The Vain Dream of Progressive Sanctification
“That which is born of the flesh is flesh.”
There is no promise made that in this life, we shall be set free from the indwelling and the in-working of sin.
Many think that their flesh is to become “progressively holier and holier” — that sin after sin is to be removed gradually out of the heart — until at last they are almost made perfect in the flesh.
But this is an idle dream, and one which, sooner or later will be crudely and roughly broken to pieces!
The flesh will ever remain the same — and we shall ever find that the flesh will lust against the Spirit. Our fleshly nature is corrupt to the very core. It cannot be mended. It cannot be sanctified. It is the same at the last, as it was at the first — inherently evil, and as such will never cease to be corrupt until we put off mortality — and with it the body of sin and death.
All we can hope for, long after, expect, and pray for — is that this evil fleshly nature may be subdued, kept down, mortified, crucified, and held in subjection under the power of grace. But as to any such change passing upon the flesh — or taking place in the flesh as to make it holy — it is but a pharisaic delusion, which, promising a holiness in the flesh, leaves us still under the power of sin.
The true sanctification of the new man of grace — which is wrought by a divine power — is utterly distinct from any imagined holiness in the flesh — or any vain dream of its progressive sanctification.
By J.C. Philpot