Reproclaiming the Everlasting Gospel
Per a recent discussion, I have looked at what George Fox had to say about Sanctificaion. My search terms were “sanctification,” “sanctify,” and “sanctified.” The greatest density of Fox’s statements occurred in Vol. III, but the terms are found throughout his writings.
The overall consistency of these passages differentiate what Fox had to say from all theologians I have read. Two passages in particular stand out. The first is from Vol. IV, page 21:
[Contained with in a statement concerning the difference between scripture, the word, the light, and the spirit:] ...therefore waiting in the light, which Christ hath enlightened you with, that is scripture within you, and that will open the scripture (according as you grow in the light,) and the saint's conditions, as you are sanctified, and as you are cleansed and made free by the son of God, for it is he that maketh free; who are made free from sin, and from the world, are made free by the son of God
The second is from a 1661 document, not included in the 8 volumes of his Works, entitled: “SOME PRINCIPLES OF THE Elect People of God...” (See http://qhpress.org/texts/gfprinc.html .)
A Salutation of the Salvation to all People in that which is called Christendom, for them to come in at the Door, which is Christ the Light...through which they must enter in unto the Father from the World, and from Darkness, and Death, and the Power of it, into Covenant with God…The Light which Christ hath Enlightened you withall...makes manifest all that is contrary to it; The same Light makes manifest the Saviour from whence it comes…
...The same Light makes manifest that Christ is the Way, the Truth, the Life, and the Word of God...the same Light makes manifest Christ to be the Wisdom of God, and the Power of God, and the Sanctification, and the Justification; and the Redemption, to Sanctifie, and to Justifie, and to Redeem from that which the Light doth make manifest to be Evil, which lets and holds in the Separation from God.
And this Light is within...you that love this Light...you will have the Testimony of it; and so he that believes will have the Testimony and Witness in himself.
...if you love the Light, ye love Christ...see him which makes an end of Sin, and destroyes the Devil which brought it in, and his Works, he that destroyes brings in Everlasting Righteousness in you:…
I looked on the internet to see what was being presented there. Most statements make a division between salvation and sanctification. In general they state that salvation is something that Jesus accomplished on the cross through his death. Sanctification is something accomplished by the Holy Spirit and subdues (for some) or destroys (for others) the sin nature. These are seen as separate works of grace. And the means of these graces are various and numerous.
Such distinctions are absent from Fox. Man’s problem is that they are dead in disobedience to Christ, who is both savior and sanctifier. That which accomplishes salvation accomplishes sanctification: Christ’s life and power that destroys the devil and his works within. The means to this is the light with which Christ enlightens us. Fox stated:
...The Lord saith, I will make all my mountains a highway, and my highway shall he exalted.' And is not God and Christ's highway his light? That is the path of the just, and highway to the perfect day. (VI:206)
We encounter that life and power as we walk in the light he enlightens us with. We can now serve the living God in the newness of life. Living in this life, we have evidence of Christ’s power overcoming Satan and transforming us into sons of God. This is the Witness and Testimony you have within.
Does Fox have anything to say about the holy spirit or holy ghost (sometimes capitalized, sometimes not) in conjunction with sanctification? Yes but not in the same sense or with the same understanding portrayed by the statements mentioned above.
...Seeing all was dead in Adam, and so plunged into death, by disobeying the Lord, and hearkening unto the serpent.
So all must be baptized with the baptism of Christ, with fire and the Holy Ghost; and all their disobedience, transgression, sin and corruption, and their chaff must be plunged down and burnt up by the baptism of Christ, before they can come into the paradise of God, and have right to eat of the tree of life. (VI:11)
Fox explained why “all was dead in Adam...” By listening to the teaching of the serpent and eating his food, man is brought into death, his eyes blinded, his ears stopped, and now made into the image of the god of this world. Man has lost the life, lost the sight, lost the hearing, and lost the image of God.
...their mouths went to swallow down that which the world's god wrought in them; and so drank down iniquity, as the ox drinketh up water... (VI:11)
And thus came the curse: From dust man had been made, to dust he returned, and the serpent fed upon the dust. But...
...Christ the promised seed, which bruiseth the head of the serpent, which all the prophets and holy men of God had faith in: It is he that opens the eyes of the blind...(VI:12)
and the ears of the deaf:
...let the christians and others examine themselves, if they be not erred from that spirit, which the living God of truth doth pour upon all flesh, by which they should hear the voice of God and Christ, and obey his command...(VI:12)
Now comes experience of the work of Christ within us to overthrow the serpent and destroy his work. Experience begets faith which Christ writes on our hearts.
But the faith that is the gift of God, which Christ is the author of, that is the victory over the world's god, which purifies the heart, and brings them to have access to God; this faith that gives the victory, the world's god and his messengers and ministers cannot endure to hear tell of. Nor believe in the light, which is the life in him, (the word) by whom all things were made, by which they come to be born of God, and children of light, and by it overcome the world. (VI:14)
In the Word is the life that is the light of man. Where that light is loved, the life takes root. There is holiness. There is no death.
Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians stated:
But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. (5:13)
Fox expands on this:
So Christ the light teacheth his people to believe in that which manifests all things; and they that believe in the light have the witness in themselves of Christ...that he is their redeemer, and saviour, and their way, their truth, and their life; for with the light they see him, they believing in the light that doth make manifest; and after they believe in the light, become children of the light; they witness themselves, that they are sealed, for their belief in the light stands in Christ the light, who hath bought and purchased them; and after that they are sealed by the spirit of promise... (VII:10)
What is this “spirit of promise?” When the Hebrew scriptures speak of the spirit, the best way I can explain it is this is a reference to life. To say that God is spirit is to say that he is life itself. When God promised, through Joel, to pour out his spirit upon all flesh, it is his life he is pouring upon us. We encounter that life when we believe in the light and walk in the light. To walk in the light is to walk in the spirit of promise is to walk in life.
...So this blood of Jesus Christ, the heavenly man, is felt in the hearts and consciences of people; by which blood they are sanctified, they are cleansed from all their dead works, to serve the living God, and to serve their dead works no longer. So by this blood they are cleansed from all sin. They that walk in the light, and believe in the light, they are children of the light, and children of the day; and the blood of Jesus Christ, the son of God, cleanseth them from all sin; and their garments are made white in the blood of the Lamb... (VII:10-11)
Again, we need to understand what Fox is saying when he talks of the “blood of Jesus Christ.” Fox reiterated throughout his Works that the blood of Christ is the life in him. Read the above quote again. “So this life of Jesus Christ, the heavenly man, is felt in the hearts and consciences...by which life they are sancitfied, they are cleansed from...dead works, to serve the living God...their garments are made white in the life of the Lamb...”