The next point at issue here is whether the SJC was wrong in attributing to TE Leithart confusion of justification and sanctification. TE Rayburn argues that TE Leithart is not doing this, but is merely positing a joining of justification and definitive sanctification. Definitive sanctification here is defined by John Murray. TE Rayburn’s point is that TE Leithart was not confusing progressive sanctification and justification, but was merely seeking to combine definitive sanctification and justification under one act. That TE Leithart does the latter can hardly be denied. It is his explicit program in his article “Judge Me, O God” in The Federal Vision. On this article, see my critique of TE Leithart here. With regard to the SJC’s point, one could definitely wish that the distinction between the two aspects of sanctification had been clarified a bit more in their critique. However, the SJC’s point is still valid, when one digs a little deeper.
The first point to realize here is that John Murray, in his explication of definitive sanctification, did not consider it as completely separated from progressive sanctification. Note that he says, “It would be, therefore, a deflection from biblical patterns of language and conception to think of sanctification exclusively in terms of a progressive work.” This indicates that under the rubric of sanctification, one can consider two aspects: definitive and progressive. In fact, as WTS professors typically formulate it, the definitive and progressive aspects of sanctification can be analogous to the already/not yet aspects of salvation that one finds elsewhere in the ordo salutis. Definitive is already, progressive is not yet. The point here is that definitive and progressive cannot be so easily severed. And they would have to be severed completely for there to be no confusion on the issue of justification and sanctification. One may simply ask this question: on what biblical basis would TE Leithart and/or TE Rayburn yank definitive sanctification away from its organically connected progressive other half? Presumably, TE’s Rayburn and Leithart both would agree that progressive sanctification cannot be included under the rubric of justification, which is explicitly Rome’s position. But on what basis can one exclude progressive sanctification from justification if one has already included definitive sanctification?
The second point to realize here is that John Murray never included definitive sanctification under the rubric of justification. The language of “justified from sin” was not speaking at all about justification, according to Murray. He did not argue as TE Leithart does, in other words. As I argued in response to Leithart, and as the WTJ also noted (70.1, Spring 2008, pp. 105-110), you cannot simply add up all the occurrences of the word “justification” and say that the doctrine of justification has to include all the uses of that word. It is odd here, because I feel like I’m arguing like the FV does. It is usually the FV who is claiming that words are used in a broader sense in Scripture than they are in the confessions. Here, TE Leithart is arguing the reverse: according to him, our doctrine of justification has to account for all the uses of the word “justify” in Scripture.