Blood & Water: Justification & Sanctification

John 19:32-35; I John 5:6
       Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: but one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.
       This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And the Spirit that beareth witness because the Spirit is truth.

JOHN WESLEY (1703-1791): It was strange, seeing He was dead, that blood should come out; more strange, that water also; and most strange of all, that both should come out immediately, at one time, and yet distinctly. It was pure and true water, as well as pure and true blood. The [declaration] of the beholder and testifier of it, shows both the truth and greatness of the miracle and mystery.

MATTHEW POOLE (1624-1679): It is evident that water and blood [of the second text, I John 5:6] cannot be meant literally. It is therefore consequent that they must be intended to signify somewhat or other by symbolical representation, or that they must have some mystical meaning.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): They signified the two great benefits which all believers partake of through Christ―justification and sanctification; blood for remission, water for regeneration; blood for atonement, water for purification. Blood and water were used very much under the law. Guilt contracted must be expiated by blood; stains contracted must be done away by the water of purification. These two must always go together. You are sanctified, you are justified, I Corinthians 6:1. Christ has joined them together, and we must not think to put them asunder. They both flowed from the pierced side of our Redeemer. To Christ crucified we owe both merit for our justification, and Spirit and grace for our sanctification.

J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): I am inclined to think that justification and sanctification are insensibly confused together in the minds of many believers. They receive the Gospel truth—that there must be something done in us, as well as something done for us, if we are true members of Christ: and so far they are right. But then, without being aware of it, perhaps, they seem to imbibe the idea that their justification is, in some degree, affected by something within themselves. They do not clearly see that Christ’s work, not their own work—either in whole or in part, either directly or indirectly—is alone the ground of our acceptance with God…They do not seem to comprehend that there is a wide difference between our justification and our sanctification.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): Justification is based entirely upon the work Christ wrought for us; sanctification is principally a work wrought in us…Justification is by Christ as a Priest and has regard to the penalty of sin; sanctification is by Christ as King and has regard to the dominion of sin; the former cancels its damning power; the latter delivers from its reigning power―Justification is a judicial act by which the sinner is pronounced righteous; sanctification is a moral work by which the sinner is made holy: the one has to do solely with our standing before God, the other chiefly concerns our state.

BROWNLOW NORTH (1810-1875): The sinner in Christ is his justification; Christ in the sinner is his sanctification. The two invariably go together.

CHARLES HODGE (1797-1878): The ground of justification is not our own merit, nor faith, nor evangelical obedience; not the work of Christ in us, but His work for us―that is, His obedience unto death.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): If you have truly believed in Christ and are justified by faith, that is once and for ever, never to be repeated.

J. C. RYLE: Our justification is a perfect finished work, and admits of no degrees…Sanctification is always a progressive work.

OCTAVIUS WINSLOW (1808-1878): Sanctification has been defined “the work of God’s Spirit whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God and are enabled more and more to die to sin, and live to righteousness.” Briefly and emphatically, it is a progressive conformity of the whole man to the Divine nature.

ROBERT CANDLISH (1806-1873): As justification is union and communion with Christ in His righteousness, sanctification is union and communion with Christ in His holiness, or His holy character and nature.

J. C. RYLE: Our sanctification is imperfect and incomplete, and will be so to the last hour of our life.

JOSEPH CARYL (1602-1673): Perfect holiness is the aim of the saints on earth and it is the reward of the saints in heaven.

J. C. RYLE: Absolute perfection is for heaven, and not for earth, where we have a weak body, a wicked world, and a busy devil continually near our souls. Nor is real Christian holiness ever attained, or maintained without a constant fight and struggle. The great Apostle, who said “I fight—I labour—I keep under my body and bring it into subjection,” I Corinthians 9:27, would have been amazed to hear of sanctification without personal exertion, and to be told that believers only need to sit still, and everything will be done for them!

JAMES DURHAM (1622-1658): Christ Jesus hath a sufficiency and efficacy in Him, not only for the justification of believers that rest on Him, but for the furthering of their sanctification also, and helping of them to a victory over the world; “He is our sanctification,” as well as our justification, I Corinthians 1:30. Believers in their way, should not only by faith rest on Christ for attaining pardon of sin by His righteousness; but they should also depend on Him for the furthering of their sanctification.

J. C. RYLE: But the plain truth is, men will persist in confounding two things that differ―that is, justification and sanctification. In justification, the word to be addressed to man is, “Believe, only believe.” In sanctification, the word must be, “Watch, pray, and fight.” What God has divided, let us not mingle and confuse.

JOHN WESLEY: If any doctrines within the whole compass of Christianity may be properly termed “fundamental,” they are doubtless these two—the doctrine of justification, and that of the new birth: the former relating to that great work which God does for us, in forgiving our sins; the latter, to the great work which God does in us, in renewing our fallen nature…The new birth is not the same with sanctification―this is a part of sanctification, not the whole; it is the gate to it, the entrance into it. When we are born again, then our sanctification, our inward and outward holiness begins; and thence forward we are gradually to “grow up in Him who is our Head.”

JOHN OWEN (1616-1683): Holiness indeed is perfected in heaven: but the beginning of it is invariably confined to this world…Let not men deceive themselves. Sanctification is a qualification indispensably necessary unto those who will be under the conduct of the Lord Christ unto salvation.

THOMAS BROOKS (1608-1680): Justification and sanctification are inseparable companions; distinguished they must be, but divided they can never be.


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