Are You Sanctified Through Christ?

On the promises of God that are performed in this life to those that are already converted and are believers, that is, election to glory, adoption, justification, sanctification, and sealing

1. Concerning men who are sinners but already efficaciously called by divine grace and converted to faith in Jesus Christ, and who by the aid of the same grace through true faith order their life according to the commandments of Jesus Christ, God is wills and wants [them] to be occupied with two kinds of saving acts, those which indeed pertain to this life, and the others [which pertain] to the future.

2. Five acts pertain to this life, two of which are prior, election to glory, and adoption, or υἱοθεσία. By the first they are already converted, and truly believe, separated from the multitude of those who perish and exempted from the damned (as their present estate), separated just as God’s own flock. By the other they are taken into the family of God and hence into the right of heavenly inheritance into which they will enter in due time. Thus they are placed among those who will be saved, or among those whom God will in no way punish, but will forgive their sins by grace through Christ. Nevertheless, adoption throughout Scripture usually denotes the very redemption itself of our bodies or the blessed resurrection,c because the fulfillment and consummation of it will certainly appear [then].

3. These are directly connected with three other acts, justification, sanctification, and finally, the unique act of sealing by the Holy Spirit. Justification is a merciful, gracious and indeed full remission of all guilt before God to truly repenting and believing sinners, through and because of Jesus Christ, apprehended by true faith,b indeed, even more, the liberal and bountiful imputation of faith for righteousness. For indeed in the judgment of God we cannot obtain to it except by the pure grace of God and only by faith in Jesus Christ (but nevertheless a living one, operating through love) without any merit of our own works. And this is the meaning of that article of the creed, when we say, “I believe in the remission of sins.”

4. Sanctification specifically called (for in some places in the Holy Scriptures it is sometimes accepted for regeneration or conversion, or effectual calling (about which, see above), or finally for any spiritual cleansing, even if only external, is a certain, more complete, continually increasing separation of the sons of God from this impure world, being partly a richer and fuller enlightening of true believers in the knowledge of divine truth and the careful performance of their duty by faithb (which even God often effects in many and admirable manners), in part through stimulation to a sharper and deeper abiding hatred of sin and zeal for holiness and true godliness and their establishment in this zeal, so that the will of the truly believing man is rendered more prone and inclined, indeed more cheerful to daily virtue, and these obstacles or hindrances which otherwise he usually meets with in his zeal for piety and virtue, he either does not permit them to be thrown before him or he diligently removes the object and courageously and cheerfully overcomes them.

5. Sealing by the Holy Spirit is a more solid and strong confirmation in a true confidence and hope of the heavenly glory and the certainty of divine grace by which believers are rendered more and more certain of their adoption, justification and glorification, as if by a deposit or pledge, and if they keep themselves in it, they may be preserved even to the end in a sense of the grace of Godb and in true faith against all kinds of temptations, being granted total, final perseverance.

6. And God is occupied with these kinds of gracious acts towards all those, and only those (although unequally and in different measure) who truly believe and repent. We find three kinds or orders of these in the Scriptures: 1 Those who can be called novices, and who are recently converted to the faith, who together with a sincere assent bring indeed a serious and deliberate will to obey the divine will. But when persecution, afflictions and other dangerous temptations arise which [this kind] is not able to resist, it immediately grows weak once again, and utterly dies. 2. Those who remain constant for some time in the true faithb and in a certain holy purpose and demonstrate for a while the truth of their faith by good and holy works, but finally, whether by the enticements of the world, the flesh or Satan, or conquered and broken by some violent tyranny, they defect and desert from the faith. 3. Those who either without any defection or interruption continually persevere to the end in that godly purpose and in holy works, or who have fallen again or even often departed, having once again lapsed or fallen, again are led to serious repentance and so being restored by the grace of God they finally persevere. Therefore the two former orders of believers are indeed truly elected, adopted, and justified, but not absolutely, but only for a time, namely, as far and as long as they are and remain such. But the third and last sort alone are finally and thoroughly such, that is, according to that which we read in the gospel: he who perseveres to the end will be saved.

7. For these are divine acts, sometimes continous, sometimes interrupted, that is, for as long and as often as the requisite conditions (that is, the faith and holiness of the covenant) continue to be present within us. But they are interrupted when we no longer stand in our covenant, or when such acts are committed by us which can in no way be consistent with true faith and a good conscience, according to Ezekiel, “If the righteous turns away from his righteousness, and does iniquity, according to all the iniquities which the wicked do, will he do it and live? All the righteousness which he has done will not be remembered because of his transgressions by which he has transgressed. And because of his sins which he sinned, I say, he shall die.” This is in keeping with many other sacred testimonies and examples of the same kind.

Mark A. Ellis, ed., The Arminian Confession of 1621: Translation, trans. Mark A. Ellis (Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications, 2005), 110–113.

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