stands directly after the glory of God as the ‘chief subordinate end of the covenant of grace’ (p.4). He defines ‘to sanctify’ as ‘to appoint, dedicate or set apart unto God, for a holy and special use’ (p.13).

Sanctification is absolutely necessary. Our wills must be brought into harmony with God. Our motivation to obey him and eschew evil must be faith and love; our ultimate aim must be his glory.

Sanctification is a work of God alone, issuing from regeneration and a clear conscience. It consists of legal and objective sanctification (a status we have in Christ) as well as a progressive, subjective element in the ongoing improvement of our character and conduct. The divine act of objective sanctification must be followed by progressive sanctification.

Pink is right when he says that ‘all the Reformation creeds will be searched in vain for any clear statement upon the perfect holiness which the church has in Christ, or of God’s making him to be, imputatively, sanctification unto his people’ (p.80). This is regrettable, as it is the clear teaching of 1 Corinthians 1:30.

Towards the end of the book, we hear the end of the matter. The purpose of God in sending his own Son was to condemn sin in the flesh and fulfil the righteousness of the law in us (Romans 8:3-4). Sanctification is conformity to the law of God in heart (mind and will) and life.

Only a true delight in and love for God effectually influences us to keep his commandments. The law requires ‘not only outward works of piety, but holy thoughts and godly affections, from whence all good works must proceed, or else they are unacceptable to God’ (p.115). We should add that our good works are sanctified and made acceptable by Christ.

It is gratifying to read that Pink defines faith as being united to Christ and believing all that God has taught us. We praise God that, by his grace, both these aspects of faith which sanctify us will continue to be ours in our lifelong pilgrimage. An excellent treatment of the topic!

Julian Kennedy


Book Reviews

Read our latest book reviews

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
The Christian and Technology
John V. Fesko

Even the most hardened Luddite will find himself using a satnav, mobile phone, or email on occasion. But John Fesko urges us not to reach for the latest gadget without thinking carefully about how it might shape our minds, relationships,…

See all book reviews
Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
Christ Victorious: Selected Writings of Hugh Martin
Hugh Martin

Hugh Martin (1822–1885) was one of those 19th century Scottish theologians whose published works have stood the test of time. With good reason, for his works are consistently sound, reverent, edifying, and challenging to mind and heart. This is a…

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
God’s design for women in an age of gender confusion
Sharon James

Is our belief in male headship culturally outdated, and should we see alternative ideas of marriage as ‘progress’? Is it possible to be born into the wrong body, and is sexual freedom good for women? Does Scripture show us a…

Sexuality and Identity (trilogy)
Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
Sexuality and Identity (trilogy)
Owen Strachan

These three punchy books address pressing issues: what the Bible teaches about lust (on desire), about homosexuality (on Biblical sexuality) and about transgenderism (on identity). The trilogy approach keeps each book short and focused while dovetailing effectively. Each book has…