Just got this note from the assistant editor of the forthcoming Gerhard volume On Justification, part of the English translation of his Theological Commonplaces being produced by CPH. A straight forward and much needed statement of the difference between justification and sanctification, or as Gerhard has it here, between regeneration and renewal. When this volume hits the shelves in 2018 it will be a must to own it!
Regeneration properly so called, which includes the remission of sins, the imputation of Christ’s righteousness, passing from the state of wrath to the state of grace, the adoption of sons, and the right of eternal life, does not admit degrees as does actual carnal generation. But renewal does admit degrees, because the inner man is renewed from day to day (2 Cor. 4:16); and the renewed are commanded to be renewed in the spirit of their mind (Eph. 4:23) and to perfect their sanctification (2 Cor. 7:1).
(5) For the remission of sins is one thing. It is the work of God alone and does not admit degrees. Therefore it happens perfectly in justification. The mortification of sin is another thing. It is not absolutely the work of God alone but is partly ours as well to the extent that the reborn, gifted as they are with new powers from the Holy Spirit, are co-workers with God in the mortification of sin. This mortification does admit degrees, for some reborn mortify sin more and some less; in fact the same reborn people at different times mortify sin more and less. This mortification and renewal is not completed in a moment but has its own grades and increments. “The inner man is renewed from day to day,” (2 Cor. 4:16).
If you are interested in obtaining such treasure for yourself or your pastor, go to Concordia Publishing House for their existing volumes.