Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Holiness; 2. Sanctification (third point and chapter completion), JC Ryle

In the second chapter, bishop Ryle brings us to Sanctification. He works through three sub-topics and several sub-topics within these three sub-topics. The three are: I. The True Nature of Sanctification; II. The Visible Marks of Sanctification; III. Wherein justification and sanctification agree and are like one another, and wherein they differ and are unlike.

In his third point, the distinction between justification and sanctification, the Bishop shares his view of the 'similarities and differences' of justification and sanctification. I found this very helpful. So I shall touch on what he wrote here but not in detail.

- They are alike as:
1) Both proceed originally from the free grace of God
2) Both are part of that great work of salvation
3) Both are to be found in the same persons
4) Both begin at the same time
5) Both are alike necessary to salvation

- They differ as:
1) Justification is the reckoning; Sanctification is the actual making
2) The righteousness we have by our justification is not our own; The righteousness we have by sanctificatiom is our own righteousness . . . BUT mingled with much infirmity and imperfection
3) In justification our own works have no place at all; in sanctification our own works are of vast importance . . .
4) Justification is a finished and complete work; Sanctification is an imperfect work, comparatively, and will never be perfected until we reach heaven
5) Justification admits of no growth or increase; Sanctification is eminently a progressive work
6) Justification has special reference to our persons, our standing in God's sight. And our deliverance from guilt. Sanctification has special reference to our natures, and the moral renewals of our hearts
7) Justification gives us our title in heaven, and boldness to enter in; Sanctification gives us our meetness for heaven, and prepares us to enjoy it when we dwell there
8) Justification is the act of God about us, and not easily discerned by others; Sanctification is the work of God within us, cannot be hid in its outward manifestation from the yes of men

The Bishop writes, "It can never be too strongly impressed on our minds that they are two seperate things."

*Application* "What practical reflections ought the whole matter to raise in our minds,?"
1) Let us all awake to a sense of the perilous state of many professing Christians (Heb. 12:14); "Oh that preachers and teachers would open their eyes and realize the condition of souls around them!"
2) Let us make sure of our own condition, AND never rest till we feel and know that we are "sanctified" ourselves
3) We must begin with Christ
4) If we grow in holiness . . ., we must continually go on as we began (Eph. 4:16); "Believers who seem at a standstill are generally neglecting close communion with Jesus". Jesus is "willing to help everyone who by faith applies to Him for help, and desires to be made more holy."
5) Let us not expect too much from our own hearts here below. The more light we have, the more we shall see our own imperfection. "Sinners we were when we began, sinners we shall find ourselves as we go on; renewed, pardoned, justified - yet sinners to the very last."
6) Let us never be ashamed of making much of sanctification, AND contending for a high standard of holiness; . . . - let us stand fast in the old paths, follow after eminent holiness ourselves, and receommend it boldly yo others.

Bishop Ryle goes on to close by stating, "the man who gets through life most comfortably is the sanctified man." He is not saying there will be no trials, difficulties,etc, but that your perspective and ability to endure it is more fully prepared as you continue to walk, grow and be sanctified (Prov. 3:17; Psm. 119:165; Mt. 11:30; Isa. 48:22).

He closes with a P. S. and recommends Mr. John Owen's writing on "The Holy Spirit" which offers greater depth of this subkect matter.

Tolle Lege


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