Thursday, May 20, 2010

Reading the Classics with Challies - The Bruised Reed - Post 6

This 6th post concerning The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes is developed from the 10th and 11th chapters. In the final paragraphs of chapter 11 Sibbes discusses the relationship between Justification and Sanctification. I have included this whole section below.


This also shows that those are misled that make Christ to be only righteousness to us and not sanctification, except by imputation, whereas it is a great part of our happiness to be under such a Lord, who was not only born for us, and given to us, but has the government likewise upon his shoulder (Isa. 9:6,7). He is our Sanctifier as well as our Saviour, our Saviour as well by the effectual power of his Spirit from the power of sin as by the merit of his death from the guilt thereof; provided these things are remembered:

1. The first and chief ground of our comfort is that Christ as a priest offered himself as a sacrifice to his Father for us. The guilty soul flies first to Christ crucified, made a curse for us. Thence it is that Christ has right to govern us; thence it is that he gives us his Spirit as our guide to lead us home.

2. In the course of our life, after we are in a state of grace, if we are overtaken with any sin, we must remember to have recourse first to Christ's mercy to pardon us, and then to the promise of his Spirit to govern us.

3. And when we feel ourselves cold in affection and duty, the best way is to warm ourselves at this fire of his love and mercy in giving himself for us.

4. Again, remember this, that Christ rules us by a spirit of love, from a sense of his love, whereby his commandments are easy to us. He leads us by his free Spirit, a Spirit of liberty. His subjects are voluntaries. The constraint that he lays upon his subjects is that of love. He draws us sweetly with the cords of love. Yet remember also that he draws us strongly by a Spirit of power, for it is not sufficient that we have motives and encouragements to love and obey Christ from that love of his, whereby he gave himself for us to justify us; but Christ's Spirit must likewise subdue our hearts, and sanctify them to love him, without which all motives would be ineffectual.

Our disposition must be changed. We must be new creatures. They seek for heaven in hell that seek for spiritual love in an unchanged heart. When a child obeys his father it is from reasons persuading him, as likewise from a child like nature which gives strength to these reasons. It is natural for a child of God to love Christ so far as he is renewed, not only from inducement of reason so to do, but likewise from an inward principle and work of grace, whence those reasons have their chief force. First we are made partakers of the divine nature, and then we are easily induced and led by Christ's Spirit to spiritual duties.

A few comments concerning this passage:
  • I found his first point, #1 above, quite profound. Even Christ's right to govern us is found in the cross. Though He is God the Son, and we were created for Him and by Him, nevertheless it is His work on Calvary to which He points for His right to govern us. The cross.
  • Christ governance and our sanctification should go hand-in-hand; with justification comes sanctification. This is the point made in #2 above. His forgiving grace is followed immediately by his governing rule in our hearts. How often we try and separate what "God has joined together."
  • In point #4 Sibbes shows us that we have been given the Spirit of love but also the Spirit of power; love for justification and power for sanctification. Where would we be without the Holy Spirit?
  • It is the renewed heart, the regenerated life, that is the only soul capable of obeying Christ. Thus, our regeneration must precede our justification which in turn must precede our sanctification. Fortunately for us, both regeneration and justification were a one-time event giving us hope for our sanctification

1 comment:

  1. Glad to see your post focused on chapter 11. It was the toughest chapter for me thus far. But re-reading the section you quote and your comments do help. Thankful we can "fly first to Christ crucified!"