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Already Sanctified

A Theology of the Christian Life in Light of God’s Completed Work

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How does the doctrine of sanctification shape the Christian life? This book offers a fully developed treatment of "accomplished" sanctification, showing that sanctification is not a lifelong process of perfecting one's character or attaining spiritual maturity. The primary biblical focus in sanctification is not progressive growth but that which has already occurred for Christians to make growth possible, necessary, and grace-driven. As author Don Payne explores the significance Scripture attributes to the accomplished aspect of sanctification, he helps readers understand that they are already sanctified. Sanctification is not synonymous with transformation but undergirds strategies and resources related to Christian discipleship and formation.

Already Sanctified will be useful to professors and students in courses on the doctrine of sanctification, discipleship, and spiritual formation as well as pastors and church leaders teaching on sanctification.


Part 1: How We Got Where We Are
1. The Sanctification Mutiny
2. New Ventures in Sanctification
Part 2: The Biblical Story Line Revisited
3. A Potent Backstory: Consecration in the Old Testament
4. A Shocking New Story: Sanctification in the New Testament
5. Unexpected Instances of Sanctification
6. Sanctification as Liberated Responsibilities and Compelling Promises
7. Transformation
Part 3: The Doctrinal Profile Reanimated
8. Sanctification as God's Transforming Power
9. Sanctification and the Process of Transformation
10. Accomplished Sanctification in Action


"Few doctrines have floated free from their biblical mooring as completely as the doctrine of sanctification. Payne responds by unveiling the biblical foundation and telos of sanctification, showing how its completed nature in Christ reveals its spiritual depths. This book helps to recover the best insights from the tradition while advancing them with constructive and pastoral sensitivity. Payne's account is profound and important."

Kyle Strobel, associate professor of spiritual theology, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University

"We are to pursue 'the holiness without which no one will see the Lord,' says the Epistle to the Hebrews (12:14). These words about holiness (sanctification) have often driven more fear than strength into the hearts of many Christians. In Already Sanctified, Don Payne revives the importance of the Christian already being a 'saint' (1 Cor 1:30), not to negate present or future growth but to provide its basis. In our age of tremendous and rightful interest in spiritual formation, Payne provides a fresh perspective on a theology of the Christian life in which transformation has a foundation in our union with, identity in, and abiding alongside Christ. This draws a stark contrast with such views of sanctification that end up throwing people back upon themselves with 'moralistic tones,' in 'an overly anthropocentric direction,' and fostering 'spiritual narcissism.' Pastors and laypeople will find this very accessible book provides a fresh perspective that is biblically rich, historically perceptive, and pastorally sensitive. This will be required reading on the Christian life."

Christian D. Kettler, professor of theology and religion, Friends University

"Don Payne's volume, at once theologically erudite and accessible, is an important contribution to practical Christian living today. It carefully and sensitively uncovers some common misunderstandings about the theological concept of sanctification, presents a careful reevaluation of the biblical teaching on the topic, and offers wise, practical steps for Christian transformation and discipleship. A must-read for seminary students and pastors, and highly recommended as a textbook for relevant seminary and undergraduate classes."

Knut M. Heim, professor of Old Testament, Denver Seminary

"Don Payne resides at the intersection of pastoral professor and scholar. This affords him the knack to place top-shelf doctrines within reach, and Already Sanctified is no exception. While the post-Reformation church has given legitimate attention to the doctrine of justification, we may be guilty of treating sanctification as little more than a hopeful by-product of Christian conversion. Conversely, Payne calls us to deliberate on sanctification as an act of grace--bestowed upon us by the same God who justifies. He is not presenting a novel idea; instead, he is boldly highlighting and breathing life into an often-neglected idea. I commend this book to all who desire to know the identity that they inherited from Christ's completed work."

Brandon Washington, The Embassy Church, Denver, Colorado

The Author

  1. Don J. Payne
    Photo credit: Daniel Steiner

    Don J. Payne

    Don J. Payne (PhD, University of Manchester) is associate professor of theology and Christian formation at Denver Seminary in Littleton, Colorado, where he has taught for over twenty years. He previously served as a pastor in Colorado and Tennessee. He has...

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