Life of Faith 15: Reasons for Growing in Holiness

By Richard Sibbes


With justification of necessity comes sanctification.  What will stop God’s mercy?  His anger for sin committed; in that case, he would deny his Spirit.  With reconciliation also comes the Spirit: as in Ephesians 1:13, the apostle says, “In whom also, after you believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.”  Now the Spirit once given, is the seed of all graces.

Whoever is justified, has the Spirit of Christ: (Romans 8:9) “And if any man does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not of Christ.”  Having the Spirit of Christ, faith goes and gets all strength from Christ.  Samson’s strength was in his locks; a Christian’s strength is in Christ.  This the devil knows well, and therefore labors especially to weaken faith, and draw us from strength.

Christ says, “Without me you can do nothing,” (John 15:5); and St. Paul affirms, that he “can do all things through Christ who strengthens him,” (Philippians 4:13).  The Spirit gives strength.

As by Christ and his Spirit we have strength, so by his Spirit we have strong convincing reasons to work strength from reason.  Why does a Christian carry himself in a holy just life answering his profession?  Oh, he says, “I have great reason; Christ has loved me, and given himself for me; and shouldn’t I give myself to him, deny my lusts, and live to him?”  for, indeed, the foundation of all Christian obedience is laid by faith in Christ.  So when a man looks to heaven, he has a reason to abstain from all pitfalls and hindrances of his safe and comfortable passage; to magnify the riches of Christ’s love, which has provided for him such an inheritance, and to live accordingly.

So when he looks to the pardon of sins past, he sees reason to hate them more and more, to strive against them in time to come, and to love Christ more, who has pardoned them.  And when he looks to God’s free love in Christ, he sees reason to be inflamed with divine love, to admire the riches of grace, and to be thankful.




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Life of Faith 14: Christ Justifies and Sanctifies Us

By Richard Sibbes


The life of faith in sanctification, springs from these grounds:

Faith lays hold on Christ, as God offers him.  How is this?  See 1st Corinthians 1:30—”Because of him, you are in Christ Jesus, who was made to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption.”  God gives Christ, not only for justification, but also for sanctification: and therefore faith must apprehend him.

Faith receives him as whole Christ in all his offices; not as a priest to save only, but as a king to rule; as a wife receives her husband, to be ruled and governed by him.

Again, Christ came not only to take away the guilt of sin, but the dominion of sin also.  He came as John speaks, to destroy the whole work of the devil; as it is said in Ephesians 5:25-27—” …as Christ also loved the assembly, and gave himself up for it; that he might sanctify it, having cleansed it by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the assembly to himself gloriously, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without defect.” Christ purges his church not only from the guilt of sin, but also from the meddling and polluting of itself in the world with filthy things.  So in Romans 8:3, the apostle shows, that “God did, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh;  that the ordinance of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” He came as well by water as by the blood.  Therefore faith puts him on, not only by justification, but also in sanctification.  





This common domain work’s language has been modernized in places by this site.

Life of Faith 7: Faith Throughout

By Richard Sibbes

Now we have come to the main thing intended, how we live by the faith of the Son of God.  We will not approach the depths of such a profound mystery; only I will endeavor to give you some heads, where faith principally exercises her powers and functions.

  • The life of faith is exercised in our effectual calling.
  • In the state of justification, through which comes reconciliation.
  • In a vigorous life, arising on the comfort of our justification, our being credited right with God.
  • In our sanctification; in those supplies faith finds out to make up the imperfection thereof, faith works to make itself and us more perfected.  
  • The life of faith in glorification.

We live by faith in all the several passages of this life, as we will see when we come to them.  Thus we live continually by the faith of the Son of God, and so we must live until we come to heaven.

We live the life of faith in our effectual calling.  The Spirit works it, the Spirit is God’s hand.  This makes our eyes to be bent upwards to see a better life, to see a calling, to a holy and righteous living in all things,  to see what a rich means is provided to reconcile God and man, to satisfy justice, and so to draw us in a new way and course of life, to rely on God, and look to him in all our actions.

Then the grace of union is given.  God’s Spirit works our hearts by this faith, to have first union and then communion with God.  Thus the soul being seasoned, and seeing the excellency and necessity of another life, touches Christ, and begins to live the life of faith in effectual calling; for at first we are dead and unlovely creatures, estranged from grace and gracious actions, until, in this state, Christ is discovered by the Spirit, and faith to unite us to him.


This common domain work modernized in few places, words in italics added by this site.