Bavinck On The Old And New Man

True, we speak of an old and a new man in the believer, and so we give expression to the fact that in the new life the whole man has in principle been changed, and that nevertheless the power of sin continues to dwell in all his faculties and members. But actually what it is is that there are two groups of interests, ideas, inclinations, and the like, which do battle against each other and of which neither the one nor the other has been able to gain the full control of any single human faculty. If the truth of God had completely taken over and conquered the consciousness of the believer, there would naturally be no room left for error and falsehood; and if the love of God had wholly filled the heart, there would be no room for hatred, envy, wrath and the like. But that, as every one knows from his experience, is not the case; and Scripture testifies that we cannot look forward to such a perfect condition in this life. The struggle will remain until the end because the faith, the hope, the love, and all the Christian virtues will never be perfected in this life and therefore room remains in our soul for unbelief, doubt, discouragement, fear, and the like.

Herman Bavinck | Our Reasonable Faith, trans. Henry Zylstra (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2016), 476–477. (HT: Tony Phelps)


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  • Tony Phelps
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    Tony grew up in Rhode Island. He was educated at BA (University of Rhode Island) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He worked in the insurance industry for ten years. He planted a PCA church in Wakefield, RI where he served for eleven years. In 2015–18 he pastored Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) in Colorado Springs. He is currently pastor of Living Hope (OPC). Tony is married to Donna and together they have three children.

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  1. The imperfection of sanctification in believers arises from the remnants of sin abiding in every part of them, and the perpetual lustings of the flesh against the spirit; whereby they are often foiled with temptations, and fall into many sins, are hindered in all their spiritual services, and their best works are imperfect and defiled in the sight of God.”
    W L C – 78

  2. Amen. This is the Reformed and biblical view of sanctification! We are not Methodists!

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