More Resources on Soteriology: The Biblical Doctrine of Salvation

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Part 1     Part 2     Part 3

IV. A Concluding Exhortation

1.) One who is crucified dies, and one who is spiritually alive grows. 2 Corinthians 3:18—“we all.” All believers get this.

Sanctification is certain, Romans 6:14-so fight confidently and in faith against sin, 6:10-13—God has promised you victory!

How highly believers ought to value and strive after holiness!

We should labor after holiness, to go quite out of ourselves, and all creatures, and go wholly as it were unto God, making him the ground, measure, and end of all our actions, striving above all things to know him, esteem him and set all our powers upon him. This is the felicity of the creature, to be holy as God is holy; this is the felicity of the Saints in Heaven, they care for nothing but God, are wholly and altogether carried to him and filled with him. He is all in all unto them, as he is all in all unto himself. In being thus carried to him, they are united to him and enjoy him and are blessed.[1]

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Since believers are sanctified through the Word of God, how highly they ought to esteem that Word! In the words of Wilhelmus á Brakel:

The Word of God is necessary and profitable not only for beginners and little ones but also for the most advanced and spiritual believers here upon earth. . . . This is evident from the following:

First, it is the only means instituted by God to faith and conversion. Without the Word none shall believe. “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:14, 17). Apart from the Word no one can be regenerated. “Of His own will begat He us with the Word of truth” (James 1:18); “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (1 Peter 1:23).

Secondly, the Word of God is the food which nurtures the spiritual life of the converted: “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2). Since many persons use the Word so infrequently, they are in darkness, unsteady, tossed to and fro by all winds of doctrine, live in sorrow, suffer from weak faith, and experience the hiding of God’s countenance.

Thirdly, the Word of God is the only rule whereby the condition of our hearts, thoughts, words, and deeds should be governed. “And as many as walk according to this rule” (Galatians 6:16); “To the law and to the testimony” (Isaiah 8:20); “Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all Thy commandments” (Psalm 119:6). If people neglect to retain the Word of God in mind and heart, they will begin to elevate their own intellect as their Bible, and thus will mislead themselves and be a cause for concern to others. Such neglect will result in a sinful life as well as much backsliding. Yes, many who do not establish the Word of God as their rule of life “will seek to enter in, and shall not be able” (Luke 13:24).

Fourthly, the Word of God provides a steadfast comfort. “That we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4); “Unless Thy law had been my delights; for they are the rejoicing of my heart” (Psalm 119:92, 111). This comfort which originates from the Word may come while reading or hearing it or during prayer and meditation. It may originate from a text of Scripture or when the soul, while engaged in sweet exercise, is directed to a text. Such comfort is generally of a much deeper and more fundamental nature, and more steadfast and durable than the comfort which the soul receives without any reflection upon the Word. . . . It is therefore desirable to read or hear the Bible read frequently so that one may have ready access to a supply of Scripture in time of need. Furthermore, while meditating, texts of Scripture may be impressed upon the heart to the comfort of the soul[.] . . .

Fifthly, the Word is a special means for sanctification. “Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth” (John 17:7). God’s Word does not only work sanctification by means of continual exhortation by which the soul is inclined towards obedience by the very voice of God. It also works sanctification through a continual dialogue with God Himself while hearing, reading, and meditating upon His Word as the believer seeks to regulate his life by means of the Word. In addition to this the soul will be more exercised in faith and will become more established in the truth by virtue of its consistent use of God’s Word. Faith then gives birth to love, and love in turn to sanctification. Yes, the soul is led further in this way into the mysteries of God’s Word and perceives many matters which it previously was not able to discern. Every new acquaintance with spiritual mysteries, however, as well as each mystery itself, has a sanctifying influence. Those who are remiss in reading and lax in acquainting themselves with God’s Word will be deprived to a considerable degree of these blessed fruits.

Sixthly, the Word of God is the spiritual sword which must be wielded at all times in our battle against the devil, heresies, and our flesh (Ephesians 6:17); “For the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). Those who stand ready with this sword stand firm, provide themselves protection, and are victorious over their enemies.

Seventhly, to state matters comprehensively, the Word of God is the only means whereby we can be saved. “It is the power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16); “The gospel of your salvation” (Ephesians 1:13); “The engrafted Word, which is able to save your soul” (James 1:21). Therefore, whoever desires salvation will esteem and acknowledge the Word of God as necessary and profitable and will be desirous for this Word. . . .

Since we have shown the Word to have all these qualities, it obligates everyone to the following.

First, man must acknowledge, value, believe, and view the Word of God in this manner. Apart from this, the Word shall not be profitable. “The Word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith” (Hebrews 4:2). . . . [E]veryone [ought] to bring [his] thoughts into obedient captivity to the Word of God, nipping all wrong impulses in the bud, lest by permitting such thoughts to be multiplied the soul will become more distraught. . . .

Secondly, men ought to rejoice wholeheartedly in this most precious gift of God, embrace it with much love, and be joyful whenever they may either behold it or hold it in their very hands. . . . We . . . may have it in our possession and may hear and read it. How our hearts ought to rejoice over this fact! “I have rejoiced in the way of Thy testimonies, as much as in all riches. O how love I Thy law!” (Ps 119:14, 97); “More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb” (Psalm 19:10).

Thirdly, we should thank and magnify the Lord, who has given it for this. “At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto Thee because of Thy righteous judgments” (Psalm 119:62); “Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem; praise thy God, O Zion. He sheweth His word unto Jacob, His statues and His judgments unto Israel” (Psalm 147:12,19).

Fourthly, make use of the Word of God in prosperity, adversity, darkness, seasons of doubt, times of perplexity, and your entire walk. Nothing can befall you, nor is there any duty in which you must engage where the Word of God would not provide you with comfort, peace, counsel, and direction. “Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counselors; I have chosen the way of truth: Thy judgments have I laid before me; Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path; Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart” (Psalm 119:24, 30, 105, 111).

Fifthly, purchase this inestimable jewel, and be diligent in giving it a place in your home. . . . One of the most appropriate acts of mercy is to provide the poor with Bibles, and to question them frequently whether they are also reading them daily. . . . Those who are not able to read must exert every effort to learn, with the objective to be able to read the Word of God. A home without a Bible is a ship without a rudder and a Christian without a Bible is a soldier without a weapon. . . .

Sixthly, read, search, and meditate upon the Word of God with all diligence and persistence. This should even be the practice of kings. “And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life” (Deuteronomy 17:19). It is the duty of scholars as well. “Give attendance to reading” (1 Timothy 4:13). It is the privilege and obligation of the lowly and of every individual. “Search the Scriptures” (John 5:39); “Have ye not read?” (Matthew 12:3).

The eunuch read while riding in his chariot (Acts 8:28). The Bereans searched the Scriptures daily (Acts 17:11). How everyone ought to practice this in private, prior to going to work, both by himself alone, and with his family! At noon when one nourishes his body, he ought also to nourish his soul. In the evening after work, one must end the day by seeking some refreshment from the Word of God. In the meantime, while engaged to understand the spiritual meaning as well as experience the power of God’s Word. This will cause the soul to grow in grace, prevent vain thoughts from arising, control the tongue, suppress corruptions, and direct man to fear God. . . .

For the reading of Scripture to be profitable, there must be preparation, practice, and reflection. . . . Each time when one engages himself to read:

(1) He must, with mental concentration, place himself in the presence of God. He must promote a reverent, spiritual frame, being conscious that the Lord shall speak to him. The consciousness of that reality should cause us to tremble with holy reverence. To promote such reverence, reflect upon Isaiah 1:2, “Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the Lord hath spoken.”

(2) He must lift up his heart to the Lord, beseeching Him who is the Author of this Word for His Spirit, that He may cause us to perceive the truth expressed in God’s Word and apply it to the heart. Our prayer ought to be with Ps 119:18, “Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law.”

(3) He must also attentively incline the heart to obedience in order to exercise faith, be receptive to comfort, and comply with all that which the Lord shall proclaim, promise, and command, saying, “speak, Lord; for Thy servant heareth” (1 Samuel 3:9). . . .

As you read, it is essential to do so calmly and attentively rather than to do it hastily with the objective of bringing the exercise of this duty to a conclusion. . . . [W]ith a humble, hungry, and submissive spiritual frame, one places himself before the Lord while reading slowly and thoughtfully as if hearing the voice of God, and subjecting himself to the Holy Spirit to operate upon the heart as he reads. . . . Whenever there is a passage which has a special power upon the heart, such a person pauses in order that this Scripture might have its effect in the heart. Then he prays, gives thanks, rejoices, and is filled with amazement—all of which revive the soul and stimulate it to obedience. Upon concluding these exercises he will continue reading. After having read a chapter, he will meditate upon it, time permitting. When he encounters a remarkable text, he will mark or memorize it. In such a fashion both the learned and the unlearned should read the Word of God. In so doing, one will understand its spiritual meaning with increasing clarity and God’s Word will increasingly become more precious to us. “If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God” (John 7:17); “If ye continue in My Word, then are ye My disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32). . . .

[R]eflection upon reading Scripture consists in[:]

(1) joyfully giving thanks that the Lord has permitted His Word to be recorded, that we may have it in our homes, that we can and were privileged to read it, and that it was applied to our heart;

(2) painstakingly striving to preserve this good spiritual frame which is obtained by reading God’s Word;

(3) meditating while engaged in one’s occupation upon that which one has read, repeatedly seeking to focus his thoughts upon it;

(4) sharing with others what was read, whenever possible, and discussing it;

(5) especially striving to comply with what was read by bringing it into practice.

If the Holy Scriptures were used in such a fashion, what wondrous progress we would make in both knowledge and godliness! Children would soon become young men, and young men would soon become men in Christ Jesus.[2]

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Application: Pastors and other Christian teachers should preach all the truth, that people may be sanctified. They are less sanctified when all the preaching is only “simple” and basic. Expository preaching and application through the entire Bible is required.

–corporate growth takes place in the church. So, if you are a believer, you must immediately separate from all religious assemblies other than the true churches of Christ and join yourself to a historic Baptist church.

V. Classic Documents that Relate to Crucifixion with Christ and

Sanctification in General

A. The Baptist Catechism, Question & Answer #38.[3]

Q. 38.What is sanctification? A.Sanctification is the work of God’s free grace (2 Thessalonians 2:13), whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God (Ephesians 4:23, 24), and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness (Romans 6:4, 6).

A. 2nd London Baptist Confession of Faith (1677), Article 13, Of Sanctification

(also Philadelphia Baptist Confession of Faith 1689/1720; the article is identical)[4]

1. Those who are united to Christ, effectually called, and regenerated, having a new heart, and a new spirit created in them, through the virtue of Christ’s death, and resurrection, are also (Acts 20:32; Romans 6:5-6) farther sanctified, really, and personally, through the same virtue (John 17:17; Ephesians 3:16, 17, 18, 19), the dominion of the whole body of sin is destroyed (Galatians 5:24) and the several lusts therof, are more and more weakened, and mortified; and they more and more quickened, and (Colossians 1:11) strengthened in all saving graces, to the (2 Corinthians 7:1; Hebrews 12:14) practice of all true holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.

2.) This sanctification is (1 Thessalonians 5:23) throughout, in the whole man, yet imperfect (Romans 7:18, 23) in this life; there abideth still some remnants of corruption in every part, whence ariseth a (Galatians 5:17; 1 Peter 2:11) continual, and irreconcilable war, the flesh lusting against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.

3.) In which war, although the remaining corruption for a time may much (Romans 7:23) prevail, yet through the continual supply of strength from the sanctifying Spirit of Christ the (Romans 6:14) regenerate part doth overcome; and so the saints grow in grace, perfecting holiness in the fear of God (Ephesians 4:15-16; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 7:1), pressing after an heavenly life, in evangelical obedience to all the commands which Christ as Head and King, in his Word hath prescribed to them.

B. An Orthodox Creed (1678), Article 26, Of Sanctification and Good Works[5]

Those that are united unto Christ by effectual faith, are regenerated, and have a new heart and spirit created in them, through the virtue of Christ’s death, resurrection, and intercession, and by the efficacy of the Holy Spirit, received by faith, and are sanctified by the word and Spirit of truth, dwelling in them, by destroying and pulling down the strong-holds, or dominion of sin and lust, and more and more quickened and strengthened in all saving graces, in the practice of holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. And this sanctification is throughout the whole man, though imperfect in this life, there abiding still in the best saints, some remnants of corruption, which occasions a continual war in the soul, the flesh lusting against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; yet through the continual supply of strength from Christ, which flows from him to believers by means of the covenant of grace, or hypostatical union with our nature, the regenerate part doth overcome, pressing after a heavenly life, in evangelical obedience to all the commands that Christ, their king and law-giver, hath commanded them in his word, or holy scriptures, which are the only rule and square of our sanctification and obedience in good works and piety. And sith our only assistance to good works, such as God hath commanded, is of God, who worketh in us both to will and to do, we have no cause to boast, nor ground to conclude we merit anything thereby, we receiving all of free and undeserved grace, and when we have done the most yet we are unprofitable servants, and do abundantly fall short; and the best duties that we can now perform will not abide ‘the judgment’ of God. Neither do any good works whatsoever, that are done by unregenerate men, or without faith in and love to Christ, please God, or are accepted of him. Yet good works are of great ad-vantage, being done in faith and love, and wrought by the Holy Spirit, and are to be done by us, to show our thank-fulness to God for the grace of the new covenant by Christ, and to fit us more and more for glory. And in this sense the ten commandments, as handed forth by Christ the mediator, are a rule of life to a believer, and show us our duty to God and man, as also our need of the grace of God and merit of Christ. Ezekiel 36:26; Ephesians 4:24; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 John 3:9; Titus 3:5; 1 Corinthians 4:15; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 Timothy 2:20; Psalm 110:3; 2 Corinthians 10:4, 5, 5:17; John 17:17; 16:14, 15; Hebrews 12:14; Romans 7:20; Galatians 5:16, 17; 1 John 3:8; 2:20; Romans 6:14; Ephesians 4:15; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 7:1; Psalm 112:1; 119:48; John 15:4, 6; Isaiah 43:13; 26:12; Philippians 2:1 3; 2 Corinthians 3:5; Job 9:2, 3, 20; 25:4; Galatians 2:16; James 2:9, 10; 3:2; Hebrews 11:6, 19; Isaiah 64:6; Proverbs 8:17; 1 Corinthians 16:22; James 1:18, &c.; Galatians 5:22, 23; John 4:14, 5:25; Galatians 5:6; 1 Corinthians 6:9, &c.; Hebrews 12:28, 29; 1 Corinthians 13:2, 3; Psalm 50:14.

Excerpts From The Circular Letter of the Philadelphia Baptist Association, 1787,

P. P. Vanhorn, and the Circular Letter of 1803, William White.[6]

Dear brethren . . . [a]s we wish you to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, we shall address you on the important subject of Sanctification. We are exhorted to contend earnestly for the faith, once delivered to the saints; and as there are some who deny the work of sanctification, and too many who are little acquainted with it, we shall therefore consider the subject in the following order —

I. We shall explain the term sanctification.

II. Give some reasons why sanctification is necessary.

III. The happy effects in the subjects of it.

I. In a performance of this nature, brevity must be expected; yet enough may be said to display our sentiments on the subject. By searching the Scriptures, you will find the term hath various significations. 1. It is used to signify the setting apart a person or thing to the peculiar service of God. This is the general use of the word in the Old Testament, and in this sense God is said to sanctify the Sabbath, Genesis 2:3; and to the same purpose it is applied to the first born, Exodus 13:2. Thus the temple, the priests, the altar and sacrifices, were sanctified under the law. 2. It is used for that holiness and purity of nature, which gives us a meetness for the inheritance of the saints in light; and, in some respects, may be distinguished from regeneration, though it is radically connected with it. The Apostle, speaking of our salvation, said, “It was not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy, he saved us by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost,” Titus 3:5. By washing of regeneration, we understand that great change, which is instantaneously made in us by the power of the Holy Ghost, when we are first made alive in Christ Jesus; and from that period we are new creatures, created in Christ Jesus unto good works. The word is used in the same sense in 1 Corinthians 6:11, where the Apostle says, “But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified.” In regeneration, the divine nature is begun in us by the power of the Holy Ghost, and without this work, there can be no growth in grace. From these passages of Scripture, we see that the Holy Ghost makes a distinction between regeneration and sanctification; in regeneration we receive a new nature or principle, and sanctification is the growing of that, new nature to the stature of a man in Christ Jesus. The washing of regeneration is never repeated, but the renewing of the Holy Ghost is carried on through the whole life of a Christian, till he ascends to be with Jesus, Philippians 1:6. It is the Holy Ghost which begins it, and it is his work to finish it; for in the great plan of salvation, the Holy Spirit is as firmly engaged to begin and finish this work, as the Son of God was to finish the work of redemption assigned him to do. The council of God has ordained this way to make us meet for that state of glory, to which we have a right by the adorable Redeemer’s righteousness; and therefore we are said to be “chosen unto salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit,” 2 Thessalonians 2:13.

II. We now proceed to demonstrate the necessity of sanctification. 1. We premise, that the necessity of sanctification and regeneration arise from the same cause, the fall of man. This has incapacitated us for communion with God; therefore, notwithstanding all our blessed Redeemer has done, we are represented to be in a lost state till this good work is begun. As sanctification is a progressive work, the necessity of it arises from the consideration that we are at first only babes in Christ, and not complete in holiness; for the best men have a body of sin and death. Every renewed soul must feel this to be his case. The great Apostle groaned under it, and the beloved disciple said, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves,” 1 John 1:8. The Holy Ghost is promised to dwell with us and remain in us as his temple, and ye know the temple of the Lord must be holy. “Without holiness, no man shall see the Lord.” 2. Sanctification is necessary, because without it we cannot honor and glorify God. For this our blessed Lord prayed, and for this we should daily apply to the throne of grace, that we may understand the mysteries of his kingdom, and the glory of his grace; that we copy after his great example, and honor him in every dispensation of his providence. 3. It was the great design of Christ’s coming into the world; therefore his name is called Jesus, because he saves his people from the demerit and the pollution of sin; purifying a peculiar people unto himself, zealous of good works. This great end of the Redeemer’s coming shall be fully accomplished in all God’s elect by the effectual operations of his Holy Spirit; whose work it is to glorify the Son of God, in applying his benefits to the heirs of glory, and give them a meetness to that inheritance that fadeth not away.

III. We shall now attempt to consider the effects of sanctification. 1. The effects of it appear immediately after regeneration, in a sincere and hearty detestation of sin. The prophet having spoken of a new heart and a new spirit, adds, “Then shall ye remember your own evil ways and your doings that were not good, and shall loathe yourselves in your own sight,” Ezekiel 36:31. No man can loathe himself till he is born of God, because the new man only sees the deformity of sin. After he is turned he truly repents after a godly sort, and is humbled in dust and ashes before God; firmly believing that nothing can deliver him from guilt, but the precious blood of the dear Redeemer. 2. Another effect is, we see more clearly our divorcement from the law, by the satisfaction of Christ, as the way by which life is to be obtained by the believing soul, who, at the same time, honors the law, by acknowledging that it is good, just, and holy. It is the fatal mistake of all in a state of nature, to expect acceptance with God, by the deeds of the law; but the renewed man knows that Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. The great Apostle says, “I, through the law, am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.” What a display of infinite wisdom in the plan of salvation! Here we see the sinner saved by grace, flowing consistent with all the perfections of God, and, at the same time, maintaining the honor of the divine law. Vain are the expectations of all who separate what God has joined together. Preserve divine truth in its own order, and it is glorious and harmonious. In the great plan of salvation, God joined together justification by the righteousness of Christ, imputed unto us by an act of grace, by which we have a right to eternal life, and sanctification, which gives us a meetness for the inheritance of the saints in light. One great error in religion is, separating what God has joined together, and joining together what God has separated. Beware of all who applaud the imputed righteousness of Christ, and, at the same time, either deny the work of the Holy Spirit in sanctification, or speak lightly or reproachfully of it. He, therefore, who would either verbally or doctrinally exclude the imputed righteousness of Christ, and, at the same time, make great professions of holiness and zeal for religion, ought to be considered as an inveterate enemy to the blessed Redeemer and his truth. Now, dear brethren, we take our leave of you, by entreating you to walk worthy of the vocation wherewith you are called. Watch over one another in love; in humility, seek spiritual growth to glorify your heavenly Father, and appear as lights in the world. May the God of all grace sanctify you wholly, and preserve you blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen (1787).

Beloved brethren . . . we have deemed it expedient to continue an investigation of the officework of the Holy Ghost. . . . He is called the Holy Spirit, Psalm 51:11, and Ephesians 1:1- 3; intimating thereby, that such is the purity of his nature, being purity in the abstract, that there is an absolute necessity that those who would enjoy the fellowship of the Spirit, Philippians 2:1, should be holy, not using the members of the body, which is the temple of the Holy Ghost, 1 Corinthians 6:19, in the service of sin. He is also called the Spirit of holiness, Romans 1:4, because he implants a principle of holiness in all the elect; and forasmuch as there is not any thing amiable or lovely in God’s dear children, but what is the fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22. . . . He is called the Spirit of grace, Hebrews 10:29, because the holy Scriptures, given by inspiration of the Spirit of God, make known all the gracious designs of Jehovah towards his people; and because he implants gracious affections, and applies the blessings of grace to the subjects of it. He is called the Comforter, John 14:16, by reason of that support which pious men derive from him, when under affliction. He is styled the Spirit of promise,Ephesians 1:13, with relation to his bringing the promises to our view, applying them to us, so as exactly to suit our particular cases, and enabling us to take consolation from them: or, because the marvellous descent of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost was the fruit of promise, as well as the indwelling and aid of the holy Spirit to believers, to whom it is promised, that he shall abide with them forever, John 14:16. He is. called the Spirit of the Lord, 2 Corinthians 3:17, and the Spirit of Christ, Romans 8:9, denoting that he comes in consequence of covenant stipulations, for which cause Christ is said to receive gifts for men, Psalm 68:18, and to shed forth the Spirit, Acts 2:32, and to send the Comforter to abide with the disciples, John 16:7; and lastly, he is called the Spirit of glory, because he gives a foretaste of it — assures us of our right to it — and prepares us for the complete enjoyment of it. In treating further on this subject, we shall show, 1st, That the children of the Lord only, are made partakers of the Holy Spirit in its operations on their hearts. And 2dly, What is effected by the Holy Ghost in such. . . . The work of the Spirit is called a creation, Psalm 51:10, 2 Corinthians 5:17, in allusion to an almighty agent giving existence to the system of nature, both with respect to matter and form. As there was no pre-existing matter to form the present material world, and consequently infinite power was necessarily engaged in producing it, these phrases evidently show, that the sinner is not an effectual agent to hinder the work, and that nothing can possibly frustrate that grace which creates the soul in Christ Jesus to good works. . . . [T]here is a fulness in [Christ], Colossians 1:19, out of which all his people receive grace for grace. Therefore, provision has been made in Christ for all that were given to him; and as they are justified by his blood and saved from wrath through him, so also, by the Holy Ghost which Christ sheds forth, they are completely emancipated from the tyranny of the prince of darkness, and made meet for the inheritance among the saints in light. The first work, in order, effected by the Holy Spirit, is regeneration, which consists in an infusion of spiritual life into the soul. . . . From this principle, thus implanted, flow all those holy affections, such as faith, hope, love, and humility, which are usually denominated graces of the Spirit, because they originate from him and are all of grace. Notwithstanding the spiritual man, thus begotten, is perfect with relation to parts, he is not so in stature; for those graces become more vigorous under divine cultivation, which we shall have occasion to notice hereafter. This work is instantaneous; some examples of which we find in the New Testament, as in Paul’s conversion, that of the jailor, and of the three thousand under Peter’s sermon. . . . It is peculiarly the office-work of the Spirit to discover the Lord Jesus, in all his glory and fulness, to such; “He shall take of mine and show it unto you,” John 16:14; “No man can call Jesus Lord, but by the Holy Ghost,” 1 Corinthians 12:3. . . . The apostle says, “the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given to us,” Romans 5:5. Many are the powerful temptations that assault us, so that by reason of contending passions for victory over us, and the prince of darkness presenting sin in its most alluring form, we feel our weakness and frequently despair of making head against them. But behold, we are “strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man,” Ephesians 3:16. Yea, when our way seems hedged up on every side, so that there seems no way to escape, and error, like a flood, carries all before it[,] yet, says the prophet, “the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against the enemy,” Isaiah 59:19. Mixing with the world and being necessarily engaged in temporal concerns, we often get into a lukewarm state and experience spiritual languor and the consequence, a loss of the sensible presence of God. But the divine Spirit disengages us from time-things, dissipates our coldness, invigorates our souls, and, after showing us that it is easier to lose than to regain those divine joys, transports us with a view of the unchangeable love of God. Having lost a spirit of prayer, so that the heavens seem as brass above, and the earth as iron beneath us, at the same time a preached gospel making no impression, and the holy Scriptures seeming like a sealed book, this divine Spirit “helps our infirmities with groanings which cannot be uttered,” Romans 8:26, and giving efficacy to the word preached and read, we can once more take delight in public and secret devotions. It is by the agency of the Spirit our perception of divine things is enlarged. It is truly desirable that we should not be always children tossed to and fro by the sleight of men, but on the contrary become acquainted with the mysteries of the gospel—be built up in our most holy faith and become firmly established thererein: these favors are conferred by that Spirit which leads into all truth, John 16:13. An assurance of faith comes from the divine Spirit. Upon this assurance our comfort much depends, and as there are different degrees of it, and each degree his work, we ought to remember with thankfulness that “the Spirit bears witness with our spirits that we are the children of God.”

Lastly, the work of sanctification must be carried on in us, in conformity with which the apostle prays, (1 Thessalonians 5:23) that the believers of the church of Thessalonica might be sanctified wholly in “spirit and soul and body,” and “be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” This work consisteth in the mortifying of our inbred corruptions, so that our sinful affections become more and more weakened, and we are set apart, (as the signification of the term is) to the service of God. Therefore, as this work progresses, sin loses its dominion over us, (Romans 6:14) and we are made conformable to the death of Christ, (Philippians 3:10) the “old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin,” (Romans 6:6,) and “[we are] changed into the image of the Lord from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord,” 2 Corinthians 3:18. The instrument used in sanctification is the divine word, which has a transforming effect: Sanctify them through the truth: thy word is truth,” John 17:17; That he might sanctify and cleanse it (the church) with the washing of water, by the word,” Ephesians 5:26: the preaching and reading of which, under the influence of the divine Spirit, furnishes such powerful motives to obedience, and to forsaking of sin, — setting the one in so abhorrent a point of view, and the other in such an amiable light, that the soul falls in love with and embraces the service of God, and flees from sin as the most deadly evil. Hence it is that the word has different effects, as awaking our fears, exciting our hopes, abounding with threatenings, promises, warnings, reproofs, expostulations, exhortations, tender and pathetic addresses,[7] lively descriptions of the glory of the person and offices of Christ, and of the joys of the heavenly world; all which, set home upon the heart by the divine Spirit, produce fruit unto holiness and the end everlasting life. How comfortable must the reflection be to the Christian, that all the changes he meets with in this world, whether in spiritual or temporal things, are closely connected with his sanctification! To this we must attribute sickness and pain, poverty and disgrace, personal and relative afflictions, severe tempations, spiritual desertion, trials which faith and patience meet with; and, what seems most of all astonishing, that even their very backslidings, by being made the instruments of their correction, are made use of by the divine Spirit, who brings light out of darkness, order out of confusion, and causes “all things if work together for good to them that love God” (Romans 8:28). This work of sanctification is not, like regeneration, instantaneous; nor is it perfect during life, but more or less of the body of sin still remains; but so as that it does not reign over us, but disturbs our peace, and creates in us much self-abhorrence. . . . And now, dear brethren, having treated on the office-work of the Spirit, and merely touched on the most important points, to help your meditations, we close this epistle, by earnestly intreating you to labor after a greater sense of your need of his influences, and not to grieve, by an unholy life, this sanctifying and sealing Spirit. And that you may, under his influence, become exemplary for purity of doctrine, zeal in his service, and uprightness in your lives, is the sincere prayer of your brethren who represent you in this our associate capacity. (1803).

C. “The Means Of Sanctification,” James Petigru Boyce.[8]

The manner in which the Spirit operates in sanctification is beyond our knowledge. In none of the acts of God can we tell how he exerts his power, not even in creation. “As thou knowest not,” says the preacher, “what is the way of the wind, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child; even so thou knowest not the work of God who doeth all.” Ecclesiastes 11:5. In sanctification the Spirit moves as mysteriously as we are taught that he does in regeneration. John 3:8. In general, undoubtedly, it is in accordance with the laws of mind and of spiritual life. Yet we know no reason why there is not a place for supernatural action in sanctification, as well as in regeneration. We can only know the effects produced, and the means which are revealed in the word of God, and in Christian experience.

  1. The primary means which the Spirit uses for our sanctification, as both of these sources of information teach, is the truth of God. “Sanctify them in the truth; thy word is truth” (John 17:17), was the prayer of the Lord, in which the whole work, both of consecration and cleansing, is set forth as thus to be accomplished. (See also John 17:19). “Growth in the grace” is inseparably connected with growth “in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 3:18.

This is further taught in Scripture by:

1.) Such passages as connect spiritual life with truth; as John 6:63; 8:32.

2.) Such as ascribe quickening power to the word of God; as Psalm 119:50, 93.

3.) Such as teach the that truth is promotive of obedience; as Psalm 119:34, 43, 44.

4.) Such as declare its usefulness in preventing sin; as Psalm 119:11.

5.) Such as associate it with cleansing from sin; as Psalm 119:9; 1 Peter 1:22.

6.) Such as state that it produces hatred of sin; as Psalm 119:104.

7.) Such as assert its power to lead to salvation; 2 Timothy 3:15-17.

8.) Such as say that “all things that pertain unto life and godliness” have been given through the knowledge of God, and Christ; as 2 Peter 1:2, 3.

9.) Such as imply that growth in grace is due to greater knowledge; as Hebrews 5:12-14.

10.) Such as account for inability to accept higher doctrinal truth, by such weakness as should be characteristic only of those who are babes in Christ; as 1 Corinthians 3:1-3.

11.) Such as set forth the word of God as “the sword of the Spirit;” as Ephesians 6:17.

12.)Such as announce that all the ministerial gifts bestowed by Christ are “for the perfecting of the saints, unto the work of ministering, unto the building up of the body of Christ; till we all attain unto the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a full grown man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11-16.

2. In connection with this primary means of divine truth others are presented. But they are not only secondary, but actually subordinate means to the word of God. They rather furnish occasions for the exercise of the means of sanctification contained in the truth of God than are proper means of themselves to that end. In themselves they have no efficacy, and only accomplish the end of sanctification by bringing the believer into connection with the truth of God.

(1.) Such are the providences of God, which tend in various ways to arouse and move his children, and avail unto sanctification so far only as they recall, and lead to the apprehension of divine instructions. They are frequent and effective means of such apprehension, and, through this, of the believer’s growth in holiness. Such especially are the afflictions, sent as chastisements by the Heavenly Father upon his children. Such, also, are the temptations and trials to which they are subjected. Such, likewise, are the infirmities of the flesh, and perplexities of the spirit which God permits to remain, or causes to arise in his own elect. In these, and in numerous other ways, as well as what is called good, as of what is called evil, does God surround his people with the acts of his providence. But these acts themselves avail not unto their sanctification but are only made effective through the truth of God apprehended amid such events, and received as spiritual food for the growth of the believer.

(2.) The good works of the Christian, furnish another secondary means for his sanctification. By these are not meant works that are good in a legal sense, for such goodness would require a perfection and freedom from taint which no work of fallen man can possess; but it is the privilege of the Christian to live unto the Lord, and the name of good works is given in Scripture to such outward actions as are the results of his life through the Spirit.

These good works are the result of sanctification; but, in their performance, they naturally become the means of further sanctification. John 14:23; Ephesians 3:16-20. Yet, is this accomplished, not apart from, but in connection with, the truth of God. The new development will always be in the direction of the particular truths, contemplated in their performance. These will furnish the motives to further action, the strength for additional duty, the earnest purpose of deeper consecration, or whatever else the Spirit may graciously use for a more complete sanctification of the believer.

(3.) Prayer is still a further means to the same end; which, from its nature, can be effective only through the believer’s apprehension of divine truth.

Hence the worthlessness of mere lip service (Isaiah 29:13; Ezekiel 33:31; Matthew 15:8), or vain repetitions, Matthew 6:7. Not only are they offensive to God, but without value to the soul. Hence also the necessary spirituality of divine worship, because that only is true worship which is the service of the soul. John 4:23, 24. Prayer, which is a mere formal or mechanical utterance of words, can have no value; because the one that offers it, does so in ignorance, or forgetfulness of the truth of God appropriate to accompany it.

(4.) The Lord’s day is another secondary means of sanctification, which manifestly becomes such only in the Christian’s use of divine truth; either such as is suggested by God’s appointment of such a day, or such as is attained through the opportunity for such purpose which it affords.

(5.) The association of believers in church relations,[9] is another means ordained by God for the increase of individual spiritual life and consequently of sanctification. This is attained not only through social prayer, and the preaching of the word, but also by Christian watchcare and discipline, and by the mutual sympathy and aid of believers in matters both temporal and spiritual. Whatever in these pertains to sanctification, must be connected with the recognition of divine truth in the moving influences which bestow, or the accepting thankfulness which receives.

(6.) The ministry given by Christ, is also a means for the sanctification of his people, in the preaching of his truth, in the spiritual guidance and rule of the flock, and in the sympathizing bestowment of the consolations of his grace. But, even these, though officially appointed, cannot either of themselves, or by virtue of their office, confer or increase spiritual grace. Their ministry is one only of the word of God, and it is only through his inspired truth “that the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work.” 2Timothy 3:17. What these works are, is shown by verse 16, viz.: “for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness.” Ministers are in no other sense vehicles of grace. They are not appointed as personal channels of access to God, or of the bestowment of blessings by him, except so far as he has made it their duty to make known his truth. In connection with that truth they are means of sanctification to his people, and only thus are to be regarded as occupying relations between their fellow-men and God.

(7.) The ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper are also means of sanctification. It is especially important to understand in what respects they are so. Upon this subject there are several opinions.

By the Papal Church[10] these, with five others (confirmation, penance, matrimony, extreme unction and orders), are regarded as the Sacraments of the New Law. As to their efficacy as means of grace:

1. This Church maintains that the Sacraments are, in and of themselves, — wherever conferred with the intention of the church, and where the recipient does not put obstacles in the way, — active causes to produce the grace which they signify, by virtue of the sacramental action itself, instituted by God for this end. The sufferings of Christ concur as the meritorious, but not as the efficient cause, which also depends neither upon the merit of the agent, nor upon that of the receiver.

They make distinctions, however, as to the necessity of these two Sacraments; regarding baptism as absolutely necessary to justification, in which they include sanctification; but the Lord’s Supper as only necessary because commanded and eminently useful.

The efficacy which is thus ascribed to the Sacraments is that of what is called an opus operatum, in which grace is conferred ex opere operato, viz: from the mere act done. It denies that faith alone in the divine promise suffices to obtain the grace. Will, faith, and repentance, in the adult, are necessarily required as dispositions on the part of the subject, but only to remove obstacles, for, as fire burns wood, not because the wood is dry, nor because the fire is applied to it, but because of the power in the fire to consume, so, they maintain that a sacrament, by its own inherent power, confers the grace when no obstacle

prevents, such as would be dampness in wood to the power of fire to burn.[11]

The objections to this explanation of the use of the Sacrament as means are:

(a.) That the ordinance is thus regarded as effective in itself, disconnected from any divine truth which may be symbolized in it, or taught in its objective presentation, or suggested through the Christian experience which accompanies its reception. The Scriptures nowhere teach such efficacy apart from the truth of God.

(b.) To no immediate connection of God with these, is ascribed their effective power. They are held to be mere appointments of God to be applied through man, and grace is taught to be as inherent in them as is, in any merely physical substance, any natural quality which God has bestowed upon it.

(c.) The faith which is declared requisite to remove obstacles is “mere assent” to receive, and not the appropriating faith of personal trust in Christ which alone is the saving faith of the Bible.[12]

(d.) This doctrine of the Sacraments places the salvation of every one entirely in the power of others. Whatever his own faith, unless some one else will baptize him, he cannot attain justification and sanctification.

(e.) Inasmuch as the sacraments are valid to convey grace only when performed with “the intention of doing what the Church does,” no one can know that the grace has been conferred, since he cannot know the mind of the administrator.

2. A second opinion, different in many respects as to the efficacy of the Sacraments, has been held by almost all Protestants.[13]

(1.) In opposition to the doctrine of Rome, they teach that the Sacraments,vwhich are but two, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, are not in themselves means of grace, and have no separate inherent power to convey it.

(2.) They say, however, that these are “real means of grace,” that “they are not, as Romanists teach, the exclusive channels; but they are not channels.”[14]

(3.) They also assert that they are “sacred signs and seals of the covenant of grace.”[15]

(4.) They hold that the efficacy of the Sacraments depends “upon the work of the Spirit, and the word of institution, which contains, together with a precept authorizing the use thereof, a promise of benefit to worthy receivers.”[16]

This position is preferable to that of the Romanists inasmuch as:

1. It recognized the necessary presence of the Spirit in connection with the grace bestowed, and thus denies that this proceeds exclusively from any natural inherent power.

2. The benefits are said to be conferred only upon those “who worthily receive the Sacraments.” By this possibly meant persons receiving them through the exercise of true faith in Christ. Such is generally the position assumed by the various theologians of these churches as to the adult recipients of the Sacraments. But it should have been more clearly stated in their creeds. The language used could mean this in adult receivers only. Yet it is almost certain that the intention was to include infants among those who “worthily receive.” He, however, who “worthily receives” through faith must be capable of personal faith. If the receiver is not himself a believer, he does not receive “through faith.” He may receive because of the faith of another, but it is through the personal exercise of faith, and not on account of its exercise by others, that the Scriptures teach that the Christian is blessed in connection with the ordinances.

The objections to this form of the doctrine are:

1. The continued use of the word sacrament. It has no Scripture authority. It has led many to attach a superstitious sacredness to these ordinances.

2. The use of the word “seal” is also objectionable. A seal is a visible stamp, or impression which is made upon a paper or some other substance for the purpose of certifying to the truth of some fact thus implied. It may either be attached personally by the one whom it represents, or by some person authorized by him; but its presence by his authority is his testimony to the genuineness or correctness of what is witnessed.

Now neither of the ordinances makes a visible mark upon their recipients. They are thus without an important characteristic of the seal. Neither of them is affixed to a designated individual by divine authority. The authority to administer is only a general one. No man can put marks upon the elect of God which shall authoritatively certify that they are his. Neither Baptism, nor the Lord’s Supper, becomes such an authentication either to the recipient or to others. This is found in the conscious possession of truth faith, or in the manifestation of that faith by the good works of his life.

This common usage of the word “seal” in connection with the ordinances has no other Scriptural support than the reference to Abraham in Romans 4:11. “He received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while he was in uncircumcision.” Cf. Genesis 17:11. But the rite then performed had the characteristics of a seal which have been denied of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. It was a visible mark and not only so, but it was applied to the individual man Abraham by direct divine authority.[17]

3. Objection may also be made to the word “sign” in the sense in which it is used. These two ordinances are indeed “signs;” but signs of what Christ did and suffered, and not of what is done to is people. Yet it is in the latter sense that the word “sign” is exclusively used by those holding this opinion.

4. The use of these two words has let to the mistake about the manner in which these two ordinances are means of grace, which constitutes the fatal error of this opinion. They are means of grace as they set forth truth, as they teach something, and only in this way do they convey grace. In the act of receiving, that grace may be conferred either from the consciousness of an act of obedience or through the apprehension and comprehension of the truth symbolized. It can come in no other way. . . .

Serious has been the error which has resulted from these expressions and the doctine taught in connection with them. It has led men actually to teach that the grace of God has been really conferred upon or pledged to a recipient by the agency of the administrator. In the Anglican Catechism the question is put to the child: “Who gave you this name?” to which it is taught to reply: “My God-father and God-mother, in my baptism, wherein I was made a member of Christ, the child of God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven.” Here the ordinance performed upon an unconscious subject is taught to have produced regenerating power. This doctrine of baptismal regeneration has been commonly regarded as unscriptural and false by evangelical Christians.[18] But is the effect declared of this baptismal act any more a matter of the mere human choice and will and action of some one who is not the recipient, than is the result ascribed by [the] eminent Presbyterian theologian [Hodge] to the baptism of the child of a believer? He says:

“And so when a believer adopts the covenant of grace, he brings his children within that covenant in the sense that God promises to give them, in his own good time, all the benefits of redemption, provided they do not willingly renounce their baptismal engagements.”[19]

3. The true statement of the sanctifying power of these ordinances seems the rather to be:

1. A denial of all inherent power in them as means of grace.

2. Recognition of them as conveying truth by symbolical instruction.

3. The fact that they are partaken of because of the command of Christ also makes the act of obedience to him a means of grace to the recipient.

4. Only as truth is, in some way or other, brought by them to the acceptance of the heart and mind, can they have sanctifying power.

It is thus seen that all the means of sanctification are connected with the truth, and are secondary to it. They only become such, as they convey truth, or as they suggest truth, or as they are employed in the recognition of some truth.

C. An Excerpt From A Discourse Concerning the Holy Spirit, John Owen.[20]

Sanctification is an immediate work of the Spirit of God on the souls of believers, purifying and cleansing of their natures from the pollution and uncleanness of sin, renewing in them the image of God, and thereby enabling them, from a spiritual and habitual principle of grace, to yield obedience unto God, according unto the tenor and terms of the new covenant, by virtue of the life and death of Jesus Christ. Or more briefly: — It is the universal renovation of our natures by the Holy Spirit into the image of God, through Jesus Christ.

D. An Excerpt from The Method of Grace: How the Spirit Works, by John Flavel.[21]

3. [Flavel comments on 2 Corinthians 5:17]: “Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” He satisfies not himself to express it in general terms, by telling us the man in Christ must be a new creature; but more particularly, he shows as what this new creature is: “Old things are passed away — all things are become new.” By old things he means all those principles and lusts belonging to the carnal state, or the old man: all these are passed away — not perfectly, but in part at present, and wholly in hope and expectation hereafter.

“All things are become new.” He means not that the old faculties of the soul are abolished, and new ones created in their room; but as our bodies may be said to be new bodies by reason of the endowments to be bestowed upon them in their resurrection, so our souls are now renewed by the imparting of new principles to them in the work of regeneration.

These two parts, the passing away of old things and the renewing of all things, comprise the whole of sanctification, which in other scriptures is expressed by equivalent phrases: sometimes by putting off the old and putting on the new man, Ephesians 4:24; sometimes by dying unto sin, and living unto righteousness, Romans 6:11, which is the same thing the apostle here intends by the passing away of old things and making all things new. And because this is the most excellent and glorious work of the Spirit wrought upon man in this world, the apostle asserts it with a note of special remark and observation, “Behold!” — “behold and admire this surprising, marvelous change which God has made upon men; they are come out of darkness into his marvelous light, 1 Peter 2:9, out of the old, as it were, into a new world. “Behold, all things are become new.”

Hence, God’s creating of a new supernatural work of grace in the soul of any man, is infallible evidence of a saving interest in Jesus Christ.

Suitable hereto are those words of the apostle:

“But ye have not so learned Christ; if so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: that ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Ephesians 4:20-24.

Where we have, in other words of the same import, the very selfsame description of the man that is in Christ which the apostle gives us in this text.

Appendix E. The Nature of True Holiness[22] Explained, John Brine.[23]

Let us then [first] attend unto the Consideration of the Causes of Holiness, wherein consists the true Exaltation of our Nature, which is dreadfully debased by Sin; the impulsive, procuring, efficient, and instrumental Causes or Means of that Purity which is absolutely necessary to future Blessedness.

1.) The impulsive Cause, is the eternal Goodwill and Grace of God exerting itself in the Election of our Persons to everlasting Life . . . 2 Thessalonians 2:13 . . . 2 Timothy 1:9[.]

2.) The procuring Cause of real Holiness, is the Death and Satisfaction of Christ. . . . Hebrews 13:20, 21. In that eternal Covenant which was entered into by the Father and Christ, it was a Condition required of him, and agreed to by him, to make his Soul an Offering for Sin, and a Promise was made him, that on this Condition he should have the Satisfaction of seeing his Seed Participants of Holiness and Happiness. This Condition is fulfilled, hence he has a Right to expect the Fulfilment of that Promise relating to them all; nor can the Father, in Justice, fail of the Performance of his Promise. That invaluable Price which was paid for the Redemption of our Persons from Misery, ascertains our Participation of Holiness here, and complete Happiness hereafter.

3.) The efficient Cause of true Holiness is the Spirit of God; Grace . . . is his Production . . . the Holy Spirit is the Author of our Regeneration. Grace in the Heart is the Effect of his gracious Operation upon us [John 3:6]. If there is any Thing in us of a truly spiritual Nature, it is the Product of the Spirit of God, for we are naturally Flesh; the very Reverse of what is holy and Spiritual.

4.) The instrumental Causes, or Means of our Improvement in Holiness are various,[24] viz. the Gospel . . . the sincere Milk of the Word, that we may grow thereby (1 Peter 2:2); And our dear Lord prays the Father to Sanctify, his People thro’ his Truth, whose Word is Truth (John 17:17). . . . Again, The sacred Institutions of Christ are appointed to this End. In those sacred Rites, Christ is represented in his Person, Offices, Work, and Benefits, and Grace; and, therefore, they are adapted wisely to corroborate the Heaven-born Principle in our Souls. Farther, the afflictive Dispensations of Providence are graciously designed to this Purpose. . . . Besides, spiritual and holy Conversation tends to promote Holiness; No corrupt Communication ought to proceed out of our Mouths; but such as is good to the Use of edifying, that it may minister Grace to the Hearers [Ephesians 4:29]. There are the Causes of Holiness, supreme and subordinate.

[Secondly, the] Nature of true Holiness . . . I proceed . . . to shew . . . negatively and positively. . . .

Negatively: This is to be done in several Particulars, viz.

1.) What Men usually call Virtue, is not Holiness. By this I intend the Propriety and Impropriety of Things, in relation to human Actions[.] . . . Now this is an abstracted Consideration of Actions, as in themselves, without Regard to the governing Authority of God in his Law; and, therefore, it is at a very great Remove from Holiness, which is an Obedience to the Will and Command of that infinite Being, on whom we are absolutely dependent.

2.) Legal Obedience, which rises higher than the former, is not Holiness. . . . Lust . . . retains its Dominion in the Heart, and will so do, until . . . Grace takes it away, and brings a Man to submit to be saved in the Way of God’s Appointment [Romans 9:31-32]. Sin still perserves its Rule in the Mind, tho’ the Form of its Government is altered, and none of the Actions of such a one are holy, they all spring from a selfish Principle, and are directed to selfish Ends, which is not serving God, but is a Man’s Aim to serve himself. This legal Obedience, therefore, hath not any Thing of true Holiness in it.

3.) The Knowledge of the Truth of Evangelical Doctrines is not Holiness; Orthodoxy is not Grace; nor is Soundness of Judgment, Holiness. . . .

4.) Gifts, and the Exercise of them, is not Grace or Holiness. By Gifts, I mean an Ability to discourse of Gospel Doctrines in such a Manner, as may be very instructive and beneficial to others. . . .

I go on to shew . . . In a positive Sense, what [holiness] is: And it is to be considered as a Principle, and Acts flowing from that Principle.

1.) True Holiness is a new, spiritual Principle or Spring of Action in the Mind. It is new, for which Reason, it is called a new Heart, and the Subject of it is said to be a new Creature . . . 2 Corinthians 5:17. This is called new, in Opposition to the Flesh, or corrupt Habits of the Mind, and it is the very Reverse, and direct contrary of all that was in a Person before. Grace is not corrupt Nature mended, but it is a Disposition opposite and contrary to it. . . . Galatians 5:17. Again, this Principle may be called new, tho’ not in Opposition to, yet in Distinction from, that original Righteousness, which Man possessed in a State of Innocency. . . . Farther, it is a spiritual Principle . . . and all the Acts which arise from it, are of a pure and spiritual Kind, and of the same Nature with itself. This Principle alone is the Spring of holy Actions in a Believer[.] . . .

2.) This Principle exerts itself various Ways, to the Glory of God who wrought it in the Soul, and to the Comfort and Advantage of those in whom it is, viz.

I. In believing; or in Acts of Faith on Jesus Christ. It discerns our Need of him, his Suitableness to our Condition; applies to him, and receives him, as he of God is made unto us Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification, and Redemption (1 Corinthians 1:30); yea, as our all in all (Colossians 3:11): And this Faith purifies the Heart [Act 15:9] . . . It influences unto a cheerful and holy Obedience, for which Reason it is called the Obedience of Faith[Romans 16:26], which is alone acceptable and pleasing unto God, thro’ Christ . . . Hebrews 11:6; and we are no farther truly holy and spiritual in the Discharge of Duty, than Faith is acted therein.

II. This gracious Principle loves and delights in heavenly Things. In the Understanding, it is a Perception of their infinitely excellent and glorious Nature. In the Will, it is a closing with, and Adherence unto them. In the Affections,[25] it is a Delight and Complacency in them, as pure, holy, and spiritual, and congruous to its own Nature; no Acts of which Kind can ever arise in an unsanctified Mind [1 Corinthians 2:14].

III.) Grace hopes for better Things than it hath in present Possession. . . . The Christian, in the Exercise of Grace, enters into that within the Vail whither the Forerunner is for him entered (Hebrews 6:19, 20), and hath his Conversation in Heaven [Philippians 3:20]. Where he shall actually be, hereafter, there he now is, sometimes, in Desire, and in a way of gracious Communion.

IV.) This spiritual Principle exerts itself in a holy Reverence of God. [Hebrews 12:28]; . . . And there is no true Reverence of God in a Mind destitute of this holy Principle, for from that alone it springs; and there is more or less of this Fear of the Divine Majesty, as this gracious Principle is more or less lively and vigorous.

V.) Grace disposes the Mind to submit to the Will of God, in the various Dispensations of his Providence, whether prosperous or adverse. [Romans 8:28]. . . .

VI.) This holy Principle is a Disposition to practice all the Branches of Righteousness in our Conversation in the World; Sobriety, Justice, Compassion, Benevolence, and whatever else Morality includes [Titus 2:11-12]; . . . True Grace in the Heart is a solicitous Care to maintain good Works in the Life. . . .

VII.) The regenerate [Nature] of a Believer casts a holy Contempt on the World, and all the most delectable Things in it. It is of a Nature far more sublime than the best of earthly Treasures, and it elevates the Mind towards, and fixes it on Objects infinitely more glorious than the gayest and most splendid Things, which please the Fancy, and attract the Affections of an unsanctified Person. This Heaven-born Principle aspires towards unseen and heavenly Objects. From Heaven it came, that is its proper Centre, and thither it tends [Colossians 3:1-2]. . . .

VIII.) This Principle aims at the Glory of God in all its Acts. . . . Unless we design the Glory of God in our Acts of Obedience, there is nothing of true Holiness in what we do. . . .

Thirdly, We ought to follow Holiness, i.e. in an earnest Manner we should endeavour after our Improvement therein. The original Word [“follow,” diw¿kw, in “Follow . . . holiness,” Hebrews 12:14] is elsewhere rendered, I press (Philippians 3:14). It signifies a Fervency of Desire, and an Earnestness in Endeavour. If we are desirous of an Improvement in Grace, we must, in order to it, make it our Scope and Aim; not rest satisfied with our present Measure of Grace, but use a holy Diligence to increase it; without this, we cannot reasonably expect and hope for an Advancement in Holiness and Spirituality.

1.) We must oppose, and make no Provision for the Flesh. . . . We shall never arrive to any Eminency in Holinesss, without much Self-Denial, and a strict Watch kept upon Lust, which hath numberless Ways of exerting itself, and a constant Opposition to it, in What Manner soever it acts its Part in us.

2.) We must make it our Scope and Aim, in religious Exercises, to act our Graces, if we would improve in Holiness: Attendance to them is a necessary Branch of our Duty, and the Neglect of that Attendance is inexcusable; but a bare external Performance of those Exercises, will be of no Efficacy towards our Improvement in Grace. As there is no greater Degree of Holiness in our religious Services, than what consists in the Actings of the spiritual Principle in our Souls; so all our Advancement in Holiness in those Services, is from the Exercise of this holy Principle. Unless, therefore, we aim at performing Spiritual Duties, in a spiritual Manner, our Expectations of gaining Advantage to our spiritual Part thereby, must be disappointed, because we have no Ground for such Expectations.

3.) We ought to desire the Sincere Milk of the Word. . . .

Fourthly, Without Holiness no Man shall see the Lord. . . .Two Things must be attended unto, in this Branch of the subject, viz. the Sight of God, and, that no Man who is not the Subject of Holiness, shall have this happy Vision of him. In discoursing on the former, I would shew, what are the Properties of this View, and then the Objects, which are beheld with a Joy to us, at present inconceivable.

1.) I begin with the Properties of this Vision of God. And they are such as must be exceedingly delightful to every one who truly desires to enjoy it.

For,

I.) It will be immediate, clear, and full. Here the Saints sometimes have spiritual Views of God by Faith, which fill them with Joy unspeakable, and full of Glory: But these Prospects are far inferior to that View they will have of God in the heavenly State. . . .

II.) The Saints will enjoy an uninterrupted View of God hereafter. . . .

III.) This Prospect will be endless. . . . As their Existence will be eternal, so their Views of God will be without a Period. As no Change can possibly happen in the Nature of that blissful State, so it shall never have an End. If we consider the infinitely glorious Nature of the Objects seen; if we consider the Properties of this heavenly Vision, viz. that it is clear and full, that it is uninterrupted, and without End; surely we must conclude, that this State is most desirable, and perfectly blessed.

2.) This is a Vision, or Sight of God.

I.) We shall distinctly discern what each Person in the adorable Trinity hath acted, in order to our eternal Salvation and Happiness.

A.) The kind Part the divine Father hath acted in our Favour. Our Election to everlasting Life, was his gracious Act. He chose us in Christ before the Foundation of the World [Ephesians 1:4]; and this Choice of us, was unto perfect Holiness. The Contrivance of the Way of our Recovery from that Ruin brought on us by Sin, is his. He appointed Christ to be our Mediator, Head, and Surety, and decreed his taking upon him our Obligation to the Law. . . . If the imperfect Views we have at present of the stupendous Acts of the Father in our Favour, yield us inexpressible Pleasure, what transcendent Delight will be produced in our Minds, by the future Prospect of them?

B.) We shall forever have in View the compassionate Part, which the eternal Son hath performed in our Favour. His undertaking for us, in the eternal Covenant transacted between the Father and himself, and the Holy Spirit. His Assumption of our Nature . . . His Susception of our Guilt, and voluntary Submission to the Father’s Pleasure, in making his Soul an Offering for our Sins, [Isaiah 53:10] whereby he expiated our Guilt, made Peace for us, and secured our Persons from that direful Vengeance, which we, in Consequence of our Sins, were liable unto. Besides, he brought in for us an everlasting Righteousness, which justifies our Persons, and gives us an unalienable Right to eternal Life. And now he is in Heaven, it is his continual Employ to make Intercession for us, as a sympathizing and compassionate High Priest, under all our Difficulties, Temptations, and Sorrows, in this State of Imperfection, and Snares and Dangers. The imperfect View we have of these Things now, affords us the highest Pleasure; the clear, distinct, and endless Prospect of them hereafter, therefore, must possess our Souls with a Delight, that far surpasses our present Comprehension. For, since ineffable Joy arises from those low and imperfect Views of heavenly Objects, which this State admits of; certainly unknown and inconceivable Delight will result from the clear and perfect, and uninterrupted Prospects of those Objects, in the happy World above.

C.) We shall eternally behold what a gracious Part the blessed Spirit acts in our Favour, who inspires us with spiritual Life, when we are dead in Trespasses and Sins; infuses heavenly Light into our Souls, which are naturally Darkness; operates on us in a Way of spiritual Conviction; gives us a Sense of the Evil of Sin; shews us the exceeding Sinfulness of our Nature; presents us with a View of our inevitable Misery, as in ourselves considered; discovers to us the Ability and Suitableness of Christ, as a Saviour; encourages and assists us to make a humble Application to him for Life and Salvation; applies his Blood to our Souls, to ease us of the pressing Load of our Guilt, and heal the Wounds it gives us; shews us the Glory of his Righteousness, and enables us to lay hold on it, and embrace it, as the Matter of our Acceptance with God, our righteous Judge; open, to our View the Secrets of the Almighty, relating to the stupendous Design of our Recovery, and powerfully applies to us the precious Promises of his Word, whereby we are encouraged to hope in him, and draw near to him, as our gracious Covenant-Father, and in this Character to ask of him all that is needful to our Support, Guidance, and Consolation: He bears with all our Provocations, heals all our Backslidings, reduces our Souls when we go astray, revives the good Work under its Decays, and restores to us the Joy of God’s Salvation, and establishes us afresh in the Ways of Holiness and Peace, and will continue so to do, until we arrive safe to the heavenly World, where we shall see the Wonders of his Love, in that perspicuous Manner the present State admits not of.

II.) We shall enjoy a constant View of the divine Perfections, as they are exercised and displayed in our eternal Salvation. Everlasting, free and sovereign Love . . . Infinite Wisdom . . . infinite Rectitude and Righteousness . . . Truth and Faithfulness . . . [and] his absolute Immutability, on which our Security rests, is fully manifested. Much of the Glory of Heaven will consist in clear, distinct, and endless Views of the infinitely glorious Perfections of God, as exercised in our Redemption, and as they shine thro’ the Person of the Mediator.

III.) We shall always behold the Glory of Christ our dear Redeemer. He who was crowned with Thorns for our Sakes, we shall have the Satisfaction of viewing seated on a Throne of Majesty, and crowned with Glory, and surrounded with the whole Number of the Elect of God, and Myriads of holy Angels, all uniting in joyful Songs of Praise to him for his redeeming Love to us miserable and worthless Creatures. . . .

IV.) We shall have a constant and full Perception of the Love of each divine Person to us, and of the infinite Delight Father, Son, and Spirit will eternally take in our complete Felicity. It is Matter of Joy to the divine Persons to do us Good now, and when the Design of our Salvation shall be completed, our Souls will have a ravishing Sense of that Pleasure, which arises to them from the Accomplishment of that gracious Design. The divine Persons rejoice over us to do us Good [Deuteronomy 30:9], as we are the Objects of their infinite Affection and Love. . . .

That alone desires the Enjoyment of Heavenly Glory, which is a true Preparation for it, and is the real Commencement of it in the Soul, viz. that gracious, holy, and spiritual Principle which is implanted in a Person, at the Time of Regeneration, and is Regeneration itself. . . . [N]o Man, without Holiness, shall have this happy Sight of God. No Man whatever, let him be what he may, as to Descent, Education, State Gifts, Usefulness to others, whether in the Civil or Religious Life, unless he partakes of Holiness in this, he shall not participate of Happiness in the next. As God designed all to become Subjects of Holiness in this World, whom he appointed to eternal Salvation; so holy Persons only are capable of that Glory, which consists in the Vision of him, Communion with him, and in a constant Adoration of him, which is maintained in the Mind by a Perception of his infinitely glorious Excellencies and Perfections; and, consequently, no Man, without Holiness, shall ever see the Lord.

E. THE OLD MAN CRUCIFIED

By Charles H. Spurgeon.[26]

“Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him.” — Romans 6:6.

Every new man is two men; every believer in Christ is what he was and not what he was: the old nature and the new nature exist at the same time in each regenerate individual. That old nature the apostle calls a man, because it is a complete manhood after the image of fallen Adam; it has the desires, the judgment, the mind, the thoughts, the language and the action of man, as he is in his rebellious estate. He calls it the “old man,” because it is as old as Eden’s first transgression, it is as old as we are; it is the nature born with us, the natural depravity, the fleshly mind which we inherited from our parents. It is tainted by the old serpent, and bears within it a dread propensity to his old sin. When Adam first plucked of the forbidden fruit, sin polluted our race, and the original stain abides in all mankind; it is manifest in the most ancient history, and continues to reveal itself all along the page of the story of this blighted world. The old nature, then, is what the apostle means. The lusts of the flesh, the carnal desires, the affections of our estranged hearts, these he calls the old man. I am much mistaken if every Christian does not find this old man still troubling in him. He has a new nature which was implanted in him, as through the Spirit’s sacred working he was led to hate sin and believe in Jesus to his soul’s salvation. It is the heavenly offspring of the new birth, the pure and holy result of regeneration. That new nature cannot sin, it is as pure as the God from whom it came, and like the spark which seeks the sun, it aspires always after the holy God from whom it came;[27] I need to consider taking this out or changing it (??) its longings and its tendencies are always towards holiness and God, and it utterly hates and loathes that which is evil; so that finding itself brought into contact with the old nature, it sighs and cries as the apostle tells us, “O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Hence a warfare is set up within the believer’s bosom; the new life struggles against the old death, as the house of David against the house of Saul, or as Israel against the accursed Canaanites. The enmity is irreconcilable and lifelong. As the Lord hath sworn to have war with Amalek throughout all generations, so doth the holy seed within the saint wage war with inbred sin so long as it remaineth. Neither nature can make peace with the other. Either the earthy water must quench the heavenly fire, or the divine fire, like that which Elijah saw, must lick up and utterly remove all the water in the trenches of the heart. It is war to the knife, exterminating war.

In the text the apostle says that the old nature is in every believer crucified with Christ. I take the liberty also to refer you to two or three words which occur in the verse before the text, where he speaks of baptized believers as having taken upon themselves the likeness of Christ’s death; and then he speaks of the old man being crucified, which was Christ’s death, and therefore without straining the text we may gather from it, that the old man in us dies in the same way as Christ died — that the death of Christ on the cross is the picture of the way in which our old corruptions are to be put to death.

That shall make our first point, the old nature crucified; the second point shall be, that if ever the old nature be put to death at all, it must be with Christ — we are crucified with him; the old man is crucified with him; and then, in the third place, we shall have some practical and solemn applications to make.

I. Now, first, THE OLD MAN IS TO DIE, BUT IT IS TO DIE IN THE LIKENESS OF CHRIST’S DEATH BY CRUCIFIXION.

1. What kind of death was that? First, our Lord died a true and real death. There were certain heretics who disturbed the early Christian church, who said that our Lord did not really and actually die; but we know that he died, for his heart was pierced by the spear, and the flowing of the blood and water proved that he was in very deed most truly dead. Moreover, the Roman officer would not have sanctioned that the body should be given up

if he had not made sure that he was dead already, and even made assurance doubly sure by piercing our Lord’s most blessed side. Christ really and truly died, there was no sham or make-believe; it was no phantom which bled, and the atoning death was no syncope [a temporary loss of consciousness caused by a fall in blood pressure] or long swoon. Even thus it must be with our old propensities, they must not pretend to die, but actually die; they must not be restrained by holy customs; they must not be mowed up by temporary austerities, or laid in a trance by fleeting reveries, or ostentatiously buried alive by religious resolves and professions, they must actually die, and die a real and true death before the Lord and within our souls. Sometimes persons who are really alive appear as dead, because death reigns over a part of their bodies; the heart beats exceedingly indistinctly, the pulse is but faintly felt, the lungs are languidly heaving; they lie in a state of coma, their hands are powerless as those of a corpse, and their eyes are closed, and every member palsied; yet they are not dead, because they are in some measure, and really and truly, as to their vital organs, still in the land of the living. So have I known some that have given up a part of their sins; they have been persuaded to renounce the grossest vices, or the more abominable lusts, but yet they have never made a clean renunciation of all their sins; they have never actually within their hearts, in all integrity of purpose, given up every false way; they still indulged some one or other sin secretly; or, if they have not carried their desires into practice, they have, at least, a secret goodwill towards evil, a love towards some sweet sin in the core of their heart of hearts. O my brethren, this must, with those who are renewed in the spirit of their minds, the old nature must, so far as our will is concerned, endure a real crucifixion. No man shall enter heaven while one propensity to sin lies in him, for heaven admits nothing that pollutes; and, further, no man should expect to enter the abode of bliss while he cherishes and desires to keep alive a solitary sin within him. I do not say that no one is a saved soul who is not perfect here; God forbid I should thus [belie] the hopes of the faithful and the word of God; but I do say, that you must desire perfection, will it, and seek it, or grace is not in you. I do not say that any man lives perfectly and absolutely free from sin in this life; but I do say that no man is a Christian who does not wish it to be so with him. There must be in our soul a wish, deep, hearty, thorough, real, for the death of every sin of every sort, or we are not in union with Christ. Our prayer must be —

“Return, O holy Dove! return,

Sweet messenger of rest!

I hate the sins that made thee mourn,

And drove thee from my breast.

The dearest idol I have known,

Whate’er that idol be,

Help me to tear it from thy throne,

And worship only thee.”

I beseech you be careful on this point, for let mere creed-lovers prate as they will, “without holiness no man shall see the Lord.” Sin must be slain. You must utterly hate evil. Sin must be to you as a condemned, detestable thing, to be hunted down and put to death, or else the life of God is not in you. No mere professions or shams will suffice; sin must really and truly be crucified.

2. The death of our Lord, in the next place, was a voluntary death. He said, “I lay down my life for the sheep …. no man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself.” Jesus need not have died, he could have come down from the cross and saved himself, but he willingly gave himself up a sacrifice for our sins. Brethren, such must essentially be the death of sin within us, it must be on our parts, as we put it to death, perfectly voluntary. Oh, what a sieve is this in which to sift the chaff from the wheat! Some men part with their sins with the intention of corning back again to them if they can, as the dog returns to its vomit and the sow to her wallowing in the mire; or they part with them as of old the oxen parted with their calves at Bethshemesh, lowing as they went because of the calves they had left behind; like Lot’s wife they set out to leave Sodom, but their eyes show where their hearts would be. How many a drunkard has given up his cups because he would otherwise have lost his situation or been laid by with illness! how many a foul liver has renounced a vice because he felt that it was too great a strain upon his constitution, or brought too much shame upon him! they drop their sins as the dog does the meat when it is too hot to hold, but they love it none the less; they will be back when it cools. Such sinners leave sin as Orpah did Moab, but they soon find opportunity to

return. They fight sin as stage-players fight on the stage; it is mimic conflict, they do not hate sin in reality. Ah! but friends, we must have our whole hearts burning with an intensity of desire to get rid of our sins; and such intensity we shall be sure to feel if there be a work of grace in our soul wrought by the Holy Ghost. To will is present with us. Nay, we are not merely willing, that is a poor cold term, we are vehemently desirous, insomuch that we would be content to give up our eyes and live in lifelong blindness if we could but be wholly delivered from our sins. There is no martyrdom to which any saint would be reluctant to subject himself if he could thereby escape from the tenfold plague of his daily corruptions and temptations. I would make no bargain with God if he would leave me free from sin; it should be left to him whether I should shiver amid northern ice, or stagnate in a poor-house, or lie in prison till the moss grew on my eyelids, or quiver in perpetual fever, if I might henceforth never again in this world fall into a single sin. The execution of sin, then, must be undertaken by us with a willing mind and a vehement determination.

3. At the same time, mark you, in the third place, our Lord’s death was a violent death. He was no suicide; he willed to die in obedience to the highest law of his being, which was not self-preservation (which makes it necessary for us to do all we can to live), but consecration to the will of God, and to human welfare; which highest law rendered it necessary for him to die. He died, I have said, voluntarily, but yet by wicked men he was taken, by violent hands and by force put to death. So the crucifixion of sin is voluntary as to the person who crucifies sin; but it is both violent and involuntary as to the sin itself. Believe me, my dear brethren, sin struggles awfully in the best of men; especially besetting sins, and constitutional sins. Outward iniquities are in most cases soon conquered, but inward constitutional sins are hard to overcome. One man is proud, and oh, what prayers and tears it costs him to bring the neck of old pride to the block! Another man is naturally grasping, his tendency is to covetousness, and how he has to humble himself before God, and to cry out and lament because his gold will stick to his fingers, and will rust and corrode within his soul! Some are of a murmuring spirit, and so rebel against God, and to conquer a spirit of contention and murmuring is no easy task. Envy too, that horrible monster, so obnoxious in a Christian, why, I think I have known God’s ministers indulge in it, and it has not always been easy to kill it. To let another star eclipse you in the firmament, or suffer another servant of God to do more for him and to have greater success than yourself, is too often a bitter trial when it should be a theme for joy. Yet, brethren, cost us what it may, these sins must die. Violent may be the death and stern the struggle, but we must nail that right hand, ay, and drive home the nail; we must pierce the left hand too, and fasten the foot, yes, and nail that other foot, and hammer fast the nail; and while the struggling victim seeks to live, we must take care that no nail starts, but run to the Master, if it must be so, and pray him to drive the nails yet closer home, that the monster of the old man may not in any one of its members regain its liberty. It will be a violent death, indeed, if my inward experience be rely sample of what we are to expect.

4. In the fourth place, crucifixion was a painful death. The suffering of crucifixion was extreme; all men have put that into their general belief, their language creed, for we say of great pain it is excruciating, that is to say, it is like crucifixion. So the death of sin is painful in all, and in some terribly so. Oh, it has cost some men nights, days, weeks, and months of misery and anguish, to overcome their deeply-seated sins. Read John Bunyan’s “Grace Abounding,” and see how year after year that wonderful mind of his had red hot harrows dragged across all its fields. The inmost vitals of his spirit were pierced as with barbed shafts; his soul was as a great battle field, covered with armies who trampled it down, tore it up in all directions, and made it tremble with their furious shocks of combat. The new man was struggling against the old death that was within him. Believe me, none of us would wish to go over the same ground again, for the sears remain upon us to this hour. There was a plucking out of right eyes and a tearing off of right arms — and this hacking and maiming could not be done without poignant suffering; and meanwhile in the case of some of us there was such a horror of darkness concerning our guilt cast over us, that our soul chose strangling rather than life, and it was of the Lord’s mercies that our griefs did not utterly consume us. Some, I grant you, are brought unto salvation much more easily, but even they find that the death of sin is painful, at least to this degree, they have a humbling sense of the guilt of sin, they feel bitter regret that ever they should have fallen into it, and they are depressed with great fear and horror lest they should fall into it again. Along the valley of deathshade most, if not all, pilgrims to heaven occasionally wend their way. Sin dies hard; such a hundred-headed hydra has many lives, it will not die without much pain, and the violence of the pain proved the natural vitality of that which is put to death.

5. Brethren, let us remind you of yet another point. The death of our Lord Jesus Christ was an ignominious death. It was the death which the Roman law accorded only to felons, serfs, and Jews; few were condemned to it but slaves; it was not a freeman’s death — a nobler execution was allotted to citizens. So our sins must be put to death with every circumstance of shame and self-humiliation. I must confess I am shocked with some people whom I know, who glibly rehearse their past lives up to the time of their supposed conversion, and talk of their sins, which they hope have been forgiven them, with a sort of smack of the lips, as if there was something fine in having been so atrocious an offender. I hate to hear a man speak of his experience in sin as a Greenwich pensioner might talk of Trafalgar and the Nile. The best thing to do with our past sin, if it be indeed forgiven, is to bury it; yes, and let us bury it as they used to bury suicides, let us drive a stake through it, in horror and contempt, and never set up a monument to its memory. If you ever do tell anybody about your youthful wrongdoing, let it be with blushes and tears, with shame and confusion of face; and always speak of it to the honor of the infinite mercy which forgave you. Never let the devil stand behind you and pat you on the back and say, “You did me a good turn in those days.” Oh, it is a shameful thing to have sinned, a degrading thing to have lived in sin, and it is not to be wrapped up into a telling story and told out as an exploit as some do. “The old man is crucified with him,” who boasts of being related to the crucified felon. If any member of your family had been hanged, you would tremble to hear any one mention the gallows; you would not run about crying, “Do you know a brother of mine was hanged at Newgate?” Your old man of sin is hanged, do not talk about him, but thank God it is so; and as he blots out the remembrance of it, do you the same, except so far as it may make you humble and grateful.

6. Crucifixion was a lingering death. Our old nature has not been put to the death of the sword, or stoning, or burning; it has been crucified; this will bring on a sure death in due time, but it; is slow. A man crucified often lived for hours, and days, and I have read even for a week. Our old man will linger on his cross as long as we are alive on earth. Each one of our sins has a horrible vitality about it. “As many lives, as a cat,” John Bunyan said unbelief had; and the like may be said of every sin within us; it is crucified, but; it is not; wholly dead. Expect to have to fight with sin, till you sheathe your sword and put on your crown. I speak with great respect to my dear friends who wear the honorable insignia of old age, but they may let one who is a child compared to them remind them that old age does not bring with it such a weakening in the man to sin, as to permit them to cease from watchfulness. When passions cannot be indulged, they often rage the more furiously; and if one sin be driven out by change of life, another will often labor to possess the soul in its place. Alas! alas! alas! that men should ever begin to trust to their experience or their acquired prudence, for then they are the most likely persons to fall into sin. Your lusts are crucified, but they live, and there is vitality enough in them to make you rue the day if the nails of grace do not hold them fast, and keep the demons to their tree of doom.

The last remark is, that our Lord died a visible death. It could be discovered that he was dead; so we must put a sins to a visible death. Do not tell me, you men-servants and maid-servants who profess godliness, that you have crucified your sins, when you are such lazy and dishonest servants that your masters and mistresses would be right glad to do without you. Do not tell me, you masters and mistresses, that you have crucified your sins, when you fall into such ugly tempers, and tyrannize over your servants, and treat them like dogs. Do not tell me, you men of business, that your sins are banished, when you help to get up bubble companies, falsify your weights and measures, defraud your creditors by villainous bankruptcies, or grind the faces of the poor. Do not sneak into this Tabernacle — or rather, if you come at all, do sneak in, for you ought to wear a hang-dog look, if you answer to this description. Do not come into prayer-meeting, and pray with the saints, if you are behaving as unregenerate sinners do. If there is no visible difference between you and the world, depend upon it there is no invisible difference. I have generally found that a man is not much better than he looks, and if a man’s outward life is not right, I shall not feel bound to believe that his inward life is acceptable to God. “Ah, sir,” said one in Rowland Hill’s time, “he is not exactly what I should like, but he has a good heart at bottom.” The shrewd old preacher replied, “When you go to market and buy fruit, and there are none but rotten apples on the top of the basket, you say to the market woman, ‘These are a very bad lot.’ Now, if the woman replied, ‘Yes, they are rather gone at top, sir, but they are better as you go down,’ you would not be so silly as to believe her, but would say, ‘No, no, the lower we go, the worse they will be, for the best are always put on the top.’“ And so it is with men’s characters; if they cannot be decent, sober, and truthful in their daily life, their inner parts are more abominable still; the deeper you pry into their secrets the worse will be the report. O dear hearers, do be sincere in renouncing outward sin. Ye sinful men, put away your drunkenness, your swearing, your lying, your fornication, and uncleanness. These must be nailed up before God’s sun in open day. Let all men know by your outward conduct that you are dead to sin, and cannot live any longer therein.

II. There was much room in this first point to have enlarged, but I must not, for time flies so swiftly. This crucifixion of the old nature is, let us remember, WITH CHRIST.

The old man was crucified with Christ representatively. Christ represented the [saints]. When he died he died for the [saints], and the [saints] died in him, all his people died when he died representatively. Christ’s dead body represents to us in its death the death of our old man; and virtually and before God the body of this death died for each of us when Jesus died. We have not the time, however, to go into that doctrine, but the experience is what I would say a word upon. Depend upon it, my dear brethren, if ever our sins are to die, it must be with Christ. You will find you cannot kill the smallest viper in the nest of your heart if you get away from the cross. There is no death for sin except in the death of Christ. Stand and look up to his dear wounds, trust in the merit of his blood; love him, love him with a perfect heart, and sin-killing will not be difficult. You will hear the Savior say, “Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines;” and you will note his words, take us, not do you take them, but take us. Come with me, says the spouse, we will go together, and we two will do it. Your killing of your sin is not in your power, but if Jesus go with you, it will be done. I have known some people struggle against a horrible temper, and they never quite overcame it until they grew into closer communion with Christ. Some dispute the doctrine before us, and assert that contemplations of death are the most effectual helps in overcoming sin — very likely; others have thought that the study of the beauties of holiness might do it — it may be so; but in my experience the mightiest gun to blow down the Sebastopol of sin within me is to flee to the cross of Christ. I am persuaded that nothing but the blood of Jesus will kill sin. If you go to the commandments of God, or to the fear and dread of hell, you will find such motives as they suggest, to be as powerless in you for real action, as they have proved themselves to be on the general world; but if you remember gratefully that the first death of sin in you was by the blood of Jesus, you will firmly believe that all the way through you will have to overcome by the same weapon.

“Tears, though flowing like a river,

Never can one sin efface;

Jesus’ tears would not avail thee —

Blood alone can meet thy case;

Fly to Jesus!

Life is found in his embrace.”

See you yonder blood-washed host, as without spot or wrinkle they stand before the throne of God, ask them whether they had to fight with sin, and they will tell you that they were men of like passions with us. Ask them how they overcame sin; ye glorious ones, out of what armoury did you take your weapons, and who girded you for the sacred conflict? —

“I ask them whence their victory came?

They, with united breath,

Ascribe their conquest to the Lamb,

Their triumph to his death.

They marked the footsteps that he trod,

His zeal inspired their breast,

And, following their incarnate God,

Possess the promised rest.”

You must get to Christ, nearer to Christ, and you will overcome sin.

III. I must now conclude with these two observations: First, Christian, here is your practical lesson tonight — Fight with your sins. Hack them in pieces, as Samuel did Agag, let not one of them escape. Take them as Elijah took the prophets of Baal, hew them in pieces before the Lord. Revenge the death of Christ upon your sins, but keep to Christ’s cross for power to do it. Think more of Jesus’ cross, spend more time in contemplation of his blessed person, of his death and of his rising again; drink in more of his life, and live more upon him. I pray you do this. The words may sound in your ears as very common, and such as you have heard ten thousand times before, but the sense is weighty and all-important. If I had but one sentence that I might utter to you believers, I think I should make it this: live nearer to Christ. All virtues flourish in the atmosphere of the cross, all vices die beneath the shade of the cross; but get away from your Master, and you will be undone.

The other word is to the unconverted. You say you do not care much about death unto sin. Well, then, there is nothing for it but you shall have your choice; if you will not have death unto sin, you shall have sin ‘unto death. There is no alternative, if you do not die to sin you shall die for sin; and if you do not slay sin, sin will slay you. As surely as you live, my unsaved hearers, you cannot harbour any sin and go to heaven. Let no man deceive you. I try to preach a very free and open gospel, and these lips have spoken ten thousand invitations to the very chief of sinners; in fact, I never seem to have a more suitable theme for myself than when I am opening mercy’s gate very wide, so as to admit the vilest of the vile; still I am bound to tell you, wide as God’s mercy is to those who are willing to give up their sins, there is not a grain of mercy in the heart of God towards that man who goeth on in his iniquities. “God is angry with the wicked every day.” Bunyan tells us he was one day playing the game of “cat” on Sunday, when a voice seemed to sound in his ears, “Wilt thou have thy sins and go to hell, or leave thy sins and go to heaven?” You have dropped into this Tabernacle, and this is the question I have to put to you, “Wilt thou leave thy sins and go to heaven, or wilt thou have thy sins and go to hell!” I know what you would prefer. You would like to have your sins and heaven too, but it is utterly impossible, not only because God forbids, but because nature forbids. You are sitting in a room with a fire tonight, and the windows are closed, and you say, “I would like to be cool;” put out the fire, then. “No, but I would like to be cool, and yet keep the fire.” It cannot be done — nature forbids. And so a lover of sin cannot be a saved soul, not because of any enmity on God’s part, but because it is contrary to nature. Sin is a poison, you cannot drink it and yet live the life of grace. If a man love sin, sin is its own punishment; to be an enemy of God is hell. Even if the flames of Gehenna could be quenched, and the pit of Tophet could be closed, yet as long as a man was out of accord with God, there must be a hell; for sin is misery, and only let it develop itself, and evil is sorrow, be it in what breast it may. You have heard of the Spartan youth who concealed a stolen fox under his garment, and although it was eating into his bowels, he would not show it, and therefore died through the creature’s bites; you are of that sort, sinner, you are carrying sin in your bosom, and it is eating out your heart. God knows what it is, and you know what it is; now you cannot keep it there and he unbitten, undestroyed. Why keep it there? O cry to God with a vehement cry, God save me from my sin! O bring me, even me, to the foot of thy Son’s cross, and forgive me, and then crucify my sin, for I see clearly now that sin must perish or I must. God give thee grace: dear hearer, not to go to bed tonight till thou hast had thy sins nailed up to Christ’s cross. The Lord grant it for his mercies’ sake. Amen.

F. THE OLD AND THE NEW MAN IN BELIEVERS[28]

By Thomas Boston

Rom6:6.—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.

The sanctification of sinners is no less a mystery than their justification: the former springing out of the cross of Christ unto them, through the intervention of faith knitting the sinner to a crucified Christ, as well as the latter. Hence the apostle, having asserted the insurance of the sanctification of believers, that they shall certainly walk in “newness of life,” Rom6:4; in “the likeness of Christ’s resurrection,” Rom6:5—i.e., as Christ, during the forty days after his resurrection, lived in the world after a new manner, very different from his manner of life in it before his death—brings the ground of it from the cross of Christ, in the words of the text. In which we have,

1. The ground insuring holiness of life in believers united to Christ: “Our old man is crucified with him.” This secures their holiness of life, in such manner as the drying up of the fountain doth the drying up of the streams.

(1.) The state of the fountain of sin is in believers, “Our old man is crucified with him.” This supposeth that Christ was crucified; that in believers there is a twofold man, a new man, and an old; for [when he says], “our old man,” he intimates that the old man is not the whole man, as in the unregenerate. The new man is the new creature of grace in the believer, or he as renewed. The old man is the corruption of nature, or he as unrenewed. This old man is the fountain of sin in his heart and life.

Now, the state it is in, is a state of crucifixion; it is nailed to the cross, which is a state of death. And its crucifixion is a con-crucifixion with Christ, Gal2:20, “I am crucified with Christ.” In so far as the believer is by faith united to Christ, his old man is nailed to the cross of Christ, to fare here as Christ fared: and that was heavy fare.

(2.) The issue of this state of the fountain of sin in believers. It is twofold.

1st, The final issue, “That the body of sin might be destroyed.”

The old man is the body of sin, being a complication of the several sinful lusts opposite to the holy law, as the body is of members competent to the human frame. Now, the final issue of this state of the old man, the body of sin, is its destruction and utter ruin. Crucifixion is not present death indeed, but it is sure and certain death. Pilate would have “chastised Christ, and released him,” Luke23:16, but the Jews would have him crucified, for that would carry him quite away from among them: even so the old man is not to be corrected and amended, but destroyed quite and clean.

2dly, The intermediate issue, “That henceforth we should not serve sin;” that from the moment of our union with Christ we should not serve sin any more, voluntarily living in it, and giving up ourselves to it as its servants, to live and act for satisfying it, as we did before. The old man may live long on the cross before he be destroyed: but then his hands and feet cannot serve him as they did before; there are nails driven through them; he may move them indeed, but then it is with pain and difficulty. So was it with Christ; he behooved to recommend his mother to the care of his beloved disciple John, for that his own hands and feet were not at liberty to act and go for her as formerly.

2. The certainty concerning this ground, “Knowing this.” It is not a matter of uncertain hope, but known for truth. It could not be known by sense; no bodily eye could discern our old man on the cross with Christ: nor yet by rational deduction from natural principles; for the whole mystery of Christ is supernatural. Therefore, it is known by faith upon divine testimony; it is a conclusion of faith to be laid down for invigorating us in all our endeavours after holiness of life, and to be firmly held and stuck by in all our struggles with the old man, as ever we would desire to make head against him.

That I may touch the several purposes of this text, I shall offer them in several doctrines to be briefly handled.

Doctrine I. There is in believers united to Christ a new man, a holy principle; and an old man, a fountain of sin.

I. Why the holy principle and the corrupt nature in believers are called the new and old man?

1. They are called men, because each of them possesseth the whole man, though not wholly. There are, by their means, two I’s in every believer, Rom7:15, “For that which I do, I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate that do I.” There is not one part of the man that is in Christ, but grace has a part of it, and corruption has a part of it: as in the twilight there is light over all, and darkness over all too, the darkness being mixed in every part with the light. So my renewed part is I, a man having an understanding enlightened, a will renewed, affections spiritualized, using my body conformably: but my unrenewed part is I too, having an understanding darkened, a will rebellious, affections corrupted, and using my body accordingly.

2. They are called the new and old man, for two reasons.

(1.) Because the new nature is brought in upon the corrupt principle, which was the first possessor. The corrupt nature is of the same standing with ourselves from the conception and birth, and possessed us alone till our union with Christ by faith. And then only came in the new nature, and that made the former old.

(2.) Because of their different originals; the one being in us from the corrupt first Adam, the other from the holy second Adam. So the believer, looking on the corruption of his nature, may call fallen Adam father; and on the new creature in him, he may call Christ father. The second Adam coming after the first, made the first old: so the produce of them in us is the old and new man accordingly.

II. How the believer comes to be thus split in two, two men. This is done by virtue of his union with Christ, from whence ariseth a communication of grace to him from Christ, 1 Cor1:30, “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” Concerning which, two things are to be noted.

1. That in the moment of one’s union with Christ by faith, there is communicated to him, out of the fulness of grace in the man Christ, a measure of every grace in him, as the wax impressed receives every point in the seal. John1:16, “And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.” Eph4:13, “Till we all come unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” And thus is the new creature formed, being a new man perfect in parts, entire or having all its members, no grace totally wanting.

Hence it is that the new man is formed immediately after Christ’s image, so that it is the very picture of the man Christ, as Eve was of Adam. Therefore, the forming of it is said to be the forming of Christ in the believer, Gal4:19.

2. That yet there is not then, nor during this life, communicated to the believer a full measure of any grace, 1 Cor13:9, “For we know in part.” So all the graces, being imperfect, though they remove sin as far as they go, they cannot fill up the room in any part, mind, will, or affections. And thus is there an old man left in the believer still, Rom7:14, which is the image of the first Adam, from whom the corruption composing it is derived.

Use 1. Hence see, that the believer’s life while here cannot miss to be a struggling life, Gal5:17, “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other; so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” The believer is like Rebekah in another case, the two men struggle in him; and like the two armies in the Shulamite.

Use 2. See here the rise of the peace and easy life of it most men have. The flesh in them has no competitor. In the state of glory, grace has all, so there is a perfect peace: in the state of nature, corruption has all, so there is peace too; except what is marred by the struggle between the flesh in one part lusting, and the flesh in another part fearing, as in Balaam, 2 Pet2:15, “who loved the wages of unrighteousness.” Compared with Num22:18, “If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the word of the Lord my God, to do less or more.” Whereas the struggle in the believer is betwixt the flesh and Spirit in the same part willing, and willing the same thing of their proper motion, Rom7:15-16 forecited.

Doctrine II. The old man in believers is a body of sin, an entire body, lacking none of its members, Rom7:24, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” This appears from the account of it already given. As we derive every grace from the second Adam in our regeneration, so every corruption from the first Adam in our natural generation.

Use 1. This may serve to humble believers, when they are at their best. There is an entire body of sin in them while they are here. Do they excel in any grace? yet there is in them a member of the old man opposite to it, as passion in weak Moses. Have they every grace in them? They have every corruption too, though every one does not appear, more than every grace. Therefore, they have need to watch against all sin whatsoever; for there is never a snare in the ill world but there is a member of the old man ready to fall in with it. Col3:6, “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness,” etc.

Use 2. No wonder the believer groans being burdened, having a whole body of sin carrying about with him. And they that groan not under it are certainly all flesh; no new man in them. If ye belong to Christ ye cannot want an errand to him for sanctification. Ye have a body of sin to lay before him, which he alone can destroy.

Doctrine III. The old man in believers is crucified with Christ. This bears two things.

I. Christ was crucified. He not only died for us, but died for us the cursed, painful, shameful, lingering death on the tree of the cross; which we are met to commemorate. Christ was put to this death for us, rather than another kind of death.

1st, That the first sin that let in all sin into the world might be the more clearly read in the punishment. When ye consider the awful and tremendous dispensation of the Son of God, the second Adam, hanging naked on a tree, and dying there at great leisure in exquisite pain, can ye miss to see the fiery wrath of God against the sin of that naked pair in paradise, pleasuring themselves in the fruit of the forbidden tree, and in an instant defacing the image of God in them?

2dly, That the whole world might see what a low and hard state Christ took on him, putting himself in our room. We were bondmen under the curse, and Christ took on him our state of servitude, and that under the curse becoming a bondman for us under the curse, Phil2:7, “He took upon him the form of a servant.” Hereof the death on the cross was the sign and badge, being the punishment of slaves, and accursed in the law. And to make way for this circumstance, the Jews were subjected to the Romans.

Use 1. Remember a crucified Christ; enter this night deep into the thought of the Son of God hanging, groaning dying on a cross for us. Admire the matchless love in it. Behold the severity of divine justice against sin in it. Prize the salvation so dearly bought, and receive it with thankfulness.

Use 2. Think it not strange, if ye have a crucified life in the world. If ye are Christians, followers of Jesus, why should ye think strange of it, to be thus conformed to your head?

II. The old man in believers is crucified together with him. Here we are to inquire how it is crucified with him; which take in the following particulars.

1. Christ hung on the cross as a public person, a representative of his spiritual seed. For he was the second Adam suffering, as the other the first Adam sinning. So that as they sinned in Adam, they suffered in Christ; the law having them all on the cross in Christ their representative, Gal2:20, “I am crucified with Christ.”

2. Christ hanging on the cross had the body of all their sins upon him, your old man, and my old man. They were on him by the imputation of the guilt of them, though not inherent in him, 2 Cor5:21, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Therefore, our old man is said to be crucified, not in him, but with him.

3. While he was hanging on the cross, he was meritoriously doing away the guilt of them, and consequently the power, pollution, and very being thereof; inasmuch as the guilt being removed, these must cease of course. For the strength of sin is the law, whereby it stakes down the sinner under the curse, 1 Cor15:56.

4. The sinner being united to Christ by faith, the merit and virtue of Christ’s suffering on the cross is actually applied to him. So that, his guilt being removed, there is a reigning principle of grace planted in him, going through the whole man, whereby the dominion of sin is broken, Rom6:14, and the pollution removed so far as that new man goes, Titus3:6. So that the believer is an image of Christ on the cross, full of grace in him, and of sin on him; but the former working of the latter.

Use 1. See then, O communicants, that the crucifying of the old man, the body of sin, in you, depends entirely on your uniting with Christ by faith. The [ordinance of the Lord’s Supper] is appointed to seal and strengthen that union. Therefore, your great business at the table should be, closely to knit with a crucified Christ. The more of that, the more will the death of sin be hastened on. And they that aim not at the destruction of sin in their communicating, while they pretend to remember a crucified Saviour, forget the end of his crucifixion, viz. that the body of sin, being crucified with him, might be destroyed.

Use 2. The old man in believers is in a state of death, though not dead outright. It is crucified with Christ. It may move and stir in them, and vehement struggles it may make, as a dying man struggling with the mortal disease: but whatever efforts it make, it is on the cross, whence it shall not come down till it breathe out its last.

Use 3. The practice of religion is painful work; and Christians must not think it strange, that ofttimes they are pained to the heart in it. The saints in glory have no pain in their work; for the old man is destroyed in them: but the saints here have an unrenewed part; and that is on the cross, and cannot but pain them. There are right eyes in them to be plucked out; the man has a painful struggle in denying himself, crossing his own inclinations, wrestling against his own flesh and blood. Providence thrusts a spear into the old man’s side, by piercing trials and troubles; it breaks his legs by cutting disappointments from many airths [quarters or locations], to forward his death. This cannot be but painful.

Use 4. The old man is long a-dying out; for crucifying is a lingering death. There must be an exercise of patience in the Christian course; for there may be many a battle ere the complete victory be got. Many a wound the old man will take ere he fall; and after he is worsted again and again, he will get up and renew the battle, till he get the final stroke from the Lord’s immediate hand.

It is a grave question, why doth the Lord suffer the old man of sin to dwell in his people after their conversion? Why is not sin quite expelled at the first entry of grace? Our text affords one weighty reason for it, viz. that the members may be conformed to the head. Christ did not put off the body of our sins, that by imputation lay on him, at his very first encounter with it: nay, he had a grievous struggle with it for the space of three hours on the cross, till he himself got the first fall, dying by its hand on the cross. Nay, if we reckon rightly, it lay heavy on him the space of thirty-three years; only upon the cross was the heat of the battle, which ended in his death and burial, whereby he put it off quite and clean. So, since imputed sin was on Christ the head all his life, inherent sin is left in believers, the members, all their life. The old man is crucified with him.

Doctrine IV. By virtue of the cross of Christ, the old man in believers shall certainly be destroyed quite and clean at length. Here we may inquire,

I. What destruction is that, that is certainly abiding the old man in believers? It is an utter destruction of it, with all effects of it, all marks and vestiges of it, all belonging with it to the old Adam.

1. The old man himself shall be destroyed, utterly destroyed, out of all that are Christ’s; so that though he has many a time trode them like a field of battle, there shall not be in them the least print of his feet to be discerned, Heb12:23, “The spirits of just men made perfect.” The day will come, when there shall not be the least guilt of it on them, to draw a frown from their Father’s face against them, (Isa33:24, “The people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity”); when it shall have no power to prevail over them in the least: nay, when it shall no more have an indwelling in them, Heb12:23forecited; but shall be utterly cast forth as an abominable branch. So the new man shall possess all alone, without a competitor for ever.

2. The sinful vile body derived from old Adam, which brought him down from Adam to us, Ps51:5, and continues to the end the best friend he has in believers, shall be destroyed for his sake. The soul shall leave the sinful flesh to be carried into the grave, where it shall rot and consume, till it return to the dust again, so as not the least lineament of old Adam’s image or likeness shall be discerned on it. And Christ will take the same dust thus purified, and form it anew after his own likeness as Second Adam, Phil3:21.

3. The visible heavens that covered him, and this earth that bore him, and furnished fuel to his lusts, shall for his sake be set on flames, and reduced to ashes, 2 Pet3:10, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burnt up.” Compare Gen3:17, “Cursed is the ground for thy sake.” So that it shall no more for ever be to be said, there is the earth where the old man some time lived, and there the heavens that gave him light and air. But Christ will make new heavens and a new earth for the new man, 2 Pet3:13, “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”

4. Lastly, All that shall remain of him shall be buried in hell, Rev20:14, “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire.” Old Adam brought in the old man into the world, and he spread his poisonous efficacy over all: so that look where ye will, ye shall not see in all this world, that in which there is not sin, or some effect of sin. But then all shall be gathered from off believers, and from off the now groaning creatures, and cast into the lake of fire; so that there shall not be the least sin, nor effect of sin, without the boundaries of hell.

II. When will the old man be thus destroyed? You will easily conceive, from what is said, that destruction will have two periods.

1. At the death of the believer, and not till then. Till then the child of God must wrestle on with it; for so did Christ with it as imputed to him, till death set him free. It is a grave question, how come believers to die, being freed from the curse of the covenant of works? Answer. They die in conformity to Christ their head; that as death came in by sin, sin may go off by death. It is not dying that does it indeed; for sin goes through death in them that are out of Christ, not moved from off them for all that death can do. But at death, Christ gives the redding stroke betwixt the new and old man, kills the old man outright, as 2 Sam1:10. And he does it, by letting in a full measure of every grace from himself into the believer, which takes up the whole man wholly; and so the old man is gone in a moment, as the darkness upon the sun’s displaying his beams over all.

2. At the end of the world. Then comes the utter abolition of all vestiges of it out of hell.

III. The certainty of it. It is even as sure as the death of Christ could merit its destruction, and as the end of his death cannot be frustrated, and as he rose again from the dead free from the imputed guilt of it, and sits in heaven today without sin so much as imputed to him.

Use. Let the saints then take courage, and renew the battle vigorously with the old man; for the victory will undoubtedly fall to their side. And as for you that are still for keeping the old man’s head and heart hale [healthy, whole]; as ye do interpretatively desire none of Christ’s cross, it is an argument ye have as little saving interest in it.

Doctrine V. In the meantime, till the old man be destroyed quite and clean by virtue of the cross of Christ, by virtue of the same cross the believer shall not be a servant to the old man more. That is the present piece of freedom from it the believer has.

1. The believer has heartily given up with him for a master. Some time he said, as Exod21:5, “I love my master,—I will not go out free.” But now he hates him mortally, and would fain be altogether free at any rate, Rom7:24, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” The very being in the house with the old man is a burden.

2. He will get no work, but forced work, off his hand more, Rom7:15, “For that which I do, I allow not,” etc. He will not yield his members to the old man voluntarily, as before, Rom6:13, “Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin.” He will never get work with whole goodwill at his hand more, but half will at most.

Use. This writes death to such as have given their hand to Christ at his table, and are ready to go back into the service of their lusts. If from henceforth ye enter not into a struggling life against sin, ye have not felt the virtue of Christ’s cross.

Doctrine VI and lastly. Believers should go out against the old man in acts of holiness, in the faith that he is a crucified man; i.e., believe your old man is crucified with Christ, and in this belief bestir yourself against him in the use of appointed means. If you believe it not, how can your hands be strong, having all to do yourself alone? But believe it firmly, and it will make you as a giant refreshed with wine.

VII. Bibliography[29]

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[1]           Leigh, Edward, Treatise of Divinity (London: 1646) I.xiii (p. 105), cited pg. 503, Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics vol. 3, by Richard Muller.

[2]           Pgs. 72-81, The Christian’s Reasonable Service, by Wilhelmus á Brakel, vol. 1.

[3]          The complete title is The Baptist Catechism, Or A Brief Instruction In the Principles Of Christian Religion, Agreeable to the Confession of Faith, put forth by the Elders and Brethren of many Congregations of Christians (baptized upon Profession of their Faith) in London and the country; owning the Doctrines of Personal Election and Final Perseverance.Elec. acc. Baptist History Collection, ver. 1. Paris, AK: Baptist Standard Bearer, 2005.

[4]           Commenting on the almost identical article on sanctification in the Westminster Confession, it was noted: “No subscriber to that stern formulary can evertain such views as are taught by the [Higher Life] theology in question” (pg. 95, “The Brighton Convention and Its Opponents.” London Quarterly Review, October 1875). That is, nobody who holds to the classical Baptist doctrine of sanctification can be an advocate the Higher Life of Keswick theology.

[5]           The Orthodox Creed is a product of the English General Baptists. Its complete title is: “An Orthodox Creed, Or A Protestant Confession of Faith, Being An Essay To Unite And Confirm All True Protestants In The Fundamental Articles Of The Christian Religion, Against The Errors and Heresies Of Rome.” Note that the General Baptists who produced the Orthodox Creed were neither defenders of TULIP Calvinism nor were they Arminians—Article 18 of the Creed states: “God’s love is manifest to all mankind, in that he is not willing, as himself hath sworn, and abundantly declared in his word, that mankind should perish eternally, but would have all to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth. And Christ died for all men, and there is a sufficiency in his death and merits for the sins of the whole world, and hath appointed the gospel to be preached unto all, and hath sent forth his Spirit to accompany the word, in order to beget repentance and faith: so that if any do perish, it’s not for want of the means of grace manifested by Christ to them, but for the nonimprovement of the grace of God, offered freely to them through Christ in the gospel.” Thus, limited atonement is rejected. Likewise, Article 36 of the Creed affirms the eternal security of the believer, that those “justified by faith do receive such a measure of the holy unction, from the holy spirit, [that] they shall certainly persevere unto eternal life.”

[6]          Cited pgs. 258-262, 427-436, Minutes of the Philadelphia Baptist Association, A. D. Gillette. Elec. acc. Baptist History Collection, ver. 1. Paris, AK: Baptist Standard Bearer, 2005.

[7]          That is, addresses full of pathos.

[8]          Pgs. 8-14, Chapter 37, “Sanctification,” Abstract of Systematic Theology. Elec. acc. in Christian Library Series, vol. 17: Systematic Theologies, AGES Library, Rio, WI: 2006. Boyce was the first president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

[9]          Note that this means of sanctification is impossible for those who are not part of true churches. Those who reject Biblical Baptist churches for religious organizations of human origin, such as Roman Catholicism, Eastern Catholicism, and all Protestant denominations, greatly hinder their sanctification. See “Bible Study #7: The Church of Jesus Christ” at http://sites.google.com/site/thross7.

[10]         See “Bible Truths for Catholic Friends” at http://sites.google.com/site/thross7 for a Biblical evaluation of Roman Catholicism.

[11]        Boyce notes: “See statements and extracts from the Canons of the Council of Trent, and from Bellarmine, contained in Hodge’s Outlines, pp. 597-600.”

[12]         Boyce notes: “Hodge’s Sys. Theol., vol. 3, p. 512.”

[13]        Boyce here speaks specifically of the doctrine of Reformed denominations. Baptists are not Protestants and, as Boyce effectively explains, they reject the idea of sacraments.

[14]         Boyce cites: Hodge’s Sys. Theol., vol. 3, p. 499.

[15]         Boyce cites: Westminster Confess., ch. 27, sec. 1.

[16]         Boyce cites:West. Conf., ch. 27, sec. III.

[17]         The use of the word “seal” (sphragis) in Romans 4:11 for the already justified and already believing Abraham by no means supports the Reformed sacramental notion that infant baptism is a vehicle of conveying saving grace, that through baptism grace is “conferred by the Holy Ghost” to the elect (Westminster Confession of Faith, Article 28). Since Romans 4:11 is the only verse in Scripture that could with any plausibility be used to support the Reformed view, its advocates argue from this text that circumcision is a “seal” of grace, that their sacrament of infant baptism is equivalent to circumcision, and that, therefore, infant baptism seals or conveys grace to their infants. This argument breaks down at many points. First, the verse does not say that circumcision was a seal of grace to Jewish male infants. While circumcision was a “sign” by nature, it is not affirmed to have been a “seal” to all, but only personally to believing Abraham, who received it when he had already been justified by faith. A recognition of this distinction in Romans 4:11 explains the Old Testament use of the word “sign” or “token” (Hebrew ‘oth) in connection with circumcision (Genesis 17:11) but the complete absence of references in the Old Testament to the ceremony as a “seal.” Second, the New Testament does not equate circumcision with baptism or state that the latter replaces the former. Third, the Biblical immersion of believers has nothing to do with the ceremonial application of water to infants that Catholics and Protestants claim is baptism. Fourth, when advocates of Reformed theology and other Protestants speak of baptism as a “seal” or vehicle of grace, they use the word in a sense entirely absent in Scripture. None of the appearances of the word “seal” (sphragis) in the New Testament indicate that grace is conveyed through a “seal” (Romans 4:11; 1 Corinthians 9:2; 2 Timothy 2:19; Revelation 5:1-2, 5, 9; 6:1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 12; 7:2; 8:1; 9:4). Both those who think that infant baptism was the instrument of their receiving forgiveness and those who think that they received the sacrament as confirmation and evidence that they were already regenerated in the womb are underneath a terrible spiritual delusion. They will certainly be damned unless they recognize that their unbiblical religious ceremony did nothing beneficial for them, admit they are still lost, and then repent and believe the gospel.

[18]        The heresy of baptismal regeneration is refuted by the book Heaven Only for the Baptized? The Gospel of Christ vs. Baptismal Regeneration, by Thomas Ross, elec. acc. http://sites.google.com/site/thross7. Note also “The Truth of Salvation for Reformed Friends” and “Were the Reformers Heretics? Their Theology of Baptism and Other Topics Analyzed,” on the same website.

[19]        Boyce cites: Hodge’s “Syst. Theology,” vol. 3, p. 555.

[20]         Book 4:2, pg. 448. Elec. acc. AGES Digital Software Library, Christian Library Series vol. 9. Rio, WI: 2005.

[21]         Pgs. 357-358. Elec. acc. AGES Digital Software Library, Christian Library Series vol. 18. Rio, WI: 2006.

[22]         Many other writers have given helpful definitions of holiness. For example, Stephen Charnock wrote concerning the Divine holiness of which the believer becomes a partaker:

The holiness of God negatively is a perfect and [entire] freedom from all evil. As we call gold pure that is not imbased by any dross, and that garment clean that is free from any spot, so the nature of God is estranged from all shadow of evil, all imaginable contagion.

Positively, it is the rectitude or integrity of the divine nature, or that conformity of it in affection and action to the divine will as to his eternal law, whereby he works with a becomingness to his own excellency, and whereby he hath a delight and complacency in everything agreeable to his will, and an abhorrency of everything contrary thereunto. (“A Discourse Upon The Holiness of God,” in The Existence and Attributes of God, Stephen Charnock, vol. 2.)

Similarly, Richard Muller, summarizing the orthodox doctrine of the believer’s participation in the Divine holiness, wrote:

[I]n relation to creatures . . . [i]n a negative sense, holiness indicates separation from what is low and base. . . . In a positive sense, holiness may be defined as the purity or the moral goodness of a thing, so that holiness in man is that virtue whereby he giveth and yieldeth himself to God, in doing all for and to Him, in regard of which, the actions he does are acceptable to God. The foundation of all moral good is in God’s goodness and holiness, therefore [human holiness] can also be called the brightest part of the image of God in man.

Human holiness, then, consists in conformity unto God, to the attainment of the divine likeness, and, specifically, in the application of our minds and actions to God. This conformity, moreover, is a conformity both to the nature and to the will of God. The believer is a partaker of God’s nature in the sense that his life embodies an analogical resemblance to God both in the attributes that we have as created and regenerate in God’s image, patience, mercy, justice, faithfulness, truth, love; and in the affections that we display when we love what God loves, when we hate what God hates, when what pleases God pleases us also. Conformity to the will of God . . . is a conformity to [His] external will signified by His Word, [so that] every action of man is holy or unholy, according to its conformity with or variation from this will. (pg. 502, Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics, vol. 3: The Divine Essence and Attributes, by Richard Muller. Quotations from other sources have been removed and other minor changes made.)

[23]         “The Nature of True Holiness Explained In a Discourse [on Hebrews 12:14], Delivered at a Monthy Exercise of Prayer, with a Sermon, on the Twentieth of April, 1749,” John Brine. London: John Ward. Sermon #11. Elec. acc. The Collected Writings of John Gill, v. 2.0. Paris, AK: Baptist Standard Bearer, 2003. Only excerpts from Brine’s sermon, giving its main outline and a summary of its content, are reprinted here.

[24]         Compare Appendix C, “The Means Of Sanctification,” James Petigru Boyce.

[25]         Shedd considers a division in anthropology of the acts of the soul into the will and understanding superior to a division into understanding, will, and affections. He wrote (Dogmatic Theology: Anthropology, Chapter 3, pgs. 1-9):

[M]uch depends upon the definition of the Will; whether it be taken in a wide, or in a narrow sense. The elder psychology divides the powers of the soul into Understanding and Will; the later psychology divides them into Intellect, Sensibility, and Will. The former includes the moral affections and desires in the Will; the latter excludes them from it. For the former, inclination is the principal characteristic of voluntariness; for the latter, volition is the principal characteristic. In classifying the powers of the soul under two modes, it is not meant that there is a division of the soul into two parts. The whole soul as cognizing, is the understanding; and the whole soul as inclining, is the will. . . . We regard the elder psychology as correct, in including the moral desires and affections in the total action of the will, and in making two faculties of the soul: namely, understanding and will.

The Understanding is the cognitive faculty or mode of the soul. It comprises the intellect and the conscience. These are percipient and preceptive powers. They are destitute of desire and inclination; and they are not self-determining and executive powers. The intellect perceives what ought to be done, and the conscience commands what ought to be done, but they never do anything themselves. They do not incline to an end. . . . The Will is that faculty or mode of the soul which self-determines, inclines, desires, and chooses in reference to moral and religious objects and ends. These objects and ends are all centred and summed up in God. We say moral and religious objects and ends, because there is a class of propensities and desires that refer to non-moral and nonreligious objects. They are the natural or instinctive desires[.] . . . Speaking generally, the voluntary and moral desires relate to God. They are either inclined or averse to him; they are either love or hatred. . . .

The elder theologians include the moral and religious desires and affections in the Will. Edwards (Affections, in initio) states the view in the following terms: “The will and the affections of the soul are not two faculties; the affections are not essentially distinct from the will, nor do they differ from the mere actings of the will and inclination of the soul, but only in the liveliness and sensibleness of exercise.” Again he says (Will, III. iv.), “The affections are only certain modes of the exercise of the will.” “The inclination of the will is a leading act of the will.” In this sense of the term “will,” the religious affections are voluntary affections. Edwards identifies the will with the heart, and contradistinguishes it from the understanding. “In the former case, is exercised merely the speculative faculty, or the understanding strictly so called, in distinction from the will or disposition of the soul. In the latter, the will, or inclination, or heart, is mainly concerned.” . . .

The will, unlike the understanding, is mutable. It is capable of a radical and total change, or revolution. It has met with such a change in the apostasy of Adam. Man now is inclined exactly contrary to what he was by creation. In respect to moral and religions ends and objects, he inclines, desires, loves, and acts directly contrary to what he did when he came from the Creator’s hand. This great change is denominated a “fall.” It is an overthrow, a catastrophe. It is not a mere difference in the degree or intensity with which the will operates, but it is an entire alteration of the direction of its activity. The fall of the will was a revolution, not an evolution.

The elder psychology, by regarding the moral desires and affections as modes of the inclination of the will brings them within the sphere of responsibility . . . Moral desires and affections are the self-activity of the will; its inclination and tendency showing itself in the phases of love or hatred of God; of desire or aversion towards goodness. . . .

The recent psychology distributes the faculties of the soul into three divisions: Intellect, Sensibility, and Will. [An] objection [among others to this classification [is that] . . . moral desires and religious affections must, if anywhere, be included under the Sensibility, by this arrangement. But this is too narrow and shallow a term, to denote those profound feelings, desires, and inclinations that relate to religion. “Sensibility,” by its etymology, refers us to the five senses. Properly speaking, it comprises only sensuous feelings and desires. Hence it is wholly inadequate to denote feelings and desires that have no connection at all with the five senses: such as the holy affections of reverence, faith, hope, humility, joy, peace, love; or the sinful affections of pride, envy, malice, hatred, and the like. . . .

In the Biblical psychology, the will comprehends the heart. It comprises all that moral activity of the soul which is manifested in loving, hating, inclining, desiring, purposing, seeking, repenting, turning, delighting, trusting, hoping, believing. Each and all of these affections are phases of the will. They are modes of a man’s inclination and self-determination. If they are conformed to the moral law, they are right affections, and the will is a holy will. If they are contrary to the moral law, they are evil affections, and the will is a sinful will. This species of psychical activity is not intellectual and percipient, but affectionate and executive.

[26]        Sermon #882, delivered on Sunday Evening, April 11, 1809, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington. The portion of Scripture read before the sermon was Romans 6. Brackets in the text define a few rarely used words in both this sermon by Spurgeon and the sermon that follows it by Thomas Boston.

[27]        It should be noted that this is not the teaching of 1 John 3:9, which is an affirmation that the Christian is unable to practice a lifestyle of sin, because the dominion of sin has been broken in him. “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin [as a lifestyle, Gk. “is not doing/practicing sin”]; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin [as a practice of life, Gk. “he is not able to be sinning”], because he is born of God. pa◊ß oJ gegennhme÷noß e˙k touv Qeouv aJmarti÷an ouj poiei√, o¢ti spe÷rma aujtouv e˙n aujtwˆ◊ me÷nei: kai« ouj du/natai aJmarta¿nein, o¢ti e˙k touv Qeouv gege÷nnhtai. 1 John 3:9 is not an affirmation about a certain portion of the Christian, but about the Christian himself—because he has a new nature, he as a person cannot continue in the permanent practice of sin. However, there is a sense in which this sentence of Spurgeon’s statement contains truth, in that what the believer has that comes directly from the hand of God is itself perfectly pure and holy, as God cannot sin, nor lead into sin or create sin in any man.

[28]         The Puritan Thomas Boston preached this insightful sermon on Romans 6:6 at a time the Lord’s Supper was being celebrated at Maxton, in A. D. 1729. The text is from Boston’s Works, vol. 6, pgs. 319-327; elec. acc. Encyclopedia Puritannica Project CD. Bealton, VA: 2006. The content of the sermon is, overall, excellent, although Scripture does not call the Supper a sacrament, but an ordinance (1 Corinthians 11:2, 17ff.). Thus, the word “sacrament” has been replaced in the text of the sermon with Biblical terminology. Replacements have been indicated by brackets, which also, as indicated in a footnote on the Spurgeon sermon above, follow and define a few rarely used words.

[29]         The inclusion of a work in this bibliography is by no means an endorsement of its contents or its theological position. Mentioning all the theological and other errors of those included in the bibliography, from the annihilationism of the Anglican minister Hughes, (The True Image, pgs. 394-407), to Bacchiocchi’s Seventh Day Adventist heresies, to the baptismal regeneration of Alford, to the theological modernism of authors of lexica such as BDAG and writers such as J. Vyrnwy Morgan, to the antinomianism of Hodges, to the questionable historical reconstructions found sometimes in the woman minister Henrie, would be difficult. This author believes that a separatist, militant, historic Baptist perspective correctly represents the position of Scripture, and the theology presented in a systematic theology such as Robert Sargent’s Landmarks of Baptist Doctrine is very close to that of the Bible.

In relation to the points of the TULIP of Calvinism, Scripture teaches that man is pervasively and awfully depraved in his entire being before regeneration (Ephesians 2:1-3; Genesis 6:5), and nobody will exercise saving faith without the enablement of grace (John 6:44; Romans 3:11). Nevertheless, prevenient grace is given to all men (John 12:32) to enable them to respond to the gospel positively and receive the gifts of repentance and faith (2 Timothy 2:25; Philippians 1:29) from the Spirit through the Word (Romans 10:17) since God is not willing that any perish (2 Peter 3:9; 1 Timothy 2:4). Personal election to salvation (cf. Romans 16:13) is based upon foreknowledge (1 Peter 1:2), which is not synonymous with foreordination. While there is a special sense in which Christ died for “me” (Galatians 2:20), for the congregation of immersed believers (Ephesians 5:25), and for the elect (Romans 8:32), Scripture plainly states that Christ died for all men (1 John 2:2; 1 Timothy 2:6) including specifically those who are never born again (2 Peter 2:1). The grace of God is resistible, not irresistible (Acts 7:51; Matthew 23:37). All believers are eternally secure and are preserved by the power of God from both hell and the domination of sin (John 10:27-30), so that no regenerate person ever can be eternally lost (Romans 8:28-39) or, during his earthly life, totally unchanged and exactly like the unregenerate (Ephesians 2:10).

John 12:32 affirms that the Lord Jesus draws “all men” to Himself, employing the same verb for drawing (eºlkw) as that which is employed to state that nobody can come to Christ without being drawn (John 6:44). The Calvinist contention that John 12:32 should be altered to affirm that Christ draws not “all men,” but “all the elect,” is purely gratuitous. There is no exegetical or syntactical basis whatsoever for changing the “all men” of John 12:32 to “all the elect,” nor does any similar text with pa◊ß provide exegetical support for such an alteration—the Calvinist view of John 12:32 is eisegesis, not exegesis. On the other hand, there are sound exegetical reasons for supplying “men” with the “all” in John 12:32 and many other texts with the like syntax—including, it is worthy of note, every related text in John’s gospel (compare John 1:7 & 9; John 2:24 & 2:25; John 3:26 & 27; John 5:23 & 5:21-22; John 11:48 & 12:19; John 13:35 & 17:21; also Luke 9:23 & 25; Acts 21:28 & 22:15; Romans 16:19 & 1:8; Ephesians 3:9 & 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 3:12 & 5:14-15; 2 Timothy 2:24 & 2 Timothy 2:25-26; 1 Timothy 2:4; Titus 3:2; 1 Peter 2:17 & 2:15; etc.)

Furthermore, there is no evidence in the New Testament or in extrabiblical Koiné that the noun foreknow (pro/gnwsiß) or the verb to foreknow (proginw¿skw) mean anything other than precognition. The Calvinist contention that the words really signify predetermine or something of the sort are arbitrary, and no such meaning for the word appears in the Liddell-Scott Greek lexicon, since in that work theology is not driving the meaning assigned to these words. In all the clear instances, the words simply signify precognition, and no text requires a different meaning, either in the NT (Acts 2:23; 1 Peter 1:2, pro/gnwsiß, Acts 26:5; Romans 8:29; 11:2; 1 Peter 1:20 (the perfect tense probably explains the translation in the KJV); 2 Peter 3:17, proginw¿skw), the LXX (Judith 9:6; 11:19, pro/gnwsiß, Wisdom 6:13; 8:8; 18:6, proginw¿skw), or elsewhere (cf. 1 Clement 44:2; 2 Irenaeus, Against Heresies 32:4; Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho 1:39, 92, 134; Josephus, Antiquities 8:234, 418; 13:300; 15:373; 17:43; 18:201; Apion 1:232, pro/gnwsiß, Shepherd of Hermas 31:4; 66:5, Apology of Justin 1:28, 43, 45, 49, 53; Trypho 1:42, 70, 77, 140–141; Athenagoras, Resurrection 1:2; Josephus, Antiquities 1:311; 2:86; 4:121; 5:358; 6:54, 348; 7:57; 8:419; 13:175; 16:214; 18:218; War 1:55, 608; 2:159; 3:484; 4:236; 6:8; Life 1:106; Apion 1:204, 256; Pseudo-Hecateus 6:23; proginw¿skw). Nor is it valid for the Calvinist to assume that senses of other words, such as know, uniformly transfer to the noun and verb foreknow (by such reasoning, bapti÷zw could be made to signify “to dye” because the verb derives from ba÷ptw, which has this meaning); rather than making such an assumption, the actual words for foreknow, which are common enough, must themselves be analyzed. While John 15:16, isolated from other texts of Scripture, is certainly consistent with an unconditional personal election to salvation, it does not require such a doctrine, even if one assumes that election to salvation, rather than the election of the twelve to their apostolic office, is in view. The syntax “ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” while it certainly places the emphasis upon God’s choice of man, does not require the exclusion of all activity on the part of humanity any more than Paul’s “the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do” (Romans 7:19) means that Paul did no good at all, or the statement that “it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you” (Matthew 10:20; Mark 13:11) excludes human speech entirely.

Furthermore, while regeneration and faith are temporally simultaneous, the new birth is logically subsequent to faith (cf. John 3:1-21). Scripture neither teaches the soteriology of Arminianism nor of TULIP Calvinism. Furthermore, statements advocating baptismal regeneration by Calvin must be unequivocably repudiated and anathematized (Galatians 1:8-9). Calvin taught:   “God, regenerating us in baptism, ingrafts us into the fellowship of his Church, and makes us his by adoption . . . whatever time we are baptized, we are washed and purified . . . forgiveness . . . at our first regeneration we receive by baptism alone . . . forgiveness has reference to baptism. . . . In baptism, the Lord promises forgiveness of sins” (Institutes,4:17:1, 4:15:3, 4, 15). “We assert that the whole guilt of sin is taken away in baptism, so that the remains of sin still existing are not imputed. . . . Nothing is plainer than this doctrine” (1547 Antidote to the Council of Trent, Reply to the 1st Decree of the 5th Session). Note the discussion in “Were the Reformers Heretics?” and Heaven Only For the Baptized? by Thomas Ross, http://sites.google.com/site/thross7, in “Paedobaptism and Baptimal Efficacy,” Rich Lusk, The Federal Vision, ed. Steve Wilkins & Duane Garner. (Monroe, LA: Athanasius, 2004), and in “Regeneration: A Crux Interpretum,” David R. Anderson. Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society 13:2 (Autumn 00) 43-65. Some advocates of Reformed theology follow Calvin in his error of baptismal regeneration (e. g., “The Bible teaches us that baptism unites us to Christ,” pg. 55, The Federal Vision; cf. pgs. 89ff., while others reject his doctrine and attempt to explain his statements away (e. g., James J. Cassidy, “Calvin on Baptism: Baptismal Regeneration or the Duplex Loquendi Modus? pgs. 534-554 in Resurrection and Eschatology: Theology in Service of the Church, ed. Lane G. Tipton & Jeffrey C. Waddington. Cassidy nonetheless has to admit (pg. 546): “[T]here are some quotations that make us scratch our heads and wonder whether [Calvin] did not, in fact, believe in baptismal regeneration”). Baptismal regeneration as the view of the Westminster Standards is advocated by modern Reformed writers in Reformed Is Not Enough, Doug Wilson (Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2002) pgs. 103-104; Lusk, Federal Vision, pgs. 96-99, etc.

Many Calvinists also hold the dangerous soteriological error, based on their view that regeneration preceeds faith, that infants and others may be regenerated, grow up, and go to heaven, without ever conciously coming to a recognition of their lost estate and consiously, for the first time, repenting and believing the gospel. Thus, for instance, John Murray affirmed: “Baptised infants are to be received as the children of God and treated accordingly,” citing the Directory of the Public Worship of God prepared by the Westminster Assembly, which affirmed: “The seed and posterity of the faithful, born within the church have, by their birth, interest in the covenant . . . they are Christians” (pg. 56, Christian Baptism, John Murray. (Philipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1980). Many others even repudiate the necessity of any kind of experimental religion (cf. the discussion in “Historic Calvinism and Neo-Calvinism,” William Young. Westminster Theological Journal 36:1 (Fall 1973) 48-65 & 36:2 (Winter 1974) 156-173, and the related discussion in “Edwardsean Preparation For Salvation,” John H. Gerstner & Jonathan Neil Gerstner, Westminster Theological Journal 42:1 (Fall 1979) 5-71). Thus, while it is true that in exceptional and very unusual situations, such as a believer who suffers a mental disease and loses his memory of thirty years of his life, including that portion in which he was converted, when the Reformed affirmed “against the Anabaptists . . . that believers did not have to know, and could not always know, the time of their regeneration” (pg. 74, Reformed Dogmatics, Herman Bavinck, J. Bolt, & J. Vriend, vol. 4: Holy Spirit, Church, and New Creation. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2008), they placed themselves on very dangerous ground.

[30]         The edition of 1871 is somewhat abridged and rewritten from the 1858 edition; page numbers to quotations from The Higher Christian Life are, therefore, different in the different editions.

[31]         The author is a great-granddaughter of Hannah W. Smith, and her book is “based mainly on the vast and fascinating family archives which [she] inherited” (pg. 9).

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