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DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-K093-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved July 15, 2024, from

Article Summary

Sanctification, the process of becoming holy, is closely connected to justification, although Roman Catholic and Protestant theologians differ on how closely. According to the Roman Catholic Church, sanctification takes place in justification. In justification, sins are forgiven and there is an infusion of sanctifying grace, whereby one is made just and holy; this is what it is to be sanctified. In this state of grace, one merits heaven. Nonetheless, there is room for spiritual growth in the Christian life (though this is not called sanctification, as it would be in Protestantism) because concupiscence remains and appetites are still not fully under control. Justification is the beginning of a new life (the life of grace) in which we may grow towards integrity, the proper use of appetites; moreover, the gifts of faith, hope and charity, which enable one to perform meritorious works, can also increase. The state of grace, which is the result of justification, can be lost by mortal sin, but can be fully restored through the sacrament of penance.

Protestants teach that in justification one’s sins are forgiven and one is fully reconciled to God, but that one is not wholly sanctified (that is, renewed or made holy). Luther’s formula that we are simul iustus et peccator (both just and sinner) is widely accepted by Protestants. Justification is only the beginning of sanctification, which, most Protestants believe, is never completed in this life. The exceptions are Methodists and members of some holiness churches (groups that either broke away from Methodism or were influenced by it).

Citing this article:
Allen, Diogenes. Sanctification, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-K093-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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