The Nature Of Sanctification (1)

In the first place, we have to consider the nature of sanctification. What does the Bible mean when it speaks of a 'sanctified' man?

Sanctification is that inward spiritual work which the Lord Jesus Christ works in a man by the Holy Ghost, when He calls him to be a true believer. He not only washes him from his sins in His own blood, but He also separates him from his natural love of sin and the world, puts a new principle in his heart and makes him practically godly in life. The instrument by which the Spirit effects this work is generally the Word of God, though He sometimes uses afflictions and providential visitations 'without the Word' (1Pe_3:1). The subject of this work of Christ by His Spirit is called in Scripture a 'sanctified' man. ‹1›

He, who supposes that Jesus Christ only lived and died and rose again in order to provide justification and forgiveness of sins for His people, has yet much to learn. Whether he knows it or not, he is dishonouring our blessed Lord and making Him only a half Saviour. The Lord Jesus has undertaken everything that His people's souls require: not only to deliver them from the guilt of their sins by His atoning death, but from the dominion of their sins, by placing in their hearts the Holy Spirit; not only to justify them, but also to sanctify them. He is, thus, not only their 'righteousness', but their 'sanctification' (1Co_1:30). Let us hear what the Bible says: 'For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also might be sanctified.' 'Christ loved the church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it'. 'Christ gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.' 'Christ bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness.' Christ 'hath ... reconciled [you] in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight' (Joh_17:19; Eph_5:25, Eph_5:26; Tit_2:14; 1Pe_2:24; Col_1:22). Let the meaning of these five texts be carefully considered. If words mean anything, they teach that Christ undertakes the sanctification, no less than the justification, of His believing people. Both are alike provided for in that 'everlasting covenant ordered in all things and sure', of which the Mediator is Christ. In fact, Christ in one place is called 'He that sanctifieth', and His people 'they who are sanctified' (Heb_2:11).

The subject before us is of such deep and vast importance that it requires fencing, guarding, clearing up and marking out on every side. A doctrine which is needful to salvation can never be too sharply developed or brought too fully into light. To clear away the confusion between doctrines and doctrines, which is so unhappily common among Christians, and to map out the precise relation between truths and truths in religion is one way to attain accuracy in our theology. I shall therefore not hesitate to lay before my readers a series of connected propositions or statements, drawn from Scripture, which I think will be found useful in defining the exact nature of sanctification.

to be continued