The Gospel, worship, and renewal
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the very “food” of the Church. The Gospel, or as Paul describes it at times, the “word of grace,” or “word of truth” is the sphere in which the church operates. It is her life breath and atmosphere. For it is by the Gospel that the Church worships, progresses in her knowledge of God, maintains purity, pursues unity, and fulfills her mission to the world. The Gospel is “our canon within the canon.”
Those who disbelieve the Gospel are at war with who God is. They show themselves hostile to God’s self-revelation. The only way to know God, and therefore to be saved is to become a friend of the cross.
True believers literally love the way God has saved them. They love the truth and feed upon it; they “preach the Gospel to themselves.” They cherish Christ as revealed in the Gospel. They meditate upon the word of God’s grace, marveling at God’s wisdom in the cross. Therefore the Gospel is their constant meeting place with God; for it is the revealer of the heart of God toward us (1 Jn 4:9, 10).
Our boldness to draw near to God in prayer and the confidence that we are heard is because the Father has graciously called us to meet Him at the altar of the slain Lamb of God.
Oh how the Gospel towers over the human intellect. Consider that God has taken man’s salvation into His own hands -- for the love of God and the wisdom of God have carved out a hiding place for believing sinners by means of the justice of God in the cross – so that by the sovereign calling of God the sinner may take refuge in the mercy of God from the wrath of God.
Those who are willing to continually drink deeply from the well of the “word of grace” are never bored with God. On the contrary, they are renewed by fresh views of God – views that produce awe, adoration, wonder, fear, and amazement. The Gospel is central to worship. For it is by the Gospel that God exalts, preserves, makes known, and glorifies His holy character in the face of Christ (2 Cor 4:6).
By nature even saved men are prone to live by sight and sense. Like silt settling to the bottom of a lake, our thoughts find the lowest common denominator and eventually return to a temporal value system. Only the Gospel can lift us to another “dimension” by which we live “God-ward” lives. Only the Gospel can fuel our hope and make us resolute in our pilgrimage to the Celestial City.
Just as gravity causes water to flow downward so that it eventually finds the bottomland, the swamp, and the stagnant slough, so also the old nature tugs at the saint, pulling him away from faith living. It takes energy and a plan to move pure water uphill to the water tower at the hilltop. So also, feeding on grace is a matter of intentionality.
In order to rebound from spiritual declension, one must assess the spiritual malnutrition in his own soul. He must stir himself past the carnal apathy that has left him contented with spiritual dryness and a lukewarm disposition toward Christ.
The believer must take seriously the fact that Christ sharpens His rod of discipline to chasten believers who exhibit more complacency than zeal. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; be zealous therefore, and repent (Rev 3:19).
It is a wonder how Evangelical pastors in good conscience can function week after week without giving their listeners frequent views of the God of all grace. A pulpit ministry that does not connect precepts to divine grace tends to leave the listener with a moralistic view of the Christian life.
Paul consistently anchored N.T. commands upon the foundation of grace and redemption. His arguments for obedience were soundly developed from the believer’s union with Christ. Without that connection, Christians are left with free-floating exhortations that have the hollow echo of “be-good, and try harder.” A ministry pattern of attempting to improve the Christian life by right attitudes and behavior modification falls woefully short of the grace-based pattern set by the Apostle.
If the precepts we teach are disconnected from the word of grace, the struggling believer is frequently left with the impression that his Christian life is a non-stop effort to measure up. The exposition of biblical principles must be joined to a glorious exhibition of the majesty of the Savior who loves the redeemed to the uttermost.
The Apostle Paul’s controlling burden for his converts was that they would be granted (by the Holy Spirit) a “spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ” (Eph 1:17ff.). This prayer request for his converts involved a Spirit-imparted understanding of the doctrines of grace in a way that would penetrate their hope and affections.
The Christian life is a life of walking worthy of our calling (Eph 4:1). The first three chapters of Ephesians set forth the infinite riches and glory of our calling. The believer who understands, and highly esteems his calling by the Gospel of grace is in the best position to obey his Lord from right motives. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Pet 3:18a).
When the saints are awakened to the all-pervasive spiritual reality that they owe their life, their future, their sonship, their status, and their favor with God in Christ solely to the unobligated sovereign mercy of God, it has a life-transforming and revolutionizing effect.
But there is more. Once the saint begins to understand (by means of a spirit of wisdom and revelation, not just academically, but in his deepest affections) that God’s sovereign mercy is not just how God is taking poor sinners to heaven, but it is the very center of God’s plan to glorify Himself – then the saint begins to see things from a different perspective; a perspective which we could designate the Divine View Point (DVP). (A believer operating from DVP takes to heart the message of Ephesians one; God’s glory is exalted in the entire salvation of the sinner. God is lavishing grace on the sinner for His Name’s sake! Ez 36:22, 23.)
When the believer is stuck in patterns of spiritual defeat, it is frequently because he had not lifted his eyes above his own struggles. Unbelief keeps us focused upon our own circumstances and performance. As long as the saint is stranded in a Human View Point (HVP) perspective, he has little incentive to exercise passion for the glory of God.
By contrast, living by Divine View Point produces a kind of “grace awakening;” it elevates our thinking to live in compliance with Colossians 3:1-3.
“If this be so; if you were raised with Christ, if you were translated into heaven, what follows? Why you must realize the change. All your aims must center in heaven where reigns the Christ who has thus exalted you, enthroned you on God’s right hand. All your thoughts must abide in heaven, not on the earth. For I say it once again, you have nothing to do with mundane things: you died, died once for all to the world: you are living another life” (Expanded paraphrase of Col 3:1-3 -- J. B. Lightfoot’s Commentary, p. 208).
In the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the believing sinner discovers to his utter astonishment that God has planned from all eternity to join His matchless glory to the unending blessedness and welfare of the believing sinner.
In response to such infinite grace Calvin says, now let us fall down before the majesty of our good God, with acknowledgement of our sins, praying Him to make us perceive them more and more.And may He enliven us with the doctrine of the Gospel that we may see our own sins and shamefulness and be ashamed of ourselves, and also behold the righteousness which has been shown us in our Lord Jesus Christ, and lean upon it with the endeavor to be fashioned thereafter, so that daily we may come nearer and nearer to it, until we cleave thoroughly to it (Calvin’s Sermons on Ephesians, pp. 445, 446).
By God’s design, the glorious effect of grace – namely to be taken up and “intoxicated” with God (hungering and panting after Him and delighting in communion with Him) is the prerequisite for selfless ministry to others (including a zeal for evangelism – genuine ministry is the overflow of worship).
The Gospel of grace alone can make us leave our comfort zones on behalf of the needs of others. Grace alone can move us past self-protection. Transforming grace is what is needed in order for us to be lifted out of self concern and to be taken up with God. Apart from Divine View Point, our tendency is to settle into a relational life characterized by personal interests, independence, guarded privacy, prickly defenses, and cherished masks.
The saint “stranded” in the HVP perspective of things tends to operate from the carnal vantage point of self concern. His vantage point turns upon his self-ordered world of personal peace, protection, and prosperity.
His truncated “keyhole” vision of things has no picture window to see what God is doing in the world. In spiritual practice he lives in a dingy hut, contenting himself with the “bread and water” of carnal security and comfort. Though seated in the heavenlies, he doesn’t stir himself to see past the tiny walls of his little stick hovel of HVP.
Religion has become a spiritual compartment characterized more by deadening duty than delight. Instead of glorying in an all-pervasive relationship with Christ that dominates exceptionally in his life, his heart is smothered in layers of guilt, obligation, and fear. He is like a prisoner in his grey castle of self.
The Gospel of grace is the cure. The kind of grace thinking enjoined by Paul is what is necessary to raise us from a state of spiritual lethargy to a pervasive consciousness of all that God is toward us in Christ. Only by a grace awakening can we be lifted out of carnal self concern to function from a DVP vantage point (Divine View Point) laid out by Paul in Ephesians 1-3.
And what a vantage point it is! Meditate for a moment upon God’s plan revealed in the Gospel. Consider what it means to be taken from dust to glory: “What is [God’s] goal? What does He aim at? . . . His ultimate objective is to bring [redeemed mankind] to a state in which they please Him entirely and praise Him adequately, a state in which He is all in all to them, and He and they rejoice continually in the knowledge of each other’s love – men rejoicing in the saving love of God, set upon them from all eternity, and God rejoicing in the responsive love of men, drawn out of them by grace through the gospel” (J. I. Packer, Knowing God, p. 81).
This is God’s glory and man’s glory bound up together in a setting in which the whole created order has been transformed (Packer, pp. 81-82).
Oh how the Church needs to feed on the grace of the Gospel. A passion for God’s glory in our lives is the blessed byproduct of walking through the gates of Ephesians chapters one through three, and (by the Spirit’s enablement) understanding what God is doing in the world – He is glorifying His grace, and He desires that the saints align their entire lives with His plan.
The maturing saint has numerous “grace awakenings” as his Christian life progresses over time. The spiritual cycles of these awakenings bear a strong resemblance to one another. Every time, it is the Gospel order – first there is a withering and stunning view of our weakness, sin, pride, inadequacy, smallness, pettiness, unbelief, unmortified lusts, and frigid love for God. We become utterly disillusioned with our Christian lives.
Then, just when we are ready to write ourselves off as useless to God, as unfruitful and failures as Christians, then the Holy Spirit inspires us to exercise “mustard seed” faith in a passage of Scripture, or a promise from the Word.
Even a single line of living Scripture believed anew with struggling faith can be a staging area from which God can give us fresh revelations of His faithfulness (and from which He can do new things in our lives).
Amidst our self-loathing, the Holy Spirit “shows us the blood” yet again. We feed our faith again upon the grace of God in Christ. We fall at Lord’s feet and consent to be loved by Him for Christ’s sake alone. Suddenly duty becomes delight – we move all the way into renewed enjoyment of all that God is towards us in Christ.
It is through the lens of the Gospel that we see that we are God’s possession. Our identity as sons of God is drawn directly from the word of grace. To the degree that the saint defines himself by the Gospel, literally drawing his identity from what God says about him, to that degree his life will demonstrate eternal values.
By contrast, the saint adrift in the dwarfed faith of HVP tends to define himself primarily by temporal things. His job, his income, his possessions, his friends, his status, his hobbies, his appearance – all these define the HVP saint in his own mind, more than his holy, God-possessed status in Christ.
Preaching grace truths to ourselves regularly is not an option. Without a steady spiritual diet of the word of grace, of Christ and Him crucified, the lower nature will assert itself. Performing, pretending, and a passionless spirit will dominate our lives if we are not feeding upon Christ as He is revealed in the Gospel.
Here is the unbreakable truth, if your own identity in Christ, as defined by the Gospel, is your controlling identity, then you will see the Gospel as your life. The Gospel through Christ’s constraining love will animate you; it will determine how you see everything. It will mark out your value system.
The Gospel and Sanctification
Historically, the Church has always found it a battle to keep the doctrines of justification and sanctification joined (and operating in their logical relation – especially as set forth in the Pauline epistles). Pietism separates the two cardinal doctrines; as does quietism. Legalism and antinomianism mitigate against their unity as well.
Of all the groups in church history, the Puritans seemed to have best understood the essential and practical relationship between justification and sanctification (many of the Reformers did as well, but they did not write on it as prolifically as the Puritans).
As pastors, our anthropology ought to reflect an extremely keen insight into the hearts of our hearers. We’re preaching to people who carry in their bosoms the seeds of the Galatian error. We should never be shocked at how religious the flesh of man can be. Orthodoxy can be a forum for the flesh. We are preaching to folks like ourselves who carry in their souls an internal enemy of God’s grace, even though they are believers!
Carnal sense has no trouble understanding moral obligation, ethical responsibility, duty, performance, production, and law, BUT, it requires the ongoing work of God’s Spirit to understand and live by the grace of the Gospel.
The flesh of man prefers a formal, manageable approach to religion. True religion always tends to degrade in the direction of formalism and compartmentalization. (See essays: Orthodox Formalism and Thoughts on Church Renewal).
Only fresh acts of faith take us off of ourselves and dislodge self from being at the center (even Christians would rather do some work of service than do the work of believing – note Heb 4. Christ was witness to this propensity in hearers; a tendency to rather work than believe – Jn 6:27-29).
Due to this bent in all of us, the challenge is to keep before our people the union of justification and sanctification. And the fact that grace is not primarily a principle or a possession; grace is a relationship; it is relational.
God has made us His possession that we might know and enjoy Him and in so doing glorify Him – all flows from Christ, our “Source Person.” We are saved to commune with the Trinity and in so doing ultimately realize (that is be transformed into) our true identity in Christ.
Grace is a love relationship with our Heavenly Father through Christ our Lord in the power of the Spirit. Sanctification is the outworking of this love relationship. When the believer maintains his relationship with the Lord, he is living a “separated unto God,” or “sanctified” life. Thus sanctification involves caring for our relationship with God (David Peterson, Possessed by God).
Our relationship with God is manifested in our relationships with others. Through the word of grace, and union with Christ we are made “fit” to wear the garments of grace. The “garments of grace” are described especially in Ephesians 4-5 and in Colossians 3-4.
The language used by the Apostle in these chapters is “put on” (put on like a garment the character qualities of Christ). Put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience (Col 3:12b). Our practical sanctification is lived out as we wear the garments of grace in our relationships with believers.
In this way, others see that we have become partakers of Christ and of grace. The Gospel of grace provides the rationale for us to love sacrificially; to be spent on behalf of the brethren; to live for the edification of others.
The word of grace gives us the reasons why we are to identify ourselves completely with Christ’s purposes. The believer is a member of Christ’s Body; as such each member is to contribute his part to the maturation of the Body of Christ as a whole (Eph 4:15, 16).
Each member of Christ’s Body is to commit himself to the Great Commission which is not only directed at evangelism, but equally at discipleship. And we proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man that we present every man complete in Christ (Col 1:28).
Such radical identification with Christ and His purposes requires that our affections be captive to the grace of God in the Gospel (to be captivated with the Gospel of God’s grace is synonymous with having a DVP perspective). Only then does the believer gladly make the purposes of Christ his life’s direction.
Pastors in training face a whirlwind of seminary instruction that tends to leave them with a certain inference, namely that the Bible is a divinely inspired, inerrant “technical manual” from which they are to mine and exegete timeless principles.
The sheer volume of academic material to be covered in the seminary curriculum pushes spiritual life issues into the background. As a consequence, the following essentials are frequently neglected: the believer’s union with Christ, the doctrine of abiding in Christ, the spiritual nature of ministry, the supremacy and sufficiency of Christ, and the relationship between spiritual position and condition (definitive and “progressive” sanctification).
Without the Gospel of grace as our focus, there can be a tendency to preach principles and then recruit volunteers for ministry while the sense of obligation is weighing heavy. Our people can easily interpret our ministry activity and “orthodox output” as the very soul and heartbeat of the Christian life.
Indeed, this happened at the church of Ephesus (Rev 2). Productivity “ate up” devotion to Christ as the highest value. If we are to be faithful to the logical relationship between justification (the Gospel) and sanctification, then we will want to follow the pattern set by the Apostle Paul. An understanding of “who we are in Christ” and our devotion to Him will have to precede “what we do for Christ.”
The Gospel of God’s grace is our constant corrective; it keeps liberating us from the pressure to “measure up” in order to be loved and accepted by God. Preaching Christ in the Gospel of grace is the key to an “identity-based” ministry that puts who we are in Christ ahead of what we do for Christ.
Pastors therefore should personally master an understanding of the relationship between justification and sanctification. It’s an area of study that eludes most laymen. Folks who have been church members for decades have difficulty explaining the relationship between these two doctrines of justification and sanctification; most cannot do it.
Those who are able to give the barest explanation of the relationship between the doctrines often do so without any mention of the dimension of life in Christ and union with Him.
It is the goal of this author to challenge pastors to be Gospel-centered. Consider keeping at least one book on your nightstand that deals with this topic of justification and sanctification and union with Christ. This author is increasingly convinced that Christian maturity is retarded because believers are not approaching sanctification and service as a function of faith in Christ and the Gospel (suggested bibliography at end of this paper).
The Gospel and Evangelism
The saint who lives in perpetual amazement concerning what Christ has done for him is a grace-based, grace-awakened believer who cannot lack Paul’s sentiment that he is a debtor to all men (Rom 1:14).
The DVP saint maintains a “debtor” mentality toward all men – he always has on his radar screen a cognizance of the spiritual state of those around him, therefore he is keenly aware of every Gospel opportunity. He prays that he will be strengthened so as not to lose any evangelistic opening God provides.
He runs through his mind potential dialogs with the lost – he considers how they may be reached for Christ. He believes that God has placed him strategically for the purpose of being a witness to those in his sphere.
It is the word of grace that instills fervency and boldness in him for evangelism. A diet of grace truth has conditioned his mind to think this way because his spirit is fed and fortified on the truth of what God is doing in the world in view of eternity (Eph 1-3).
For the reasons spelled out above, a heart for evangelism proves to be a telling virtue concerning the spiritual condition of the individual, and of the local church.
The next point related to evangelism is more controversial. It comes from the biography of Martyn Lloyd-Jones. It rattles our traditional thinking regarding how a burden for evangelism is produced among church members. Lloyd-Jones states that evangelism training programs like Evangelism Explosion (James Kennedy) are too cut and dried. He notes that most training programs bypass the need for personal spiritual awakening and revival.
Now comes the part that can be the toughest to accept: Lloyd-Jones states that if you preach the Gospel well enough to your church, the true Christians will know how to do it, and they will do it (Ian Murray, Lloyd-Jones Bio vol. 2, pp. 706, 707). Martyn’s point is that the churched are not used to hearing the Gospel passionately and convicting-ly preached from the pulpit. Lloyd-Jones preached two sermons each Sunday -- morning and evening. One of the two was always intended to be evangelistic, often both were! Yet, he was one of Britain’s finest expository preachers!
Lloyd-Jones is passionate in his assessment of why the Church lacks commitment to the Great Commission. Lloyd-Jones states that the prevailing error today is that pastors imagine that the majority of the people in their churches are saved and only need instruction – Lloyd-Jones saysthey actually need a more consistent diet of the Gospel, repentance, and exhortation (Vol. 2, p. 619).
Lloyd-Jones’ point is well-taken. In order for believers to confidently and consistently share the Gospel, they must be in the habit of living upon the Gospel.
Christians need practice thinking through the Gospel, worshipping through the Gospel, and repenting through the Gospel. The word of grace; the Gospel, preached passionately, is desperately needed in order to deepen our faith in what God is doing in the world now. He is convicting, calling, quickening, and regenerating sinners by means of the Gospel. This is God’s primary means of glorifying Himself! Thus, the word of grace provides an essential grounding inDivine View Point.
This perspective (DVP) becomes a key source of our confidence. Are we absolutely convinced that every man bears a relation to God defined by his relation to the Gospel? Are we convinced that he will carry that relationship with him eternally? This is a source of boldness for us. It feeds our desire to march under Christ’s banner; to be co-laborers with God’s field, the world.
Evangelism is also a barometer of spiritual vigor because it involves a very pronounced dependence upon the power of God. This proves to be a divider of men for the following reasons. First, it is utterly realistic to affirm that our evangelistic efforts must be accompanied by spiritual power if they are to be effective (1 Cor 2:4). We must sense our dependency upon the Holy Spirit.
Therefore consider that spiritual power is a daunting thing because it cannot be harnessed by ambitious men, nor can it be traced to the strengths of the creature. This can be disturbing to us because it exposes our utter dependence upon God and it is demands that we have high views of God. And that we live by a faith that is self-renouncing (self-renouncing because we look away from self and toward God as our chief resource).
What I call the “toe in the Jordan principle” applies here. Just prior to Israel’s conquest of Canaan, God commanded Israel to enter Palestine by way of crossing the Jordan River at flood stage. Not until the feet of the high priest touched the water did the cresting Jordan River part in order for the armies to cross over.
Now here is the application to evangelism. The believer in the pew takes inventory of his own inadequacy, he thinks about the stubborn pride of the unbeliever. He thinks about the rejection that is targeted at those who preach such a demanding and exclusive worldview as the Gospel. Then he concludes that his own spiritual impotence is no match for the hardened sinner.
The result is that he is apathetic about evangelism. But the “toe in the Jordan principle” is extremely relevant here. Not until we make an attempt to share the Gospel will we sense any power from God in the situation at all. The key is to make the attempt; make the attempt anyway, against all instincts of self preservation against failure – step into the Jordan anyway! We agree with that giant of the Great Awakening George Whitfield who saw so many thousands saved under his preaching, “the Gospel is dead apart from the Holy Spirit.”
It is no exaggeration to say that to embark upon evangelistic efforts with enthusiasm requires that we exercise faith in God’s spiritual power (by spiritual power is meant that God is pleased to bring His power to bear on His message, the Gospel).
A regular “diet” of the Gospel instills in the believer the conviction that the Holy Spirit has already been striving with every sinner (Rom 1:18ff; Acts 7:51). And further, it imbues us with the confidence that God is quite ready to exercise spiritual power when we share the Gospel with the lost.
In this context of spiritual power, one of the problems associated with a lack of evangelism becomes evident – without a steady diet of grace truths, potential workers will not be in the habit of attempting something that requires divine spiritual power (only by the perspective of Divine View Point can we “see” past our own inadequacy).
The word of grace then (the doctrines of grace), are needed in order to instill faith in what God is doing in the world now. He is convicting, calling, quickening, and regenerating sinners by means of the Gospel. By means of His sovereign grace He is glorifying Himself! Thus, the word of grace provides an essential grounding in DVP.
This becomes a key source of our confidence. Are we absolutely convinced that every man bears a relation to God defined by his relation to the Gospel? That he will carry that relationship with him eternally? This is a source of boldness for us. It feeds our desire to march under Christ’s banner, to be co-laborers with God in His field, the world.
By way of review and summary, we feed on the truths of grace for our very spiritual life toward God. The “word of grace” builds us up in order for us to fulfill our high calling. The word of grace gives us God’s perspective of life (DVP). It instills in us kingdom values. We are constantly renewed by the word of grace. It plants in us God’s heart for the world. It emboldens us to radically identify with God’s purposes and to commit ourselves to outreach, believing on Him for the power necessary for the Gospel to actually break hearts of stone.
The Gospel is our divine resource so that we live lives that are supernatural. Living upon the Gospel is the best preparation to preach the Gospel. Through the lens of the Gospel we view the glory of God in Christ, through the lens of the Gospel we view the brethren as fellow heirs, through the lens of the Gospel we view the unsaved world as is desperate need of the treasure we carry (2 Cor 4:7).
ADDENDUM: The following is a suggested book list of titles that provide an excellent explanation of the relationship between justification and sanctification.
Howard Marshall, Gospel Mystery of Sanctification (an awesome book that drives home the fact that our pursuit of holiness can only be advanced by fresh acts of faith in Christ. Related themes deal with the Law, with the necessity of assurance, and the central theme of the relationship between justification and sanctification.)
C. J. Mahaney, The Cross-centered Life (a short devotional style book that shows the relevancy of the cross to all of the Christian life – how we need this theme.)
Paul F. M. Zahl, A Short Systematic Theology (and short it is! 100 pages. The book shows how redemption penetrates to our conscience and motives and relationships, and how the flesh takes a myriad of exits, literally fighting the Spirit’s desire to show us the blood of Christ anew.)
John Owen, Communion with God (abridged) (a heart rejoicing work that encourages the reader to take Christ for righteousness and happiness as a daily activity – and as a result experience communion with God. Excellent on the relevancy of the Gospel for daily Christian living.)
Jerry Bridges, The Discipline of Grace (perhaps the best book out in layman language that shows the connection between the gospel and sanctification.)
David Peterson, Possessed by God (a treasure of a book, it combines condensed critical studies on a par with D. A. Carson, (editor), with devotional applications. This is one of the best books for pastors on the subject of sanctification. Peterson powerfully lays out the relationship between definitive sanctification and holiness of life. The book provides a survey of the N.T. doctrine of sanctification – it is incredibly comprehensive for its length.)
Thomas Hooker, The Poor Doubting Christian Drawn to Christ (this book, like many Puritan works shows that these men were consummate physicians of the soul. The book would greatly enrich any pastor’s ability to counsel with “Christ crucified” as the answer to every problem.)
John Piper, Future Grace (written in order to explain that justifying faith and sanctifying faith have the same object. Piper drives home the fact that faith in God’s “future” grace is a function of understanding the grace of Christ in the Gospel.)
Horatius Bonar, God’s Way of Holiness (a short rewarding work that stresses the role of faith in sanctification – excellent.)
Kenneth Prior, The Way of Holiness (MacArthur’s personal favorite for explaining the relationship between justification and sanctification.)
Richard F. Lovelace, Dynamics of Spiritual Life: An Evangelical Theology of Renewal(Terrific insights on the practical value of justification as it touches the believer’s daily walk and pursuit of holy living.)