Sir: Dr Allan Clifford (Issue 7780) wants a New Reformation, built on his own mixture of Amyraldism, legal, fictive justification and works-righteousness, arguing that the old Biblical Reformation was wrong. I am suspicious of Clifford’s lip-rejection of Rome and denounce his false Protestantism. Clifford’s atonement is not the Biblical-Reformed doctrine on which our reconciliation, redemption, justification and sanctification are built. The Bride for whom Christ died is redeemed, justified and sanctified in one synergistic action, impossible to be divided. The corollary to Clifford’s Hyper-Amyraldian idea of atonement is thus his faulty view of justification and sanctification. Clifford rejects our Reformers’ doctrine of justification with its causative meaning ‘to make just’. He then takes only one of numerous Biblical words for justification, ‘dikaioo’, and limits its blessed, multiple meanings to a mere ‘declare righteous’, concluding that God does not actually make men just and perfect. He thereby also discredits our French Reformers’ ‘justifier’, German Reformers’ ‘rechtfertigen, or rechtfertig machen’ (note double emphasis on the causative ‘make’), Swedish Reformers’ ‘rättfärdiggörelse’ (a making righteous) and Netherlands’ Reformer’s ‘rechtvaardig maken’ (to make righteous). Bauer, Liddel/Scott, Thayer, Hatch/Redpath, Muller, Gemoll, Wigram and Cremer teach in their entries on dikaioo, that through participation in Christ’s righteousness, we are made and declared just, vindicated, verified, made pure, made good, cleansed, done justice to, redeemed and our sin is removed. ‘Dikaioo’ never means a mere bare declaration.

     But what of the O. T.? True, the term tzahdak in its Kal form may indicate a state of righteousness without indicating the cause of it, but even Job’s cry, ‘How then can man be justified?’ (Job 40:8.) points to a desire in Job’s heart to be actually made righteous by his Redeemer. However tzahdak in its passive Niphal form is strongly causative, cf. Daniel 8:14 ‘then shall the sanctuary be cleansed’. The Piel, Pual, Hithpael and other moods of intense action used as in the negative case of backsliding Israel attempting to justify herself (Jeremiah 3:11) and the positive case of Daniel 12:3 are also strongly causative. Paul preached ‘For as one man’s disobedience many were MADE sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be MADE righteousness” (Romans 5:19). We preach the gospel fact that in justifying sinful men, God makes them new creatures. He does not leave them with an empty ‘declared’ justification to be filled by vain efforts to follow a Greek-style minimum Neonomian moral law, falsely called ‘sanctification’ which will be the theme of my next letter.



Sanctification Inseparable from Justification


     Sir:   Our Reformers derived their doctrines of election, predestination, regeneration, justification and sanctification from being placed in Christ in Eternity.  This synergism does not occur through man doing His best and God doing His best, but God doing ALL. Conversion is being turned around by God from sin, self and Satan through Christ. Sanctification is the active outworking and consequence of this. Redemption is God’s choice of persons to justification, sanctification and holiness. No one can have evidence of election without witnessing this one, great, momentous miracle. Sanctification cannot be gained through legal motives: ‘When ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.’1 The law cannot sanctify but merely condemns. We have a far better hope for our sanctification (Heb. 7:19). Sanctification is not putting ourselves under a Neonomian ‘moral’ code as an easier substitute for the Mosaic Law. Law never sanctifies sinners. Those who preach ‘Moral Law’ as the way to sanctification neither follow Moses, nor Christ. Sanctification means a life dependant on the entire Word of God. Thus Christ prays to the Father on our behalf saying, ‘Sanctify thy people through Thy truth, whose Word is truth (John 17:17). Efforts at moral law obedience by sinners is not mortification of sin. Mortification comes with the unmerited kindness shown to us by the Saviour. The spiritual light communicated in regeneration, reveals the exceedingly sinfulness of sin, and the gives us grace to repent, discern spiritual things and pursue them. Sanctification arises through our union with Christ, desiring a conformity to Him and submission to all His graces. The Spirit quickens the saints, infusing them with new life and gives them a new heart and a new spirit.

     Sanctification, therefore, means living according to the full gospel teaching of the Triune God, feeding on Christ the Bread of Life, knowing that ‘God (the Father) hath from the Beginning chosen us (in Christ, the Son) to Salvation, through Sanctification of the Spirit’ (2 Thess. 2:13). That Dr Clifford will not accept this Trinitarian work in salvation is shown by his god of contradictory wills. Those who follow Clifford’s debate with fellow Anti-Trinitarian David Gay notice that their problem is ‘Which of their god’s will did Christ die under?’ May God save us from such confused false teaching concerning He who justifiably sanctifies!



  1. Luke 17:10.