How Sanctification Differs from Justification

by John Brown of Haddington

We must no less carefully observe, how justification and sanctification are inseparably connected, 1. In the purpose of God, Rom 8:28,30; calling and glorifying there including our sanctification. 2. In the mediatorial office and work of Christ, Titus 2:11-14; 1 Cor 1:30; Eph 5:25-27. 3. In the doctrines and promises of the gospel, Luke 1:74-75; Luke 7:47; Ezek 36:25-31; Heb 8:10-12; Acts 5:31. 4. In the use of God's law, Rom 8:1-4. 5. In the experience of all believers, 1 Cor 6:11; 1 Pet 1:2; Rom 8:30; Col 2:13.—And how justification, being the source and foundation of our sanctification, mightily promotes it. 1. Justification perfectly frees us from the curse of the broken covenant of works, which infallibly binds us under the reigning power and abominable slavery of our sinful lusts, 1 Cor 15:56; Gal 3:13; Rom 6:13-14; Rom 7:4,6; 2. In our justifying sentence, the justice, holiness, love, mercy, faithfulness, wisdom, and power of God are legally engaged to bestow upon us holiness of heart and life, as a principal part of that eternal life, to which we are adjudged by it, 1 John 1:9; Rom 5:21; Rom 7:4,6; Rom 6:14; 2 Tim 4:7-8. 3. The justifying righteousness of Christ applied to our conscience does, in a real and efficacious manner, purge it from dead works to serve the living God, 1 Tim 1:5; Heb 9:14; Heb 10:22. 4. In our firm belief of our justifying sentence upon God's own testimony and evidence, we perceive the constraining love of Christ, the goodness, greatness, and holiness of God,—the goodness, holiness, and equity of his law, and its high and indispensible obligations on us as a rule of life;—the infinite vileness and tremendous desert and danger of sin,—the beauty, dignity, and usefulness of gospel holiness, and the delightful exemplification of it in Christ, and full provision of strength for it, and gracious reward of it through him; and are hereby effectually enabled and excited to cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord, 2 Cor 5:14; Gal 3:13-14; Matt 3:15; Matt 5:17; Zech 10:12; Zech 12:10; Isa 45:24-25; Isa 40:29-31; 2 Cor 7:1; Luke 1:74-75; Heb 12:28.

Sanctification, as a new covenant privilege, is the work of God alone as reconciled in Christ, Lev 20:8; Ezek 37:28; Ezek 20:12; Ezek 36:26-27; Phil 2:12-13; 1 Thess 5:23-24; Deut 30:6.—It is ascribed to the Father, John 17:17; Eph 2:5; 1 Pet 2:5; 1 Pet 1:2-3; Jude 1.—to the Son, Eph 1:1; Eph 5:25-27; Heb 2:11-14; Heb 13:12; Heb 10:10,14; 1 Cor 1:2,30; 2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15; Eph 2:10; Col 1:2,12; Col 2:6-7,10-13,19; Col 3:4; Gal 2:20; John 6:33; John 11:25; John 14:6,19; 1 Cor 15:45-49; but it is peculiarly ascribed to the Holy Ghost, in, and by whom, the Father and Son work it, 2 Thess 2:13; Rom 15:16; 1 Cor 4:21; Titus 3:5; Zech 12:10; 2 Cor 3:18; Rom 8:12-13; Eph 1:18-19; Eph 2:22; Ps 143:10; John 6:63; John 16:13-14; John 3:5-6; 1 Pet 1:2; Ezek 36:27; Isa 44:3-5.—Nothing but God's own free grace inwardly moves him to sanctify us, Eph 2:4-5; Eph 5:25-26. Christ's surety righteousness is the only meritorious cause, or purchasing price or condition of our sanctification, 1 John 3:5,8; 1 Pet 1:2,18-19; 1 Pet 2:24; John 17:17,19; Heb 9:12,14; Heb 10:10,14; Heb 13:12; Rev 1:5-6; Rev 5:9; 1 Cor 1:2. And applied to our heart, it frees from the dominion of sin, introduces new covenant grace, and powerfully stirs us up to the study of holiness, Rom 7:4,6; Heb 9:14; Heb 10:22; 2 Cor 5:14-15; Ps 116:16; Ps 119:32,166; Luke 1:74-75. His intercession is the procuring cause of it, John 17:9-26; John 17:15,17,21.—In sanctification, considered as our duty, we, that are sanctified, work together with God, as enabled and excited by him, Song 1:4; 2 Pet 1:3-8; Rom 12:1-2; 1 Pet 1:15-16,22; Matt 5:48; 2 Cor 7:1; Eph 4:22-24,31-32; Eph 5:1-2,5; 1 Thess 4:3; 1 John 3:3; Heb 12:1,14,28.

In both these views of it, ministers are useful in promoting our sanctification, being instruments for conveying it as a privilege, through the gospel, directors in, and exciters to the study of it, as a duty, 1 Cor 3:9; 2 Cor 6:1; 2 Cor 11:2; 1 Tim 4:16.—God's word and ordinances promote sanctification, as they shew what is sinful, the abominable nature and hurtful tendency of it; and represent what is lawful and holy, with the motives to, and means of studying and attaining it,—and as they are the means, by which the blood, Spirit, and grace of Christ, are conveyed into our hearts, John 15:3,7; John 17:17; Ps 119:9,11; James 1:18,21; 1 Pet 1:23; 1 Pet 2:2; Eph 5:26; Rom 1:16-17; Acts 13:26,34; Heb 2:3-4; 2 Thess 2:13; Gal 2:20; Gal 3:2; Rom 6:4; John 6:31-32.—The declarations, promises, and invitations of the gospel, are the means of conveying holiness into our hearts, and of maintaining and increasing it there, Ezek 36:26-27; Isa 2:35. The law, in the hand of Christ, directs and binds us to the study of holiness, 1 Pet 1:15-16; Matt 22:37-40; Rom 12-15; Gal 5-6; Col 3-4; 1 Thess 3-5; Heb 10-13; Matt 5-7; Exod 20.—But it is not of themselves that God's word and ordinances promote our sanctification, but the Holy Ghost, with his saving influences attending them, renders them effectual, for the ends abovementioned, 1 Cor 6:11; Rom 8:13; Gal 5:17-18,22,25.—God's providences, particularly afflictive ones, as subordinated to his word and ordinances, are occasional promoters of our sanctification, as they awaken, allure, or shut up to an earnest study and improvement of them for that end, Ps 119:67,71,75; Isa 27:9; Isa 38:16; Job 33:16-30; Ezek 20:36-37; Hos 2:6-7,14; Isa 48:10; Mic 7:14; Dan 11:35; Dan 12:10; Heb 12:6-11; Prov 3:12; Ps 94:12; Rev 3:19.

The law of God, as a rule of life, in its whole extent, is the regulating standard of our sanctification, Matt 28:20; John 14:15; John 15:10,14; 1 John 3:3-4; 1 John 5:3; James 2:8; Deut 12:32; Deut 5:32; Deut 4:2; Deut 5:6-21; Exod 20:2-17. And though no saint can attain absolute perfection in holiness in this life, the law peremptorily requires it, both in qualities and practice, Matt 22:37,39; Matt 5:48; 2 Cor 13:11; 1 Pet 1:15-16. 1. The infinite perfection of God's nature renders it impossible for him to give any law, which requires no more than imperfect holiness and virtue, 2 Tim 2:13. 2. His love to his people renders it necessary for him to bind them to the highest degrees of holiness, which is at once happiness and a mean of it, 1 John 3:1-3; John 15:9-10. 3. The more perfection in holiness we attain, the more is God glorified, John 15:8; 1 Cor 6:20; 1 Cor 10:31; 1 Cor 15:58; 1 Pet 4:11. 4. This demand of perfection in holiness is necessary to excite our most earnest study of fellowship with Christ, in order that we may abound in holiness, John 15:3-10; Col 2:6,19; Eph 4:16; John 1:14,16; 1 Cor 1:30. 5. It is necessary to promote our earnest endeavours after much more holiness and virtue than we have attained, Phil 3:12-14; 2 Pet 1:5-8; 2 Pet 3:18; Eph 5:9; Gal 5:22-23. 6. It is necessary to promote our humility, self-denial, and daily improvement of Christ's blood for forgiveness, under a sense of our shortcomings, Phil 3:8-9,11-12; 1 John 1:7,9.

The example of former or present saints is to be improved as an excitement to, and mean of regulating our study of holiness by the law of God, Heb 6:12; Heb 12:1-2; Heb 13:7; 1 Cor 11:1. But the example of Christ, and of God in him, in that which is imitable by us, is our only perfect pattern of holiness, which we ought to copy, Heb 12:1-2; 1 John 2:6,29; 1 John 3:7; Phil 2:1-7,15; Eph 4:32; Eph 5:1-2; 1 Pet 2:21-22; 1 Pet 4:1; 1 Pet 1:15-16; Matt 5:44-48; Matt 11:29; Matt 16:24.—Christ's example, being given under that very law which is our rule, and in circumstances much similar to our own, is a peculiarly proper pattern. 1. In his assured faith and trust in his Father, Isa 50:7,9; Ps 16:1; Ps 22:8-10. 2. In the universality of his obedience, John 15:10; John 8:29; Matt 3:15; Matt 5:17; Phil 2:8. 3. In his solemn and fervent devotion, Matt 4:2; Matt 11:25-27; Luke 6:12; Luke 22:41-44; John 17; John 11:41-42; John 12:27-28; Heb 5:7. 4. In his perfect resignation to his Father's will, Matt 26:39; John 18:11.5. In his most disinterested love to men, 2 Cor 8:9; Eph 5:2; John 15:9-12; Gal 2:20. 6. In his unparalleled humility and meekness, Matt 11:29; John 13:14-15; Phil 2:1-7. 7. In his constancy and patience under trouble, 1 Pet 2:21-24; Isa 50:6; Isa 53:7; Heb 12:2-3. 8. In his sincerity, candour, and uprightness, 1 Pet 2:22; Isa 53:9. 9. In his readiness cordially to forgive injuries, and render good for evil, Luke 23:34; Col 3:13. 10. In his constant readiness to do good, temporal or spiritual, to his most inveterate enemies, Acts 10:38; Luke 22:50-51. 11. In the spirituality of his mind, and readiness to improve the most common things for spiritual instruction, John 4; John 6; John 10; Matt 5-7; Matt 13; Matt 17; Matt 20-25; Luke 4-20; John 2-16.

Though our faith cannot be a mean of God's implanting grace in our heart, yet, being formed by his regenerating act, it, under the influence of the Holy Ghost,—improving the word of God, and the person, righteousness, fulness, and example of Christ, and the perfections of God as manifested and offered in him, is a noted mean of our increasing in holiness of heart and life. 1. By uniting with Christ, and receiving justification and adoption in him, it lays a proper foundation of holiness and virtue, John 15:1-10; Rom 7:5-6; Gal 2:19-20; Col 2:6-7,10-11. 2. By believing God's declarations, and regarding his example, it powerfully affects our hearts with the odiousness and criminality of sin, and with the nature, excellency, and motives to holiness, John 15:3; John 17:17; Eph 5:26; 1 Thess 2:13; 2 Thess 2:13. 3. By trusting to Christ and his Spirit, that, according to their characters, they will fulfil their gracious promises, it derives virtue from them, for mortification of sin, and increase of holiness, Col 2:19; Eph 4:16; Jer 17:7-8; Ps 92:13-15.—In managing religious duties for the increase of our sanctification, faith, 1. Improves the Lord Jesus Christ, in his manifold connections with us sinful men, in correspondence to the condition of our souls; and from his fulness, by his Spirit, and through his word, derives grace to form in us proper tempers, and to animate and fit us for proper exercises, John 1:14,16. 2. It presents our persons and services to God, to be accepted only through the righteousness and intercession of Christ, Col 3:17; Eph 3:21; Eph 5:20; 1 Pet 4:11; 1 Pet 2:5,9; Rom 12:1.—In managing our common transactions of life for promoting holiness, faith, 1. Enables us to receive all our outward mercies as purchased by Christ, and as the gifts of his free grace, Gen 32:10; Gen 33:5. 2. It disposes us to count all things but loss and dung to win Christ and his spiritual blessings, and to a readiness to part with them for his sake, Phil 3:7-9; Acts 20:24; Acts 21:13.


Source: The Systematic Theology of John Brown of Haddington

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