A Word on Sanctification

Sanctification is by God the Father as to its source. He who in Himself is set apart and separate from evil, is the source of our being set apart from evil to Himself. Thus it is by His blessed will that we are sanctified (Jude 11Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called: (Jude 1); Heb 10:1010By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Hebrews 10:10).) His will is the very spring of our new being. Christ’s work is the ground of our sanctification; it is through His one offering, that we are set apart to be God’s priests, worshipers of Himself (Heb. 10:1010By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Hebrews 10:10)). Christ’s Person is the measure of our sanctification; for He is made unto us sanctification (1 Cor. 1:3030But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: (1 Corinthians 1:30)). He is the Holy Vessel in God’s presence set apart from the world to Himself, and we are sanctified in Him. The Holy Ghost is the power of our sanctification in its application to the man here, so that the whole man (spirit, soul, and body) is practically set apart to God. Peter expresses it,
Elect according to the foreknowledge of God, the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience, and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 1: 2).
Paul says to the Thessalonians,
The very God of peace sanctify you wholly (or entirely to the end), and I pray God that your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless, unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thess. 5:2323And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5:23)).
Lastly, the word is the instrument of our sanctification in this latter aspect, according to our Lord’s own words,
Sanctify them through thy truth. Thy word is truth (John 17)!
This last likewise has a purifying effect on the man; leading him to self-judgment by the light, which the death, resurrection, and glory of Christ bring into him. The heart is purified by faith, the soul likewise, through obedience to the truth; the man is morally changed; besides a new life is imparted, a distinct life from and in connection with Christ in glory, who is God’s gift of eternal life to the believer. He is born of water and of the Spirit; not of water only, nor of the Spirit only, but by water and the Spirit, so that the same person, morally purified, and having new life imparted, lives to God.
This however does not mean that sin is eradicated or purified out of the man. No, my reader, it remains there in all its deformity, as every real Christian having the truth in him will own; but the man, spirit, soul, and body, is morally purified from it, and set apart to God, through the death of Christ morally applied, henceforth to live for His glory. I fear that many of us in combating with error, and finding how little the new man in Christ Jesus is known, have gone to the other extreme, and practically deny (not in word, perhaps), the being born of water, that is the moral purifying of the heart and soul from sin. Sin is confounded with the man, or made the root of his being, instead of realizing that man is God’s creature, and sin is a distinct thing introduced at the fall, and defiling and corrupting all his component parts, spirit, soul, and body, but from which it is God’s will he should be purified and set apart to Himself.
I unhesitatingly deny that sin is the source of man’s being. God is. He formed the spirit of man that is in him. Sin is transmitted from Adam to his descendants, has its seat in the heart, defiling the very spring of man’s being, so that evil thoughts, &c., come forth from thence. He is thus a ruined creature, spirit, soul, and body defiled, guilty for his sins, an enemy of God, and born in sin; but justified, reconciled, and delivered the moment he believes in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. He is also without strength to deliver himself, even when purification and sanctification have begun in his soul, as the end of Rom. 7 shows us. He would do good, but evil is present with him, he delights in the law of God after the inward man; with the mind, he serves the law of God. Thus the will, mind, and inner man are on the right side, but sin and the flesh on the other side are too strong. This brings out the cry, Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? and he finds the answer in God, through Christ outside of himself.
Thus sanctification by the Spirit is the moral setting apart of the man to God from sin and the flesh, which still remains in him. Sin cannot be eradicated or purified, nor the flesh, but the man morally is purified as to his heart, mind, will, soul, and inner man, and set apart to God. The body, even though in its present condition unfit for heaven, is God’s set apart vessel, as indwelt by His Spirit to be used in His service.
In this sense sanctification, and with it washing by the word, as to regeneration, come before justification and sprinkling by blood. (See 1 Cor. 6:1111And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:11); 1 Pet. 1:22Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. (1 Peter 1:2).) The latter are only received on the reception of the gospel. The ancient priests, under the law, as to the type, were first washed with water, then sprinkled with blood, and anointed with oil. So in Cornelius’s case, the first Gentile convert to Christianity, we have all the fruits of the new birth manifested at the beginning of chapter 10, but it was not till Peter had preached the gospel to him, and it was received by faith, that he got the remission of sins, and in consequence got the Holy Ghost. (See same chapter to the end).
May the Lord bless these few thoughts to my reader, and use them to minister increased clearness in our way of putting forth the truth.
I would note that sin is always looked at as a distinct thing from the man, in Rom. 5, 6, 7 whether in his unconverted or new born state. The washing of the word of life flows to us out of Christ’s death on the cross, as the blood also.
Things New and Old, vol. –, pp. 39-43.