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to remember that he is not his own, but is bought with a price, even with the precious blood of his redeeming God, of Christ, his elder brother; that his bosom is a temple of the Holy Ghost, which must not be polluted by the indulgence of the lusts of the flesh, or of any base, defiling, or unhallowed affections or desires; to remember that, whenever assailed by temptation, he must say with Joseph, “how can I do this great wickedness and sin against God!” to remember, in fine, that he is one with Christ; that angels are his fellow servants now, and are to be his companions in heaven; that heaven is his home, and therefore that he should constantly live above the world, and be little affected by its flatteries or its frowns. So living, he who has received the privilege of adoption will “ walk worthy of God, who hath called him unto his kingdom and glory." Amen.
WHAT IS SANCTIFICATION?
We are now to consider the important subject of SANCTIFICATION. “Sanctification,' says the Catechism, “is the work of God's free grace; whereby we are renewed in the whole man, after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and to live unto righteousness.'
You are aware that the word sanctification denotes our being rendered holy, or free from sin. It is called a work, because it is not, like an act, completed at once; but is continued, progressively, through the whole of life. It is called a work of God's free grace, because God is the agent by whom it is performed, and his free grace is displayed in effecting it; inasmuch as there is not an individual who is the subject of it, but might have been justly left to perish in his sin and pollution.
It is the special and official work of the Spirit of God, to sanctify the human soul. We are chosen to salvation, “through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth.” Truth, God's revealed truth, is the instrument made use of, and the means employed are numerous and various; but the great agent who uses them all is the Holy Spirit, without whom they never would, or could, produce the intended effect; and therefore sanctification is strictly and properly his work.
At the time of the Protestant reformation, and for some time afterwards, the reformers took great and laudable pains, to show clearly the difference between justification and sanctification, which had been wretchedly confounded in the dark ages which preceded. But these two things are, to this day, extremely apt to be taken the one for the other, at least in part; and there is scarcely any thing that has a more
pernicious influence in preventing a clear and consistent view of the gospel plan of salvation. Indeed the immediate practical influence of confounding justification and sanctification, is often not a little injurious. Fisher in his. Catechism, has, I think, well and clearly illustrated the difference between these two graces. I will state what he says, with a few changes of terms, and some abbreviations and additions; and I beg your particular attention to the statement.
The matter of justification is the righteousness of Christ; but the matter of sanctification is grace imparted from the fulness of Christ. “Of his fulness have we all received, and grace for grace.” Justification changes a man's state in relation to God; sanctification changes his own personal state, changes his heart and his life. Justification is effected by the imputation of Christ's righteousness to us; sanctification by the implantation of his grace in us. Justification is complete and perfect at first; but sanctification is carried on gradually, from less to more, till the soul be ripe for glory. The righteousness of justification is strictly and properly meritorious, being the righteousness of God, whereby the law is not only fufilled but magnified; but the righteousness of sanctification is not meritorious, being only the righteousness of a sinful creature, imperfect in degree. Justification is equal in all believers; but all believers are very far from being equally sanctified. Sanctification is implanted in the believer as a new nature; whereas his justifying righteousness is not in him as a nature, but on him as a robe, and hence it is said to be 66
UPON all them that believe." Justification has relation to the law as a covenant, and frees the soul from it; sanctification respects the law as a rule, and makes the soul breathe after conformity to it, and to delight in it after the inward man. Hence justification is a judicial sentence, absolving us froin the condemnation of the law; but sanctification is a spiritual change, fitting and disposing us to obey the law. Justification springs from, and is grounded on, the priestly office of Christ, whereby he satisfied law and justice as our surety; but sanctification proceeds from the kingly office of Christ, whereby he subdues us to a sweet obedience to himself, and writes his law in our hearts. Justification gives a title to heaven and eternal life; sanctification gives a meetness for it. Justification is God's act, pronouncing our persons righteous in Christ, and taking away the guilt of sin; sanctification is the Spirit's work, cleansing our nature and taking away the filth of sin: by the former we are instated into the favour of God, and by the latter we are adorned with his image, and made to bear a measure of his likeness.
So much for the difference between justification and sanctification.
You will recollect that, in speaking on the subject of effectual calling, I described the great work of regeneration which is wrought in the human soul, by the Holy Spirit. Perhaps you can hardly have a better general idea of sanctification, than by saying, that it is that work carried on to perfection, by the same almighty agent. Among the many false notions in regard to religion which obtain among those who pay a degree of attention to it, you will sometimes find this; not perhaps openly avowed, or systematically defended, but yet practically influential; that regeneration completes the work of religion in the soul. No, my young friends, it only begins the work. Regeneration is indeed essential. It is connected with justification and Christian perseverance. It may well, therefore, be matter of joy, and be highly esteemed. Yet in itself, it is only the commencement of true piety. As regeneration means a new birth, it is not proper to say that it must be repeated or increased. But it is proper to say, that every saint who continues in life, must be renewed more than he is in regeneration. He is then only born into the kingdom of grace; and as, in a natural sense, an infant must not only be born, but also grow and increase till he becomes a man; so, in a spiritual sense, he that is born again, must grow and increase much, before he reaches the measure of the stature of a perfect man in Jesus Christ. This growth is sanctification. It is an increasing renovation, a growing conversion and conformity of the soul to God. “ We are renewed (says the Catechism) after the image of God.” As sanctification increases, that moral image of our Maker which was lost or obliterated by the fall, is retraced, and progressively restored to the sanctified soul. As it becomes more holy, it of course becomes more like God, till, in the article of death, the saint becomes perfectly sanctified, or in his measure “ holy as God is holy." The answer before us states, that the saint is 66
renewed in the whole man.” Our bodies, strictly speaking, are not capable of holiness. Yet they may be the instruments either of a holy or a sinful mind; and as the mind is sanctified, all the members of the body become the instruments of holy mental acts. They are, like the vessels of the ancient sanctuary, appropriated to holy purposes, and therefore considered as holy in themselves. Hence the apostolic injunction, “ yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness ;” and elsewhere he says, “I pray
your whole spirit, and soul, and body, be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”. Thus are saints renewed in the whole man; every faculty is sanctified, and yet, in each, this sanctification is imperfect till death.
Agreeably to the statement in the answer before us, the work of sanctification is carried on in two ways; by our dying unto sin; and by our living unto right
And you will observe that in reference to both of these, we must be constantly enabled by divine aid. We can never form such habits of holiness, or make such attainments in it, as to be independent of constant assistance from the Spirit of grace. After the greatest progress in sanctification, the saint is not sufficient of himself for any good thought or act. He incessantly depends on grace, to be imparted for the discharge of every duty; depends on it as the streams depend on the fountain.