On Sanctification

Transcription of an article in the Primitive Methodist Magazine where Hugh Bourne explores the subject of Sanctification through a question and answer dialogue.

Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the Lord your God. And ye shall keep my statutes, and do them: I am the Lord which sanctify you. Lev. xx. 7, 8. 

P. Pray, sir, when does a man’s sanctification begin?

M. Why, I suppose, when he himself takes it upon him to begin it.

P. What is it to be sanctified? or what is sanctification ?

M. The Greek words in the new testament are, AGIAZO, to sanctify or set apart; and AGIASMOS, sanctification, or the state of being set apart or sanctified. And the Hebrew word KADASH, or KODESH, has exactly the same meaning. A man might sanctify his house, or his field,* or any of his cattle; or he might sanctify himself. The word of the Lord in Lev. xx. 7, 8, is, “Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the Lord your God. And ye shall keep my statutes and do them: I am the Lord which sanctify you.”

P. Why that scripture shows it to be a joint work, a work of both God and man.

M. So is every work that is by faith. And if a man never sanctifies himself, God will never sanctify him; unless it be as in the case of Jeremiah, whom the Lord sanctified before he came forth out of the womb, Jer. i. 5.

P. Are sanctification and purification one and the same thing?

M. Turn to 1 Cor, vi. 11, and read for yourself.

P. “But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified.”—’They are quite distinct, sir. But I should like a little more light on the subject.

M. Why, there are those sacramental vessels; one person is employed in washing them; and another in putting them to their proper uses. So you may say, one is employed in the work of purlfication, and the other in that of sanctification.

P. Truly, the distinction is clear.

M. Yes, and a penitent must set himself apart to God to the utmost of his power; or in other words, sanctify himself, otherwise he will do no good.

P. But, sir, I am of opinion that a penitent, before he has obtained justification by faith, is not able to sanctify himself wholly. And if it were pressed upon him, he would say, “To will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not,” Rom. vii. 18.

M. But he must go to the extent of his power.

P. Yes, but it is well to press him into justification by faith; and that will make a different matter of it. He will have peace with God, and power over sin. He will be born again. He will be a new creature. He will be the workmanship of God, “created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them,” Ephes. ii. 10. His faith will be full, and clear, and perfect; and power will rise in his soul like the sun in its strength.

M. Very well, sir, go on.

P. Why, sir, having the love of God shed abroad in his heart, the law is fulfilled in him; and even if he has not heard the term sanctification mentioned, he will nevertheless set himself apart to God wholly; the law of God being written in his heart by the Lord himself, he will show the work of the law written on his heart.

M. But you do not mean him to be sanctified wholly, till after he be justified by faith, do you?

P. No, but it does not depend on time, but on faith; and therefore it does not need to be delayed.

M. But when a man is justified by faith, is there not a further work?

P. To be sure there is. You may notice that while Peter was preaching to the many in Cornelius’s house, the Holy Ghost fell on all them that heard the word, Acts x. 27,44. And in Acts xv. 8, 9, Peter said, “God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us: and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.” Now you know how Peter and his fellows received the Holy Ghost, they were filled with it; and here you see that these Gentiles were also filled with the Holy Ghost, under the sermon Peter preached to them.

M. Why man was created to be a temple of the living God; and if he be filled with the Holy Ghost, he is complete and perfect; there can be no room for sin. Such temple must indeed be purified. And it shows the great power the Lord puts upon faith. But there is another point. If a man be filled with the Holy Ghost, what can he have more or further? And how is it that he can grow in grace? How can there be a further work?

P. Why that is one of the plainest things in the world. The people in Cornelius’s house had a fulness of the Spirit; but the same measure would not fill them on a future day, because their hearts would be enlarged. So they would need entire sanctification and all other graces to be preached to them, in order that they might keep up, might grow in grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

M. Well, you have cleared your way. For that which filleth a vessel at first, will not fill it if it be enlarged. So you have very fully and clearly shown the need of daily growing in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

H. Bourne.

*Leviticus xxvii, 14,16,17,


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1840/380

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