William Styles, A Guide To Church Fellowship (Complete)

Addendum – The Sanctification Of The Spirit

Surprise may be felt that no Article is expressly devoted to the above in previous pages, and that, with few exceptions, none is to be found in the Confessions of Faith in use among Strict and Particular Baptist Churches. The reasons may be that:

(1) It is omitted from the summaries of saving knowledge in the New Testament, e.i., Rom. 8:28-30, and 1 Cor. 15:1-4.

(2) Dr. Gill’s Declaration makes no reference to it.

(3) All our churches are agreed that the objects of justifying grace are the subjects of an inwrought work whereby spiritual life and holy principles are infused, by the Spirit of God, into the hearts of the saints, and the bias of their minds graciously affected.

There is, however, great diversity of opinion as to the range of the truths expressed by the term “Sanctification.” Some restrict it to the Divine operation by which naturally sinful men are made holy. Others extend it to include the gracious acts of the Father and the Son, (Jude 1, Heb. 13:12,) by which God’s people were set apart as holy. Some, with John Stevens, have used the phrase “imputed sanctification,” against which others protest. Some — while denying the Arminian error of “perfection in the flesh ”—assent to the ex­pression “progressive Sanctification,” which others earnestly repudiate.

These are doubtless mere questions of definition and terminology. Nevertheless, it might be difficult to bring the thoughtful members of one of our Churches into unanimity as to an Article which explicitly and fully expressed their views as a whole.

It were well if the word Sanctification, as a technical term in Theology, were restricted to the meaning accepted by the majority of Evangelical Christians. None of our persuasion would, we think, object to assent to the following as an Article of Faith:

“We believe that Sanctification is the work of the Holy Spirit in the souls of God’s chosen and redeemed people; which is begun in their Regeneration, when their minds are first enlightened, their wills renewed, and the principle of all the graces implanted: and is consummated at death by their entire conformity to the nature, character, and will of God.”

This may be compared with three others—the first from the Declaration of Faith and Practice issued by the Church at Eden Chapel, Cambridge.

“ 13. We believe in Sanctification by the Father, (Jude 1;) by our Lord Jesus Christ, (Heb. 13:12,) and by the Holy Ghost, (1 Pet. 1:2,) according to which the vessels of mercy were set apart to holiness; their sins were washed away with blood, and they made partakers of holiness. And we believe that no man hath any godliness or spiritual goodness in him, or about him, until he is sanctified by the Holy Ghost, (Rom. 15:16.)”

The second is from the Articles of Faith of the Church at Zion Chapel, New Cross, London.

“13. We believe that the elect of God are sanctified by the great Three-One; chosen by the Father that they should be holy, which holiness they receive from Christ, their glorious Head and Sanctifier, by the invincible operations of the Holy Ghost, who makes them the subjects of a new nature, which is the root of all holy desires and gracious practices. (Jude 1; 1 Cor. 1:2; Heb. 2:11; 1 Pet. 1:2.”

The third is from “The Sunday School Catechism,” prepared by Ebenezer Marsh, Minister of Gurney Road Chapel, Stratford, and issued by The Metropolitan Association of Strict Baptist Churches, Section 5. Question 11:

‘‘What is Sanctification? A.—Sanctification is the work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of God’s chosen people, whereby they are set apart to walk in newness of life and bring forth fruit unto God.” (Rom. 6:4-6; 1 Cor. 6:11,17; Eph 1:4; 3:16,19; 5:23,24; Col.1:10,11; 2 Thess 2:13; 1 John 3:9; Jude 1)

The subject is disoussed in the author’s Manual, pages 122-157, which may help the reader. This we assure him—that holiness of heart and life is deemed essential to vital Christianity by the Strict and Particular section of the Baptist Denomination.

William Styles (1842-1914) was a Strict and Particular Baptist preacher. He is the author of several works, including “A Guide To Church Fellowship As Maintained By Primitive Or Strict And Particular Baptists” and “A Manual Of Faith And Practice”.

William Styles, A Guide To Church Fellowship (Complete)
William Styles, A Memoir of John Hazelton (Complete)