12 May 2011

Sanctification VII: It's Procurer

The Doctrine of SanctificationWe have now reached what is to our mind the most important and certainly the most blessed aspect of our many-sided subject, yet that which is the least understood in not a few circles of Christendom. It is the objective side of sanctification that we now turn to, that perfect and unforfeitable holiness which every believer has in Christ. We are not now going to write upon sanctification as a moral quality or attribute, nor of that which is a matter of experience or attainment by us; rather shall we contemplate something entirely outside ourselves, namely, that which is a fundamental part of our standing and state in Christ. That which we are about to consider is one of those ‘spiritual blessings’ which God has blest us with ‘in the heavenlies in Christ’ (Eph. 1:3). It is an immediate consequence of His blood-shedding, and results from our actual union with Him as ‘the Holy One of God.’ It is that which His perfect offering has sanctified us unto, as well as what it has sanctified us from.

Among all the terrible effects and fruits which sin produces, the two chief are alienation from God and condemnation by God: sin necessarily excludes from His sanctuary, and brings the sinner before the judgment seat of His law. Contrariwise, among all the blessed fruits and effects which Christ's sacrifice procures, the two chief ones are justification and sanctification: it cannot be otherwise. Inasmuch as Christ's sacrifice has ‘put away’ (Heb. 9:26), ‘made an end’ (Dan. 9:24) of the sins of His people, they are not only freed from all condemnation, but they are also given the right and the meetness to draw nigh unto God as purged worshippers. Sin not only entails guilt, it defiles; and the blood of Christ has not only secured pardon, it cleanses. Yet simple, clear, and conclusive as is this dual fact, Christians find it much harder to apprehend the second part of it than they do the first.

...By the redemptive work of Christ the entire Church has been set apart, consecrated unto and accepted by God. The grand truth is that the feeblest and most uninstructed believer was as completely sanctified before God the first moment that he trusted in Christ, as he will be when he dwells in Heaven in his glorified state. True, both his sphere and his circumstances will then be quite different from what they now are: nevertheless, his title to Heaven, his meetness for the immediate presence of the thrice Holy One, will be no better then than it is to-day. It is his relation to Christ (and that alone) which qualifies him to enter the Father's House; and it is his relation to Christ (and that alone) which gives him the right to now draw nigh within the veil. True, the believer still carries around with him ‘this body of death’ (a depraved nature), but that affects not his perfect standing, his completeness in Christ, his acceptance, his justification and sanctification before God. But, as we said in an earlier paragraph, the Christian finds it much easier to believe in or grasp the truth of justification, than he does of his present perfect sanctification in Christ. For this reason we deem it advisable to proceed slowly and enter rather fully into this aspect of our subject. Let us begin with our Lord's own words in John 17:19, ‘For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.’ Unto what did Christ allude when He there spoke of sanctifying Himself?

...God has made Christ to be sanctification unto us by imputing to us the infinite purity and excellency of His sacrifice. We are made nigh to God by Christ's blood (Eph. 2:13) before we are brought nigh to Him by the effectual call of the Spirit (1 Pet. 2:9): the former being the necessary foundation of the latter—in the types the oil could only be placed upon the blood. And it is on this account we ‘are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called saints’ (1 Cor. 1:2). How vastly different is this—how immeasurably superior to—what the advocates of ‘the higher life’ or the ‘victorious life’ set before their hearers and readers! It is not merely that Christ is able to do this or willing to do that for us, but every Christian is already ‘sanctified in Christ Jesus.’ My ignorance of this does not alter the blessed fact, and neither does my failure to clearly understand nor the weakness of my faith to firmly grasp it, in anywise impair it. Nor have my feelings or experience anything whatever to do with it: God says it, God has done it, and nothing can alter it. - From The Doctrine of Sanctification by A.W. Pink.

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