The Nature Of Sanctification (2)

1. Sanctification, then, is the invariable result of that vital union with Christ which true faith gives to a Christian. 'He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit' (Joh_15:5). The branch which bears no fruit is no living branch of the vine. The union with Christ which produces no effect on heart and life is a mere formal union, which is worthless before God. The faith which has not a sanctifying influence on the character is no better than the faith of devils. It is a 'dead faith, because it is alone'. It is not the gift of God. It is not the faith of God's elect. In short, where there is no sanctification of life, there is no real faith in Christ. True faith worketh by love. It constrains a man to live unto the Lord from a deep sense of gratitude for redemption. It makes him feel that he can never do too much for Him that died for him. Being much forgiven, he loves much. He whom the blood cleanses walks in the light. He who has real lively hope in Christ purifieth himself even as He is pure (Jam_2:17-20; Tit_1:1; Gal_5:6; 1Jo_1:7; 1Jo_3:3).

2. Sanctification, again, is the outcome and inseparable consequence of regeneration. He that is born again and made a new creature receives a new nature and a new principle and always lives a new life. A regeneration, which a man can have and yet live carelessly in sin or worldliness, is a regeneration invented by uninspired theologians, but never mentioned in Scripture. On the contrary, St John expressly says that 'He that is born of God doth not commit sin', 'doeth righteousness,' 'loveth the brethren,' 'keepeth himself' and overcometh the world' (1Jo_2:29; 1Jo_3:9-14; 1Jo_5:4-18). In a word, where there is no sanctification there is no regeneration and where there is no holy life there is no new birth. This is, no doubt, a hard saying to many minds, but, hard or not, it is simple Bible truth. It is written plainly that he who is born of God is one whose 'seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God' (1Jo_3:9).

3. Sanctification, again, is the only certain evidence of that indwelling of the Holy Spirit which is essential to salvation 'If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His' (Rom_8:9). The Spirit never lies dormant and idle within the soul: He always makes His presence known by the fruit He causes to be borne in heart, character and life. 'The fruit of the Spirit,' says St Paul, 'is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance' and such like (Gal_5:22). Where these things are to be found, there is the Spirit; where these things are wanting, men are dead before God. The Spirit is compared to the wind and, like the wind, He cannot be seen by our bodily eyes. But, just as we know there is a wind by the effect it produces on waves and trees and smoke, so we may know the Spirit is in a man by the effects He produces in the man's conduct. It is nonsense to suppose that we have the Spirit if we do not also 'walk in the Spirit' (Gal_5:25). We may depend on it as a positive certainty that, where there is no holy living, there is no Holy Ghost. The seal that the Spirit stamps on Christ's people is sanctification. As many as are actually 'led by the Spirit of God, they', and they only, 'are the sons of God' (Rom_8:14).

to be continued