How Does Sanctification Work?
by David Powlison

Sanctification, one of the doctrines in the church that is referenced the most, but maybe, when the rubber hits the road, is the least understood. All Christians would agree that they have areas of their life that do not look like Jesus. All Christians would agree that they need to grow in sanctification, but how does sanctification work? How do I change? How do I become more like Jesus?

There are a plethora of books available to us with “helpful tips” on how we may become more like Christ. Some of these books have helpful elements, but many of them are reductionistic, reducing sanctification to one secret key to unlocking the door of holiness (i.e. one doctrinal truth, one life change, one verse etc.)

Scripture never promises us that sanctification will be easy or quick. Scripture does show us that in the sanctification process there are key elements always involved: God’s Word, God’s people, God doing his work in you and suffering and struggle. These things all work together to bring about change in a person’s life.

This is what David Powlison’s book, How Does Sanctification Work? sets out to do. He wants us to have a bigger understanding of sanctification, an understanding that does not reduce sanctification to a few catch phrases. Powlison says, “No single factor, no one truth, no protocol can capture how and why a person grows into Christ’s image. Multiple factors always cooperate in progressive sanctification.”

This book is not the magic key to your sanctification, but it will help you to understand more of how sanctification works, and as you understand sanctification more clearly, you will grow more in love with our wise God and his designs and you will grow more and more into the image of Jesus.

Reviewed by Graham Parker

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