by William Ames
1. The real change of state is an alteration of qualities in man
himself. 2 Cor. 5:17, Old things have passed away; all things are
2. The change is not in relation or reason, but in genuine effects
seen in degrees of beginning, progress, and completion. 2 Cor. 4:16,
The inner man is renewed day by day.
3. This alteration of qualities is related to either the just and
honorable good of sanctification, or the perfect and exalted good of
glorification. Rom. 6:22, You have your fruit in holiness and your
end in everlasting life.
4. Sanctification is the real change in man from the sordidness of
sin to the purity of God's image. Eph. 4:22-24, Put off that which
pertains to the old conversation, that old man, corrupting itself in
deceivable lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind. Put on
that new man who according to God is created to righteousness and
5. just as in justification a believer is properly freed from the
guilt of sin and has life given him (the title to which is, as it
were, settled in adoption), so in sanctification the same believer
is freed from the sordidness and stain of sin, and the purity of
God's image is restored to him.
6. Sanctification is not to be understood here as a separation from
ordinary use or consecration to some special use, although this
meaning is often present in Scripture, sometimes referring to
outward and sometimes to inward or effectual separation. If this
meaning is taken, sanctification may relate to calling or that first
rebirth in which faith is communicated as a principle of new life; a
common confusion of regeneration and sanctification hereby arises.
The term is rather to be understood as that change in a believer in
which he has righteousness and indwelling holiness imparted to him.
2 Thess. 2:13, Through sanctification of the Spirit.
7. For God himself witnesses that holiness is a gift of inherent
grace. Jer. 31:33, 1 will put my law into their mind, and in their
heart will I write it; Ezek. 36:26, 27, 1 will give you a new heart,
and a new spirit will I put into the midst of you.
8. Sanctification is distinguished from that change in a man which
is linked to his calling in faith and repentance, for in the latter
faith is not properly considered a quality but a relationship to
Christ, nor is repentance considered a change of disposition (for
then it would be the same as sanctification), but a change of the
mind's purpose and intent. Sanctification involves a real change of
qualities and disposition.
9. It is called a real change so as to distinguish it not only from
justification but also from sanctification by institution, which is
the case in the sanctification of the seventh day. It is also
distinguished from sanctification by association with symbols, such
as the sanctification of the elements in the sacraments. And last,
it is distinguished from sanctification by manifestation, as God is
said to be sanctified by men, I Peter 3:15.
10. It pertains to the whole man and not to any one part. I Thess.
5:23, Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly; and may
your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless until the
coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. But the whole of the man, or that
whole which the man comprises, is not immediately changed.
11. Although the whole man partakes of this grace, it is first and
most appropriately in the soul and later progresses to the body,
inasmuch as the body of the man is capable of the same obedience to
the will of God as the soul. In the soul this grace is found first
and most appropriately in the will whence it passes to other
faculties according to the order of nature. Dent. 30:6, The Lord thy
God shall circumcise your heart and the heart of your seed so that
you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all
your soul and that you may live; Rom. 2:29, Circumcision is of the
12. It is called a change in man from sin to distinguish it from the
sanctification which denotes simply the opposite of the negative,
such as that which is attributed to the human nature of Christ which
is said to be sanctified or made holy (although the nature of Christ
was never defiled by unholiness).
13. The starting point of sanctification is the filthiness,
corruption, or stain of sin. 2 Cor. 7: 1, Let us purge ourselves
from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, being led to holiness in
the fear of God.
14. Its end is the purity of God's image (said to be fashioned or
created once more in Knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, Eph.
4:24) or Conformity to the law of God, Jas. 1:25; Newness of life,
Rom. 6:4; the New creature, 2 Cor. 5:17 and Gal. 6:15; and the
Divine nature, 2 Peter 1:4.
15. The end is called a new and divine creature. First, because it
is not produced by those principles which are in us by nature, as is
characteristic of all the arts pursued with industry and discipline
-it comes out of the new principle of life communicated by God to us
in our calling. Second, because our natural disposition is of a
completely different kind from what it was before. Third, because it
takes for its model the highest perfection found in God himself.
16. There are two degrees of sanctification on earth. One occurs in
this life which is generally called an Infancy, I Cor. 13:11, 12;
Eph. 4:14; 1 Peter 2:2. The variety found in this life is so great
that some who are sanctified when compared with others and even with
themselves at different times, may rightly be called Infants, and
others Adults during their life here, Heb. 5:13, 14.