Calvin's theology of holiness : a study of the close connection between Calvin's doctrine of sanctification and Christian social ethics, and its implications for his view of reform in Geneva
1. The triune God is the primary and divine cause of sanctification and Christian social ethics. Concretely speaking, God the Father is the final and efficient cause, God the Son is the material cause, and God the Holy Spirit is the instrumental cause for sanctification and Christian social ethics. Humankind is not exempted from its duty and responsibility for, but participates in sanctification and Christian social ethics subordinately. So Calvin called humankind the secondary and subordinate cause of sanctification and Christian social ethics. 2. Sanctification is a long process in which a Christian should steadily grow to conform to the perfect image of Christ through his/her lifetime. It is the basic foundation and main principle for the practice of Christian social ethics. Sanctification is accomplished in a believer's personal and lively relationship with the triune God. Sanctification is aided by the instruction of the moral law as the divine law. The law is also the foundation stone, norm, and guide for the realization of Christian social ethics. Especially the third use of the law is important to fulfil sanctification and to practice Christian social ethics alongside of the grace of the triune God. 3. Christian social ethics is the concrete and real application of sanctification according to the divine law in the religious, socio-political, and socio-economical dimensions within the world. The ethics of faith connected with religious life is related to the application of sanctification according to the divine will in the religious dimension. The ethics of politics is conjunct with the application of sanctification according to the divine will in the socio-political dimension. Finally, the ethics of economics is connected with the application of sanctification according to the divine will in the socio-economical dimension. In these three different dimension, man as the subordinate, but material agent of Christian ethics is always in the primary-subordinate relationship with the triune God. Thus, Christian social ethics cannot be understood separately from sanctification, but are properly understood through their reciprocally unifying relation. Through the unifying coherence of sanctification and Christian social ethics, Calvin was finally able to succeed in the Genevan Reformation.