Catechism Insight – Doctrinal Standard WSC #32

Doctrinal Standard #32

  • Q. What benefits do those who are effectively called share in this life?
  • A. In this life those who are effectively called share justification, adoption, sanctification, and the other benefits that either go with or come from them.

Memory Verses

  • “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:44, ESV).


  • Study Passage: John 6:41-71
  • Support Passages: Romans 8:1-11, John 5:41-47, Ephesians 4:17-19, Romans 3:9-18
  • Bible Story: II Samuel 9


  • The next three catechism questions specifically explain justification, adoption, and sanctification. This particular doctrinal standard provides a larger perspective on the different ways believers benefit from their effective calling.
  • “Justification is a legal act whereby God declares the believing sinner righteous on the basis of the blood of Christ. The basic meaning of justification is ‘to declare righteous.’ Several other things can be learned about Paul’s usage of justification:  justification is a gift of God’s grace (Rom. 3:24); it is appropriated through faith (Rom 5:1; Gal 3:24); it is possible through the blood of Christ (Rom 5:9); and it is apart from the law (Rom 3:20; Gal. 2:16; 3:11). This last point is a major emphasis of Paul and undoubtedly the thesis of the book of Galatians – man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ” (110).
  • “The word adaption (Gk. Huiothesia) means ‘placing as a son’ and describes the rights and privileges as well as the new position of the believer in Christ. The word is taken from Roman custom where, in a legal ceremony, the adopted son was given all the rights of a natural-born son. In this rite, four things happened. ‘[a] the adopted person lost all rights in his old family, and gained all rights of a fully legitimate son in his new family. [b] He became heir to his new father’s estate. [c] The old life of the adopted person was completely wiped out. For instance, legally all debts were cancelled; they were wiped out as if they had never been. [d] In the eyes of the law the adopted person was literally and absolutely the son of his new father’” (pg. 329).
  • “The word sanctification (Gk. Hagiasmos) means ‘to set apart.’ The same root word is found in the English words saint, holy, and holiness. Sanctification and its related terms are used in a variety of ways in both the Old Testament and New Testament. With respect to the New Testament believer, however, there are primarily three aspects of sanctification.
  • (1)   Positional sanctification. This is the believer’s position or standing before God, based on the death of Christ. In positional sanctification the believer is accounted holy before God; he is declared a saint. Paul frequently began his letters by addressing the believers as saints (Rom. 1:7). It is noteworthy that so carnal a group as the church at Corinth is addressed as ‘those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus’ (1 Cor. 1:2). This positional sanctification is achieved through the once-for-all death of Christ (Heb. 10:10, 14, 29).
  • (2)   Experiential Sanctification. Although the believer’s positional sanctification is secure, his experiential sanctification may fluctuate because it relates to his daily life and experience. Paul’s prayer is that believers should be sanctified entirely in their experience (1 Thess. 5:23); Peter commands believers to be sanctified or holy (1 Peter 1:16). This experiential sanctification grows as the believer dedicates his life to God (Rom. 6:13; 12:1-2) and is nourished by the word of God (Ps. 119:9-16). Clearly, additional factors enter into experiential sanctification.
  • (3)   Ultimate Sanctification. This aspect of sanctification is future and anticipates the final transformation of the believer into the likeness of Christ. At that time all believers will be presented to the Lord without any blemish (Eph. 5:26-27)” (Pg. 329-330). [1]

Discussion Questions

  • In the next four weeks we will look at each one of these more closely. This week is an introduction to become familiar with the terms and their meaning.
  • What are the three ways believers benefit from being effectively called (saved)?
  • Briefly explain Justification in your own words.
  • What is God’s and man’s responsibility in Justification?
  • Briefly explain biblical adoption in your own words.
  • What is God’s and man’s responsibility in adoption?
  • Briefly explain sanctification in your own words.
  • What is God’s and man’s responsibility in sanctification?
  • In what other ways does Christ’s salvation benefit believers?

[1] Enns, Paul (1994). The Moody Handbook of Theology. Chicago, Illinois, USA; Moody Press.

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