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“ By the which will we are sanctified, through the offering of
the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”—HEB. X. 10.
III. UNDER the third general head, it is proposed to speak of actual sanctification. By actual sanctification we are to understand, our being enabled more and more to die to sin, and live to righteousness. This differs from the former considerably : the former respects only the habit, the latter the exercise of grace: the former consists in the gradual renovation of the nature, the latter in the renewal of the life : the former makes one resemble Christ in his human nature, the latter in his death and resurrection. What I intend to offer on this part of the subject shall be said in answer to the following queries : First, What are the parts of actual sanctification ? Second, Whence does it spring? Third, By whose energy is it more immediately performed ? And, Fourth, In what manner is it accomplished ?
First, Should any ask, What are the parts of actual sanctification ? I answer, They are these two-dying to sin, and living to righteousness.-All who are sanctified are dead to sin. “ How shall we that are dead to sin live any longer therein ?” Rom. vi. 2. To die to sin, is to put off the body of sin, or the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts. As in natural death the soul puts off the diseased body, and leaves it behind, so in dying to sin, the believer puts off the body of the sins of the flesh, that old man which is corrupt. Sin dies to the believer, and he dies to sin. The dead body is not a fit habitation for the soul ; nor can the soul operate upon it. In like manner, true believers are dead to sin : it cannot live or exert itself in them, as formerly. Dying to sin is the same as the mortification of sin. Now, to mortify the body of sin is to abhor it as the most execrable object, and to resist and suppress its motions, so as to prevent them from reviving. As the natural body consists of various members, so the body of sin includes several depraved habits, thoughts, purposes, and propensities, as its members. To mortify this body of sin, is to subdue it in all its members, not only by resisting and suppressing their motions, but by refusing to yield to them, and by withholding provision from them. Hence are these exhortations, Mortify, therefore, your members which are upon the earth :" “ If ye, through the Spirit, do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live :” “ Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh.” “ Make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof." The other part of actual sanctification, is living to righteousness. To live unto righteousness is more than to be quickened: it is to come forth, as it were, out of the grave, and walk in newness of life. It is to walk in newness of life, or to perform acts of new obedience, from principles of faith and love. It is to serve the Lord in newness of spirit ; in exercising the graces of the Holy Spirit, in performing duty from a spiritual principle, to a spiritual end, and by a spiritual rule. One who lives thus to righteousness, obeys the commands of the law as a rule, not so much because it is his will, as because it is the will of his redeeming God. This will he regards both as the rule and the reason of his obedience. He believes the doctrines of grace to be true, not merely because his reason suggests their truth, but because God who cannot lie hath testified that they are true.
Second, Should one inquire, Whence do the believer's dying to sin and living to righteousness arise? I would reply, They arise from his having communion with Jesus Christ in his death and resurrection; or from the virtue that his death and resurrection have to render his
mystical members conformable to him in them. “If we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.” “ That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death,” Phil. iii. 10. The death and resurrection of Christ have this transforming power, because when he died and rose again, he did so as the representative of his people, and thereby merited for them this conformity to himself. And indeed, it was most reasonable that, seeing there was virtue in the sin and death of the first man, conforming all his natural posterity to him in each of them, there should be efficacy in the death and resurrection of the second
man, conforming his spiritual seed to him, in their dying to sin and rising again to newness of life. “ As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy ; and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.” No sooner has a believing sinner actual communion with Him, who by dying for sinners died to sin, than he begins actual. ly to die to sin, in conformity to him, and by virtue derived from his death. As Christ died by being crucified ; so the believer dies to sin, by having the old man crucified with him. They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts,” Gal. v. 24. When Christ was crucified, he continued on the cross till he died : in like manner, when the body of sin is, by virtue of the believer's fellowship with him in his death, nailed, as it were to his cross, it will not come down, but languish and struggle until it be destroyed. “ Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin, Rom. vi. 6. Indwelling sin, believer, may disturb and frighten you ; but it shall not be suffered to hurt you : it may struggle violently; but as it is fixed to the cross, it shall not be able to mount up to the throne of your heart. Again, no sooner has the believing sinner communion with Christ in his resurrection, than he derives virtue from it, enabling him to
rise from the death of sin, to a new kind of life: we have been planted in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.” As the Lord Jesus, in his resurrection, rose to a new manner of life in human nature, a life that shall never end, so, in actual sanctification, the Christian rises to newness of life, a new manner of life, which he shall enjoy in full perfection, for ever and ever.
Third, Should any inquire, by whose power or energy is it that believers die to sin and live to righteousness ? I would reply, It is not by the power of the grace already received, far less is it by natural ability ; but it is by the power of the Spirit of grace. One may have habitual sanctification, or the habits of grace, and yet not be able actually to die to sin, and live to righteousness, 2 Cor. iii. 5. It is not grace in the heart, but grace in the promise ; not grace already imparted, but grace to be communicated, that enables the believer to die to sin and live to righteousness. Habitual grace is not suffi. cient here; actual influences must be afforded, else no acceptable obedience can be performed. Strength for actual exercise and spiritual performance consists not in being strong in the grace that is already in the soul, but in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, Rom. viii. 13.
Lastly, If any ask, In what manner does the Spirit of grace enable the believer to die to sin and live to righteousness? I would reply, He enables him to do it
gradually. “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength." “They go from strength to strength :" “ The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” The Holy Spirit enables him to die to sin, more and more. “ He drives out his spiritual enemies before him by little and little.” He gives him victory at one time over carnal security, at another over a self-righteous spirit, at another over unbelief, at another over earthly mindedness, and at another over some strong and sore temptation. He enables them not only to gain one victory after another, but to pursue the victory. Besides, he enables them to exer
cise one spiritual grace at one time, and another, at another time. He not only furnishes opportunities for the exercise of grace, but he strengthens grace, and causes the Christian to exercise it more vigorously, till by renewed communications, and repeated exercise, it arrives at a perfect man, at the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.
IV. According to the fourth general head, I was to point out the difference between sanctification and justification. The inattention of some exercised Christians to this, is a ground, not only of much confusion in their spiritual exercise, but of great discouragement and perplexing fear.
Now, in the 1st place, sanctification differs from justification in this, that whereas the latter constitutes a relative, this produces a real change.--Justification is a relative change, a change in relation to the law in its threatenings, to the gospel in its promises, and to God in his justice, faithfulness, and eternal enjoyment; but sanctification is a real change of the whole man, soul and body. That is a change of state in relation to him ; this, a change of heart and of life: “A new heart will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you." 2d, Sanctification differs from justification in its matter.
The matter of sanctification is the fulness of Christ communicated; whereas the matter or ground of justification is the righteousness of Christ imputed. The one is put within the believer; the other is put upon him. “Even the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all who believe." In sanctification
in the man Christ, grace in our heart, answering to grace in him ; but in justification, we have a righteousness, answering to all the requirements of the law as a covenant.
3d, The one differs from the other in their subjects. The person
of Christ is the subject of our justifying righteousness; but the person of the believer is the subject of the righteousness of sanctification.