Pristine Grace

Progressive Sanctification
by William Gadsby
Progressive Sanctification

     Does the old man of sin, which is corrupt, according to the deceitful lusts, grow better and better?

     The answer to this question is NO: for the old man, which is the flesh, is always the same, lusting against the Spirit, which causes the spiritual warfare in the Christian’s breast; for ”what shall we see in the Shulamite? As it were, the company of two armies.” This contest between the old man of sin and the new man of grace will never cease while we are in the body.

     The doctrine of the old man of sin growing better and better, the Christian, by daily experience, proves to be the doctrine of fools, and he will have to say with Paul, even down to the Jordan of death, “I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, there dwelleth no good thing; for to will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good, I find not.”

     It is light that discovers darkness; so, as we are sanctified by the Holy Ghost, we have a growing knowledge and feeling sense of the depravity of our nature, and of our lost, helpless state and condition as guilty sinners. This has a tendency to humble us before God, and to make us say with Job “I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” Thus we grow out of love with ourselves and our own worth and worthiness placing no confidence in the flesh, and renouncing everything but Christ and him crucified. Proud flesh must fall, that Christ may rise.

     The blessed Spirit, in His work, has two things in view, namely, the laying low of the sinner, and the setting up of Jesus on high; and to this end he leads us out of ourselves into Christ, daily to feel that we are lost in ourselves, to look to Christ, by faith, for complete salvation. By nature we are black and polluted with sin, and the Spirit leads us to the fountain of Christ to be cleansed; naked, and he enables us, by faith, to put on the garment of salvation; guilty and condemned, he makes us sue for pardon at Jesus’s feet, like the poor publican, and seals pardon and peace in the conscience; weak and helpless, he leads us to trust in the Lord Jehovah, in whom there is everlasting strength; foolish, he leads us to Christ, the wonderful Counsellor, for wisdom. He creates within us a hungering and thirsting for the bread of heaven and the wine of the kingdom and enables us to feed, by faith, upon Christ, the feast of fat things.   [William Gadsby, 1841]