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Archive for June 18th, 2010

Sanctification is that inward spiritual work which the Lord Jesus Christ works in a man by the Holy Ghost, when He calls him to be a true believer.

He not only washes him from his sins in His own blood, but He also separates him from his natural love of sin and the world, puts a new principle in his heart and makes him practically godly in life.

The instrument by which the Spirit effects this work is generally the Word of God, though He sometimes uses afflictions and providential visitations ‘without the Word’ (1 Peter 3:1).

Sanctification … is the invariable result of that vital union with Christ which true faith gives to a Christian. ‘He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit’ (John 15:5).

Sanctification … is the outcome and inseparable consequence of regeneration. He that is born again and made a new creature receives a new nature and a new principle and always lives a new life.

Sanctification … is the only certain evidence of that indwelling of the Holy Spirit which is essential to salvation.

Sanctification … is the only sure mark of God’s election. … It is expressly written that they are ‘elect through sanctification’; ‘chosen to salvation through sanctification’; ‘predestinated to be conformed to the image of God’s Son’, and ‘chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world that they should be holy’. Hence, when St Paul saw the working ‘faith’ and labouring ‘love’ and patient ‘hope’ of the Thessalonian believers, he says, ‘I know your election of God’ (1 Peter 1:2; 2 Thess. 2:13; Rom. 8:29; Eph. 1:4; 1 Thess. 1:3,4).

Sanctification … is a thing which depends greatly on a diligent use of scriptural means. When I speak of ‘means’, I have in view Bible reading, private prayer, regular attendance on public worship, regular hearing of God’s Word and regular reception of the Lord’s Supper. I lay it down as a simple matter of fact, that no one who is careless about such things must ever expect to make much progress in sanctification. I can find no record of any eminent saint who ever neglected them. They are appointed channels through which the Holy Spirit conveys fresh supplies of grace to the soul, and strengthens the work which He has begun in the inward man.

Sanctification … pleases God. This may seem wonderful, and yet it is true. The holiest actions of the holiest saint that ever lived are all more or less full of defects and imperfections. They are either wrong in their motive or defective in their performance, and in themselves are nothing better than ‘splendid sins’, deserving God’s wrath and condemnation. … however, the Bible distinctly teaches that the holy actions of a sanctified man, although imperfect, are pleasing in the sight of God. … Let this never be forgotten, for it is a very comfortable doctrine. … our Father in heaven pleased with the poor performances of His believing children. He looks at the motive, principle and intention of their actions, and not merely at their quantity and quality.

Sanctification … is absolutely necessary, in order to train and prepare us for heaven. … To be really happy in heaven, it is clear and plain that we must be somewhat trained and made ready for heaven while we are on earth. … The favourite idea of many, that dying men need nothing except absolution and forgiveness of sins to fit them for their great change, is a profound delusion.

source: J.C. Ryle “Holiness’” (Chapter 2: Sanctification)

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The Puritans

I am so thankful for my puritan teachers from the 1600s A.D. They have pastored me in sickness and health and I trust God will continue to use them in my life as long as he gives breath to my lungs.

The Puritans believed that people were utterly dependent upon God for salvation. Like Augustine and Calvin they regarded people as sinners, unwilling and unable to come to God apart from God’s gracious initiative.

Puritan pastors in England were profoundly influenced by the writings and ministry of Calvin, and any mention of the beliefs of the Puritans must include the importance of the sovereignty of God in salvation, the ordering of one’s life by biblical precept and the need for the church to worship God only as He had commanded in Scripture. They especially emphasised the sabbath, family worship and encouraged personal acts of mercy to the sick and dying.

The Puritans advocated a "plain style" of preaching, as exemplified in the sermons of William Perkins (1558 – 1602), which was consciously designed to point out simply the broad way of destruction and the strait gate to heaven.

At the heart of Puritanism was their fountain of knowledge, the Geneva Bible, which became the Bible of the English-speaking world (until the rise of the KJV). Once it was translated into English, every family of Puritan convictions tried to obtain a copy. William Winthrop is said to have sold the old organs of the church and used the proceeds to order copies of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs and a copy of Calvin’s Institutes to be kept in the church.

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