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December 3, 1820.
ON JUSTIFICATION AND SANCTIFICATION.
And such were some of you : but ye are washed,
but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.—1 CORINTHIANS vi. 11.
The Apostle in the ninth verse says, “ Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God ? be not deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with man kind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” It is an impossibility, the strongest, on the part of God; for all his perfections are opposed to it; and the strongest, on the part of the creature, for he is infinitely incapable, as a sinner, of entering into, and enjoying the blessings of that kingdom ; it is not consistent with the nature of sin, for the sinner, as such, ever to be happy. “Be not deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” What ! cannot the thief be admitted into heaven? No. As long as he continues in that character, and if he die as such. Nor the drunkard ? No. He must change his character. Is it impossible for the covetous ? Yes. He is an idolater. The Apostle brings forward here a catalogue of the blackest crimes that man can commit, and imputes them to the Corinthian converts, and adds the good news that follows " but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the spirit of our God." However great your sins, however inveterate the habit of your lusts, remember all that has been done for your salvation; remember the great work of atonement that Christ has made for your justification and sanctification. May God, the Holy Spirit, make these things effectually known to us,“ye are washed,” this is the washing of regeneration. It may be asked, what is regeneration ? It is a new disposition conferred upon us. It is impossible to change the old man,-it continues the same,-but there is a new principle bestowed by God, the Holy
Ghost, upon the heart which is united to Christ. This regeneration, as well as every other blessing, God, the Holy Ghost, had conferred upon those who had before been guilty of the crimes specified by the Apostle: this regeneration is salvation in its incipiency; a blessing which will be followed by every other. Justification and sanctification have sometimes been sadly confused- I would call your attention to three things.
I. GOD IS THE AUTHOR OF BOTH THESE BLESSINGS.
II. HE IS so, THROUGH THE MERITS AND NAME OF Jesus Christ.
III. GOD HAS BUT ONE END IN VIEW IN BESTOWING BOTH THESE BLESSINGS—to establish his own glory in the church.
1. Each of THESE BLESSINGS proceeds from God; for “Every good, and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness neither shadow of turning.”
Again-II. CHRIST IS THE MERITORIOUS CAUSE OF EACH-as Jehovah, he is the eternal cause, flowing from his eternal love. But Christ is the meritorious cause through whom we derive these, and every other blessing ; "in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ,” that is, in and through the merits, righteousness, and intercession of Jesus. “Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you." I We are taught to pray to the Holy Ghost, and the Holy Ghost, in his covenant offices, visits his church, enlightening, sanctifying, and consoling it: thus he is God—“But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” What a proof have we here of the divinity of Christ. When God works a work, in whose name does it become the dignity of God to perform it? In the name of a creature ? Oh, no-in the name of Deity himself. But the divinity of Christ is not to be found in only a few passages of scripture—but in the whole of the word of God: it flows from it, as light and heat from the natural sun, in eternal deluges from the orb, at all times, from every part and in every direction. In the name of Christ, and by the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is the agent-beginning and carrying on, in the name of Jesus, the work of justification and sanctification. And have not you and I, my brethren, reason to set every enemy at defiance; every enemy without, every foe within ?-and in doing this, we shall be humbled, and look to God in self-abasement to be saved in his own way. When Jesus died, he died to purchase a Church, and every blessing for that Church, as a surety. He is said to be our redemption, “ Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law." Here is encouragement for us, my brethren !
i James i. 17.
III. THE END WHICH GOD HAS IN VIEW, is his own glory, in the eternal deliverance of his people. Every saint in scripture pleads in the name of God—God himself declares, “For my name's sake will I defer mine anger, and for my praise will I refrain for thee, that I cut thee not off. For mine own sake, even for mine own sake will I do it: for how should my name be polluted ? and I will not give my glory unto another.” 2
I would proceed now to point out the difference between sanctification and justification. When God justifies the sinner, he justifies him as guilty ; he, by justification, removes the charge of guilt from the sinner; and it is clearly distinct from sanctification, because, when God
i Galatians iii. 13.
2 Isaiah xlviii. 9, 11.