The life of those who dwell in the secret place of the Most High may be called a Hidden Life, because the animating principle, the vital or operative element, is not so much in itself as in another. It is a life grafted into another life. It is the life of the soul, incorporated into the life of Christ; and in such a way, that, while it has a distinct vitality, it has so very much in the sense, in which the branch of a tree may be said to have a distinct vitality from the root.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Justification and Sanctification Distinguished (Part 1)

We propose to delay a few moments for the purpose of considering the relation between Sanctification and Justification.

Among other grounds of distinction between the two, it may be remarked that justification, while it does not exclude the present, has special reference to the past, and does not appear to have that prospective bearing which sanctification has. Sanctification, on the contrary, starting on the basis of justification, and regarding the past as cancelled and settled in the justificatory application of the Atonement, has practically an exclusive reference to the present and future.  Justification inquires, How shall the sin which is past be forgiven? Sanctification inquires, How shall we be kept from sin in time to come? Considered, therefore, in their relation to time, there is good reason for saying that they ought not to be confounded together.

Another mark of difference is this. Justification, in its result upon individuals, removes the condemnatory power or guilt of sin; while sanctification removes the power of sin itself.  He, who is justified, no longer stands in a state of condemnation, in relation to all those past sins, from which he is justified; but he that is sanctified, just in proportion that he is so, is freed from the influence of that which brings condemnation, viz. sin itself. Or the distinction may be concisely expressed in other terms, amounting essentially to the same thing, as follows. The object of justification, considered in reference to the, law, is to free us from condemnation. The object of sanctification, considered in reference to the law, is to secure conformity to it.

Justification and sanctification are distinct, also, when considered in the order in which they present themselves, as subjects of thought and interest, to the human mind. It is very obvious that, in the first instance, they present themselves consecutively and separately, and not simultaneously and identically. It is not the first cry of the sinner, that he may be sanctified, but  that  he may be forgiven. It is his past sins which stare him in the face. It is his past sins which must be washed away. And until this is done, and at the feet of Jesus he has received the remission of his transgressions, he has no other desire, no other thought. But  when he has experienced a release from the bitter memory of the past, and has felt the rising hope of forgiveness, and not till then, is his mind occupied with the distinct subject of the reality, the obligation, and the blessedness of a holy heart, in all time to come.

The Interior or Hidden Life (1844), Part 2, Chapter 1.

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