Flavel, Fountain of Life, File 7)
( ...continued from File 6)
Sermon 7. Of the Solemn Consecration of the Mediator. 
John 17: 19. 
And for their sakes I sanctify myself. 
    Jesus Christ being fitted with a body, and authorised by a 
commission, now actually devotes, and sets himself apart to his 
work. In the former sermon you heard what the Father did; in this 
you shall hear what the Son has done towards the farther advancement 
of that glorious design of our salvation: He sanctified himself for 
our sakes. Wherein observe, (1.) Christ's sanctifying of himself. 
(2.) The end or design of his so doing. 
    1. You have Christ's sanctifying of himself. The word 
"hagiadzo" is not here to be understood for the cleansing, 
purifying, or making holy that which was before unclean and unholy, 
either in a moral sense, as we are cleansed from sin by 
sanctification; or in a ceremonial sense, as persons and things were 
sanctified under the law; though here is a plain allusion to those 
legal rites; But Christ's sanctifying himself, imports, (1.) His 
separation, or setting apart to be an oblation or sacrifice. So 
Beza, nempe ut sacerdos et victima, as the priest and sacrifice. I 
sanctify myself, imports, (2.) His consecration, or dedication of 
himself to this holy use and service. So the Dutch Annotations, I 
sanctify myself, (i. e.) I give up myself for a holy sacrifice. And 
so our English Annotations, I sanctify, (i. e.) I consecrate and 
voluntarily offer myself a holy and unblemished sacrifice to thee 
for their redemption. And thus under the Law, when any day, person, 
or vessel, was consecrated and dedicated to the Lord, it was so 
entirely for his use and service, that to use it afterward in any 
common service, was to profane and pollute it, as you see Dan. 5: 3. 
    2. The end of his so sanctifying himself [for their sakes, and 
that they might be sanctified, where you have the Finis cujus, the 
end for whom, for their (i. e.) for the elect's sake, for them whom 
thou gavest me; and the Finis cui, the end for which, that they 
might be sanctified. Where you also see that the death of Christ 
wholly respects us; he offered not for himself as other priests did, 
but for us, that we may be sanctified. Christ is so in love with 
holiness, that at the price of his blood he will buy it for us. 
Hence the observation is; 
    Doct. That Jesus Christ did dedicate, and wholly set himself 
    apart to the work of a Mediator, for the elect's sake. 
    This point is a glass, wherein the eye of your faith may see 
Jesus Christ preparing himself to be offered up to God for us, 
fitting himself to die. And to keep a clear method, I shall open 
these two things, in the doctrinal part; First, what his sanctifying 
himself implies: Secondly, How it respects us. 
    First, What is implied in this phrase, "I sanctify myself". And 
there are seven things carried in it. 
    1. This phrase "I sanctify myself" implies the personal union 
of the two natures in Christ; for what is that which he here calls 
himself, but the same that was consecrated to be a sacrifice, even 
his human nature? This was the sacrifice. And this also was himself: 
So the apostle speaks, Heb. 9: 14. "He through the eternal Spirit, 
offered up himself to God, without spot." So that our nature, by 
that assumption, is become himself. Greater honour cannot be done 
it, or greater ground of comfort proposed to us. But having spoken 
of that union in the former sermon, shall remit the reader thither. 
    2. This sanctifying, or consecrating himself to be a sacrifice 
for us, implies, the greatness and dreadfulness of that breach which 
sin made between God and us. You see no less a sacrifice than Christ 
himself must be sanctified to make atonement. Judge of the greatness 
of the wound by the breadth of the plaister. "Sacrifice and 
offering, and burnt-offering for sin, thou wouldest not; but a body 
hast thou prepared me," Heb. 10: 5. All our repentance, could we 
shed as many tears for sin, as there have fallen drops of rain since 
the creation, could not have been our atonement: "But God was in 
Christ, reconciling the world to himself." And had he not sanctified 
Christ to this end, he would have sanctified himself upon us, in 
judgement and fury for ever. 
    3. This his sanctifying Himself, implies his free and voluntary 
undertaking of the work. It is not, I am sanctified, as if he had 
been merely passive in it, as the lambs that typed him out were, 
when pluckt from the fold, but it is an active verb he useth here, I 
sanctify myself; he would have none think that he died out of a 
necessity of compulsion, but out of choice: therefore he is solid to 
"offer up himself to God", Heb. 10:14. And John 9:18, "I lay down my 
life of myself; no man taketh it from me." And although it is often 
said "his Father sent him, and gave him"; yet his heart was as much 
set on that work, as if there had been nothing but story, ease, and 
comfort in it; he was under no constraint, but that of his own love. 
Therefore, as when the scripture would set forth the willingness of 
the Father to this work, it saith, God sent his Son, and God gave 
his Son; so when it would set forth Christ's willingness to it, it 
saith, he offered himself, gave himself; and, here in the text, 
sanctified himself: The sacrifice that struggled, and came not 
without force to the altar, was reckoned ominous and unlucky by the 
Heathen: our Sacrifice dedicated himself; he died out of choice, and 
was a free-will offering 
    4. His sanctifying himself implies his pure and perfect 
holiness, that he had no spot or blemish in him. Those beasts that 
prefigured him, were to be without blemish, and none else were 
consecrated to that service. So, and more than so, it behaved Christ 
to be, Heb. 7: 26. "Such an High-Priest became us, who is holy, 
harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners:" And what it became him 
to be, he was. Therefore in allusion to the lambs offered under the 
law, the apostle calls him a Lamb without blemish, or spot, 1 Pet. 
1: 19. Every other man has a double spot on him, the heart spot, and 
the life-spot; the spot of original, and the spots of actual sin. 
But Christ was without either, he had net the spot of original sin, 
for he was not by man; he came in a peculiar way into the world, and 
so escaped that: nor yet of actual sins; for, as his nature, so his 
life was spotless and pure, Isa. 53: 9. "He did no iniquity." And 
though tempted to sin externally, yet he was never defiled in heart 
or practice; he came as near as he could for our sakes, yet still 
without sin, Heb. 4: 15. If he sanctifies himself for a sacrifice, 
he must be as the law required, pure and spotless. 
    5. His sanctifying himself for our sakes, speaks the strength 
of his love, and largeness of his heart to poor sinners, thus to set 
himself wholly and entirely apart for us: so that what he did and 
suffered, must all of it have a respect and relation to us. He did 
not (when consecrated for us) live a moment, do an act, or speak a 
word, but it had some tendency to promote the great design of our 
salvation. He was only and wholly, and always doing your work, when 
consecrated for your sakes. His incarnation respects you; Isa. 9: 6. 
"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given." And he would 
never have been the son of man, but to make you the sons and 
daughters of God. God would not have come down in the likeness of 
sinful flesh, in the habit of a man, but to raise up sinful man unto 
the likeness of God. All the miracles he wrought Were for you, to 
confirm your faith. When he raised up Lazarus, John 11: 42. "Because 
of the people which stand by, I said it, that they might believe 
that thou hadst sent me." While he lived on earth, he lived as one 
wholly set apart for us: and when he died, he died for us, Gal. 3: 
13. "he was made a curse for us." When he hanged on that cursed 
tree, he hanged there in our room, and did but fill our place. When 
he was buried, he was buried for us: for the end of it was, to 
perfume our graves, against we come to lie down in them. And when he 
rose again, it was, as the apostle saith, "for our justification," 
Rom. 4: 25. When he ascended into glory, he protested it was about 
our business, that he went to prepare places for us: and if it had 
not been so, he would have told us, John 14: 2. And now he is there, 
it is for us that he there lives; for he "ever lives to  make 
intercession for us," Heb. 7: 25. And when he shall return again to 
judge the world, he will come for us too. "He comes (whenever it be) 
to be glorified in his saints, and admired in them that believe,"  2 
Thess. 1: 10. He comes to gather his saints home to himself, that 
where he is, there they all may be in soul and body with him for 
ever. Thus you see how, as his consecration for us does speak him 
set apart for our use; so he did wholly bestow himself, time, life, 
death, and all upon us; living and dying for no other end, but to 
accomplish this great work of salvation for us. 
    6. His sanctifying himself for us plainly speaks the 
vicegerency of his death, that it was in our room or stead. When the 
priest consecrated the sacrifice, it was set apart for the people. 
So it is said of the scapegoat; "And Aaron shall lay both his hands 
upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the 
iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions 
in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall 
send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness," Levit. 
16: 21. Thus Isa. 53: 6, 7. He stood in our room, to bear our 
burden. And as Aaron laid the iniquities of the people upon the 
goat, so were ours laid on Christ; it was said to him in that day, 
On thee be their pride, their unbelief, their hardness of heart, 
their vain thoughts, their earthly-mindedness, &c. Thou art 
consecrated for them, to be the sacrifice in their room. His death 
was in our stead, as well as for our good. And so much his 
sanctifying himself [for us] imports. 
    7. His sanctifying himself, imparts the extraordinariness of 
his person: for it speaks him to be both Priest, Sacrifice, and 
altar, all in one: a thing unheard of in the world before. So that 
this name might well be called Wonderful. I sanctify myself: I 
sanctify, according to both natures; myself, i. e. my human nature, 
which was the sacrifice upon the altar of my divine nature; for it 
is the altar that sanctifies the gift. As the three offices never 
met in one person before, so these three things never met in one 
priest before. The priests indeed consecrated the bodies of beasts 
for sacrifices, but never offered up their own souls and bodies as a 
whole burnt offering, as Christ did. And thus you have the import of 
this phrase, I sanctify myself for their sakes. 
    Secondly, I shall show you briefly the habitude and respect 
that all this has to us; for unto us the scriptures every where 
refer it. So in 1 Cor. 5: 7. "Christ our passover is sacrificed for 
us." Eph. 5: 2. "He loved the church, and gave himself for it." See 
Tit. 2: 14. This will be made out, by a threefold consideration of 
Christ's death. And, 
    1. Let it be considered, that he was not offered up to God for 
his own sins for he was most holy. Isa. 53: 9. No iniquity was found 
in him. Indeed, the priests under the law offered for themselves, as 
well as the people; but Christ did not so, Heb. 7: 27. "He needed 
not daily, as those High-priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for 
his own sins, and then for the people's." And indeed had he been a 
sinner, what value or efficacy could have been in his sacrifice? He 
could not have been the sacrifice, but would have needed one. Now, 
if Christ were most holy, and yet put to death, and cruel 
sufferings, either his death or sufferings must be an act of 
injustice and cruelty, or it must respect others, whose persons and 
cause he sustained in that suffering capacity. He could never have 
suffered or died by the Father's hand, had he not been a sinner by 
imputation. And in that respect, as Luther speaks, he was the 
greatest of sinners; or, as the prophet Isaiah speaks, all our sins 
were made to meet upon Him; not that he was intrinsically, but was 
made so, so, by imputation, as is clear from 2 Cor. 5: 21. "He was 
made sin for us, who knew no sin." So that hence it is evident, that 
Christ's death, or sacrifice, is wholly a respective or relative 
    2. It is not to be forgotten here, that the scriptures 
frequently call the death of Christ a price, 1 Cor. 6: 20, and a 
ransom, Matt. 20: 28, or counterprice. To whom then does it relate, 
but to them that were, and are in bondage and captivity? If it was 
to redeem any, it must be captives: but Christ himself was never in 
captivity; he was always in his Father's bosom, as you have heard; 
but we were in cruel bondage and thraldom, under the tyranny of sin 
and Satan: and it is we only that have the benefit of this ransom. 
    3. Either the death of Christ must relate to believers, or else 
he must die in vain. As for the angels, those that stood in their 
integrity needed no sacrifice, and those that fell, are totally 
excluded from any benefit by it: he is not a Mediator for them. And 
among men that have need of it, unbelievers have no share in it, 
they reject it; such have no part in it. If then he neither died for 
himself, as I proved before, nor for angels, nor unbelievers; either 
his blood must be shed with respect to believers, or, which is most 
absurd, and never to be imagined, shed as water upon the ground, and 
totally cast away, so that you see by all this, it was for our 
sakes, as the text speaks, that he sanctified himself. And now we 
may say, Lord, the condemnation was thine, that the justification 
might be mine; the agony thine, that the victory might be mine; the 
pain was thine, and the ease mine; the stripes thine, and the 
healing balm issuing from them mine; the vinegar and gall were 
thine, that the honey and sweet might be mine; the curse was thine, 
that the blessing might be mine; the crown of thorns was thine, that 
the crown of glory might be mine; the death was thine, the life 
purchased by it mine; thou paidst the price that I might enjoy the 
    We come next to the inferences of truth deducible from this 
point, which follow. 
    Inference 1. If Jesus Christ did wholly set himself apart for 
believers, how reasonable is it that believers should consecrate and 
set themselves apart wholly for Christ? Is he all for us, and shall 
we be nothing for him? What he was, he was for you? Whatever he did, 
was done for you; and all that he suffered, was suffered for you. O 
then, "I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, present your 
bodies,", i. e. your whole selves, (for so body is there 
synecdochically put to signify the whole person) I say, "present 
your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is 
your reasonable service," Rom. 12: 1. As your good was Christ's end, 
so let his glory be your end. Let Christ be the "end of your 
conversation," Heb. 13: 7. As Christ could say, To me to live is 
you; so do you say, "For us to live is Christ," Phil. 1: 21. O that 
all who profess faith in Christ, could subscribe cordially to that 
profession, Rom. 14: 8. "None of us liveth to himself, and no man 
dies to himself; but whether we live, we live to the Lord; and 
whether we die, we die to the Lord; so then whether we live or die, 
we are the Lord's." This is to be a Christian indeed. What is a 
Christian, but an holy dedicated thing to the Lord? And what greater 
evidence can there be, that Christ set himself apart for you, than 
your setting yourselves apart for him? 
    This is the marriage covenant, Hos. 3: 3 "Thou shall be for me, 
and not for another; so will I be for thee." Ah, what a life is the 
life of a Christian; Christ all for you, and you all for him. 
Blessed exchange! Soul, (saith Christ) all I have is thine, Lord, 
(saith the soul) and all I have is thine. Soul, (saith Christ) my 
person is wonderful, but what I am, I am for thee: my life was spent 
in labour and travail, but lived for thee. And Lord, (saith the 
believers, my person is vile, and not worth thy accepting; but such 
as it is, it is thine; my soul, with all and every faculty; my body, 
and every member of it, my gifts, time, and all my talents are 
    And see that as Christ bequeathed and made over himself to you, 
so ye, in like manner, bestow and make over yourselves to him. He 
lived not, neither died (as you hear) for himself, but you. O that 
you, in like manner, would down with self, and exalt Christ in the 
room of it. 'Wo, wo is me, (saith one) that the holy profession of 
Christ is made a shewy garment by many to bring home a vain fame; 
and Christ is made to serve men's ends. This is to stop an oven with 
a king's robes. Except men martyr and slay the body of sin, in 
sanctified self-denial, they shall never be Christ's martyrs and 
faithful witnesses. O if I could be master of that house-idol, 
myself, mine own, mine own wit, will, credit, and ease, how blessed 
were I! O but we have need to be redeemed from ourselves, rather 
than from the devil and the world. Learn to put out yourselves, and 
to put in Christ for yourselves. I should make a sweet bargain, and 
give old for new, if I could shuffle out self, and substitute Christ 
my Lord in place of myself; to say, not I, but Christ; not my will, 
but Christ's; not my ease, not my lusts, not my credit, but Christ, 
Christ. - O wretched idol, myself, when shall I see thee wholly 
decourted, and Christ wholly put in thy room? O if Christ had the 
full place and room of myself, that all aims, purposes, thoughts and 
desires would coast and land upon Christ, and not upon myself.' 
    He set himself apart for you believers, and no others: no, not 
for angels but for you: Will ye also set yourselves apart peculiarly 
for Christ? be his, and no others? Let not Christ and the world 
share anal divide your hearts in two halves betwixt them; let not 
the world step in and say, half mine. You will never do Christ 
right, nor answer this grace, till you can say, as it is, Psal. 73: 
25, "Whom have I in heaven but thee? and on earth there is none that 
I desire in comparison of thee." None but Christ, none but Christ, 
is a proper motto for a Christian. 
    He left the highest and best enjoyments, even those in his 
Father's bosom, to set himself apart for death and suffering for 
you: Are you ready to leave the bosom of the best and sweetest 
enjoyments, you have in this world, to serve him? If you stand not 
habitually ready to leave father, mother, wife, children, lands, 
yea, and life too, to serve him, you are not worthy of him, Matt. 
10: 37. 
    He was so wholly given up to your service, that he refused not 
the worst and hardest part of it, even bleeding, groaning, 
dyingwork; his love to you sweetened all this to him; Can you say so 
too; do you "account the reproaches of Christ greater riches than 
the treasures of Egypt, as Moses did?" Heb. 11: 26. 
    He had so entirely devoted himself to your work, that He could 
not be at rest till it was finished: he was so intent upon it, that 
he "forgot to eat bread," John 4: 31`,32. So it should be with you; 
his service should be meat and drink to you. To conclude: 
    He was so wholly given up to your work and service, that he 
would not suffer himself to be in the least diverted, or taken off 
from it: and if Peter himself counsel him to favour himself, he 
shall hear, "Get thee behind me, Satan." O happy were it if our 
hearts were but so engaged for Christ! In Galen's time it was 
proverbial, when they would express the impossibility of a thing, 
You may as soon take off a Christian from Christ. Thus you see what 
use you should make of Christ's sanctifying himself for you. 
    Inf. 2. If Christ has sanctified or consecrated himself for us; 
learn hence, what a horrid evil it is, to use Christ or his blood, 
as a common and unsanctified thing. Yet so some do, as the apostle 
speaks, Heb. 10: 29. The apostate is said to tread upon the Son of 
God, as if he were no better than the dirt under his feet, and to 
count his blood an unholy (or common) thing. But wo to them that do 
so, they shall be counted worthy of something worse than dying 
without mercy, as the apostle there speaks. 
    And as this is the sin of the apostate, so it is also the sin 
of all those that without faith approach, and so profane the table 
of the Lord, unbelievingly and unworthily handling those awful 
things. Such "eat and drink judgement to themselves, not discerning 
the Lord's body," 1 Cor. 11:29. Whereas the body of Christ was a 
thing of the deepest sanctification that ever God created; 
sanctified (as the text tells us) to a far more excellent and 
glorious purpose than ever any creature in heaven or earth was 
sanctified. It was therefore the great sin of those Corinthians, not 
to discern it, and not to behave themselves towards it, when they 
saw and handled the signs of it, as became so holy a thing. 
    And as it was their great sin, so God declared his just 
indignation against it, in those sore strokes inflicted for it. As 
they discerned not the Lord's body, so neither did the Lord discern 
their bodies from others in the judgements that were inflicted. And, 
as one well observes, God drew the model and platform of their 
punishment, from the structure and proportion of their sin. And 
truly, if the moral and spiritual seeds and originals of many of our 
outward afflictions and sicknesses were but duly sifted out, 
possibly we might find a great part of them in the bowels of this 
    The just and righteous God will build up the breaches we make 
upon the honour of his Son, with the ruins of that beauty, strength 
and honour which he has given our bodies. O then, when you draw nigh 
to God in that ordinance, take heed to sanctify his name, by a 
spiritual discerning of this most holy, and most deeply sanctified 
body of the Lord; sanctified beyond all creatures, angels or men, 
not only in respect of the Spirit which filled him, without measure 
with inherent holiness, but also in respect of its dedication to 
such a service as this, it being set apart by him to such holy, 
solemn ends and uses, as you have heard. 
    And let it, for ever, be a warning to such as have lifted up 
their hands to Christ in a holy profession, that they never lift up 
their heel against him afterwards by apostasy. The apostate treads 
on God's dear Son, and God will tread upon him for it. "Thou hast 
trodden down all that err from thy statutes," Psal. 119: 118. 
    Inf. 3. What a choice pattern of love to saints have we here 
before us! Calling all that are in Christ to an imitation of him, 
even to give up ourselves to their service, as Christ did; not in 
the same kind, so none can give himself for them, but as we are 
capable. You see here how his heart was affected to them, that he 
would sanctify himself as a sacrifice for them. See to what a height 
of duty the apostle improves this example of Christ, 1 John 3: 16. 
"hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life 
for us, and we ought also to lay down our lives for the brethren." 
Some Christians came up fairly to this pattern in primitive times; 
Priscilla and Aquila laid down their necks for Paul, Rom. 16: 4. i. 
e. eminently hazarded their lives for him; and he himself could 
"rejoice, if he were offered up upon the sacrifice and service of 
their faith," Phil. 2: 17. And in the next times, what more known, 
even to the enemies of Christianity, than their fervent love one to 
another? Ecce quam mutuo se diligunt, et mori volunt pro alterutris! 
See how they love one another, and are willing to die one for 
    But alas! the primitive spirit is almost lost in this 
degenerate age: instead of laving down life, how few will lay down 
twelve pence for them? I remember, it is the observation of a late 
Worthy, upon Mat. 5: 44. That he is persuaded there is hardly that 
man to be found this day alive, that fully understands and fully 
believes that scripture. O, did men think what they do for them, is 
done for Christ himself, it would produce other effects than are yet 
    Infer. 4. Lastly, If Christ sanctified himself, that we might 
be sanctified by [or in] the truth; then it will follow, by sound 
consequence, That true sanctification is a good evidence that Christ 
set apart himself to die for us. In vain did he sanctify himself (as 
to you) unless you be sanctified. Holy souls only can claim the 
benefit of the great Sacrifice. O try then, whether true holiness 
(and that is only to be judged by its conformity to its pattern, 1 
Pet. 1: 15. "As he that called you is holy, so be ye holy"); whether 
such a holiness as is, and acts (according to its measure) like 
God's holiness, in the following particulars, be found in you. 
    1. God is universally holy in all his ways; so Psal. 145: 17. 
"His works are all holy:" whatever he does, it is still done as 
becomes a holy God: he is not only holy in all things, but at all 
times unchangeably holy. Be ye therefore holy in all things and at 
all times too, if ever you expect the benefit of Christ's 
sanctifying himself to die for you. 
    O brethren, let not the feet of your conversation be as the 
feet of a lame man, which are unequal, Prov. 20: 7. Be not sometimes 
hot, and sometimes cold; at one time careful, at another time 
careless; one day in a spiritual rapture, and the next in a fleshly 
frolic: but be ye holy "en pase anastrofe", 1 Pet. 1: 15. "in all 
manner of conversation," in every creek and turning of your lives: 
and let your holiness hold out to the end. "Let him that is holy, be 
holy still," Rev. 21: 11. Not like the hypocrite's paint, but as a 
true natural completion. 
    2. God is exemplarily holy, Jesus Christ is the great pattern 
of holiness. Be ye examples of holiness too, unto all that are about 
you. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your 
good works," Matth. 5: 16. As wicked men infect one another by their 
examples, and diffuse their poison and malignity, wherever they 
come; so do ye disseminate godliness in all places and companies; 
and let those that frequently converse with you, especially those of 
your own families, receive a deeper dye and tincture of heavenliness 
every time they come nigh you, as the cloth does by every new 
dipping into the vat. 
    3. God delights in nothing but holiness, and holy ones; he has 
set all his pleasure in the saints. Be ye holy herein, as God is 
holy. Indeed, there is this difference betwixt God's choice and 
yours; he chooses not men, because they are holy, but that they may 
be so; so you are to chose them for your delightful companions, that 
God has chosen and made holy. "Let all your delights be in the 
saints, even them that excel in virtue," Psal. 16: 3. 
    4. God abhors and hates all unholiness; do ye so likewise that 
ye may be like your Father which is in heaven. And when the Spirit 
of holiness runs down this upon you, a sweeter evidence the world 
cannot give, that Christ was sanctified for you. Holy ones may 
confidently lay the hand of their faith on the head of this great 
sacrifice, and say, "Christ our passover is sacrificed for us." 

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