In the latest volume of the, superb, Confessional Presbyterian Journal, Richard B. Gaffin Jr. reviews Cornelius P. Venema's revised/updated doctoral dissertation Accepted and Renewed in Christ. The "Twofold Grace of God" and the Interpretation of Calvin's Theology. On the whole, Gaffin commends the work as an aid to better understanding Calvin. Yet he has some quibbles.
One of his concerns is that Venema is "not entirely clear" (p270) whether Calvin considers "justification to be the cause of sanctification". (p270) Then Gaffin offers the following quote from Calvin's institutes:
Christ was given to us by God's generosity, to be grasped and possessed by us in faith. By partaking of him, we principally receive a double grace: namely, that being reconciled to God through Christ's blamelessness, we may have in heaven instead of a Judge a gracious Father; and secondly, that sanctified by his Spirit we may cultivate blamelessness and purity of life. (Battles translation, 1:725 - quoted p271)Gaffin notes that in this quote, not only reconciliation (here equivalent to justification) but also sanctification is definitive and settled. While Calvin no doubt regularly treats sanctification (regeneration) as an on-going, life-long process in the believer, here it appears to be otherwise. (p271)
Interesting stuff. Did Calvin articulate "definitive sanctification" before John Murray coined the phrase? Gaffin's argument seems to carry some weight.
Tomorrow I'll post some stuff on justification and union with Christ from the Gaffin review.