Justification We are saved from the PENALTY of Sin.
Sanctification We are being saved from the Power of Sin
Justification begins our sanctification. We are both Justified (a one time event) and in the process of being sanctified(on going). Sanctification begins with our justification, it is a process that conforms us to Christ’s likeness. Justification is a legal declaration of a sinner being righteous before the Father, it does not make us self-righteous.
Someone who is a Christian for 10 years is no more justified than when the first became a believer. It is through the process of our dying to self and being obedient to the word and the Spirit we are daily changed, in God’s eyes we are completed and accepted because of our faith in Jesus’ work on the cross.
Our justification is by faith in the work of the Son of God on the cross, his shed blood and death for forgiveness of our sins. Justification is the work of God where the righteousness of Jesus is imparted to the sinner, so the sinner is declared by God as being righteous. This righteousness is not earned or retained by any effort of the saved. Justification is an instantaneous occurrence with the result being eternal life. It is based completely and solely upon Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and is received by faith alone. No works are necessary whatsoever to obtain justification. Otherwise, it is not a gift.
At the moment of faith, the new Christian is marked and sealed with the Spirit, who was promised to act as a deposit to guarantee the heavenly inheritance. The end result is that God’s glory is praised. For a Christian to lose salvation, God would have to erase the mark, withdraw the Spirit, cancel the deposit, break His promise, revoke the guarantee, keep the inheritance, forego the praise, and lessen His glory.
We do nothing to obtain or earn salvation (salvation being a free gift of God’s grace), then how can we lose salvation? Conditional security is acceptable only to those who also believe that they somehow contributed to their salvation in the first place.
Ephesians 2:8-9(ESV) “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast,” which clearly states that we contribute absolutely nothing to our salvation; even the faith necessary to receive the gift of grace, is itself a gift from God.
You are no more justified the first day you accepted Christ than the your last day on earth, you may be more sanctified but you are no more justified. A Christian is justified. Romans 5:1 (ESV)“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” To “justify” means to “declare righteous.” All those who receive Jesus as Savior are “declared righteous” by God. For a Christian to lose salvation, God would have to go back on His Word and “un-declare” what He had previously declared.
We are being saved from the Power of Sin
Sanctification-is a continual process that conforms us into the image of the Son of God. Sanctification follows justification. In justification our sins are completely forgiven in Christ. Sanctification is the process by which the Holy Spirit makes us more like Christ in all that we do, think, and desire. Jesus meets us where we are but His goal is to never leave us where He met us, We are to follow Him and strive for holiness AFTER He meets us where we are.
True sanctification is impossible apart from the atoning work of Christ on the cross because only after our sins are forgiven can we begin to lead a holy life.
Sanctification is the same Greek word as holiness, “hagios,” meaning a separation. To sanctify means to be set apart for a holy use. God has set us apart for the purpose of sanctification not impurity (1 Thessalonians 4:7(ESV) For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. 8 Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.)
Sanctification, or in its verbal form, sanctify, literally means “to set apart” for special use or purpose, that is, to make holy or sacred. Therefore, sanctification refers to the state or process of being set apart, i.e. made holy.
God’s pattern for spiritual growth starts with understanding what the Bible says and what it means. The meaning of the Scripture is the Scripture—if you don’t know what it means, you don’t have the truth. So the process of spiritual growth starts with understanding what the Bible says.
We grow in Christlikeness and experience victory over the sins we’ve been enslaved to by learning to find more joy in God than in sin. A huge ally in the sanctification process is hatred of sin. And while many Christians struggling with habitual sin know that they should hate their sin enough to forever flee from it, the reality is that a part of them still loves it. And that can be confusing. How can you love God so much, read his Word all the time, go to weekly accountability meetings, and still be enslaved to this sin? Ultimately, I think it’s because we still love that sin deep down. And I think the reason we still love it deep down is that we don’t hate it deep down.
So why don’t we hate it?
A big reason hatred for sin is lacking could be that we don’t see it for the what it truly is. We give it less-than-horrible names and treat it lightly. Or to say it another way, we just don’t call our sins for what they are, because to do so would be to face the ugly truth about ourselves. Here are some examples of ways I’ve typically heard myself or others describe sin.
1. “I screwed up last night.”
2. “I’m struggling with anxiety.”
3. “I’m having a hard time getting in the Word.”
4. “Prayer hasn’t really been consistent.”
The problem with these phrases is that none of them sound that bad. They succeed in getting across a “This isn’t the best thing to do” vibe, but also a “Oh well no one’s perfect” one, and that’s the problem. They don’t capture the magnitude of the fact that your sin cost Jesus his life. Here’s the same list again, in the same order, worded now in such a way to capture what’s really going on:
1. “I looked at porn and masturbated.”
2. “I don’t trust in God’s goodness and provision.”
3. “Other things are just more important to me than God.”
4. “Prayer has no value to me. I feel like God’s either not there or doesn’t care.”
Things like these are a lot harder to say. The more specific we get with our sin, the more uncomfortable it becomes to confess it, because we’re starting to see it for what it really is. The lines in the first list aren’t untrue. But I don’t feel as terrible saying them since they’re sugar-coated. When I go deeper though and say the words in the other list, I’m far more ashamed and disgusted. It’s a lot more jolting.
If we’re not calling sin for what it is and owning up to it, we’ll never learn to hate it. Sin is personal, not abstract. For example, if a wife catches her husband looking at porn, she’s going to take it personally. What he’s doing says something about how he views her, in this case her desirability. Similarly, sin says something about how we view God. Struggling to find time to get in God’s Word isn’t primarily a discipline issue. It’s an issue of you not finding God desirable enough to spend good quality time with him.
True sanctification begins with renewing your mind. You must know the truth, plain and simple. There’s no premium on ignorance in sanctification. You’re not going to get there through some emotional or mystical experience. Spiritual growth won’t happen by osmosis—it requires the discipline of constantly putting God’s truth in your mind.
Romans 12:2(NLT)2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Romans 13:12-14(ESV)12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
Then it is up to us; Sanctification is not instantaneous because it is not the work of God alone, it is the God working His character in us. But it takes us to exert the fruits of the spirit.
Matthew 16:24 (ESV)Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
Colossians 3:5 (ESV)Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.
Sanctification is the process of being set apart for God’s work and being conformed to the image of Christ. This conforming to Christ involves the work of the person, but it is still God working in the believer to produce more of a godly character and life in the person who has already been justified. Sanctification is not instantaneous because it is not the work of God alone. The justified person is actively involved in submitting to God’s will, resisting sin, seeking holiness, and working to be more godly.
Sanctification has no bearing on justification. That is, even if we don’t live a perfect life, we are still justified. Our salvation is not that fragile, we don’t LOSE it when we sin.
Jesus says in Acts 1:8(HCSB)8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” that baptism in the Spirit means, “You shall receive power . . . and you shall be my witnesses.”
This is an experience of boldness and confidence and victory over sin. A Christian without power to overcome sin is a Christian who needs a baptism in the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 6:11(HCSB) And some of you used to be like this. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Jesus spoke about the Holy Spirit before His crucifixion and resurrection. He said it was promised as a HELPER.
John 14:15 (ESV)“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
John 14:26 (ESV)But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
Jesus gave the Spirit as a “compensation” for His absence, to perform the functions toward us which He would have done if He had remained personally with us.
The Spirit has many functions, roles, and activities. First, He does a work in the hearts of all people everywhere. Jesus told the disciples that He would send the Spirit into the world to “convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:7-11). Everyone has a “God consciousness,” whether or not they admit it. The Spirit applies the truths of God to minds of men to convince them by fair and sufficient arguments that they are sinners. Responding to that conviction brings men to salvation.
The Holy Spirit is our Helper to get through Sanctification.
Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
The Greek word for power here is “Dunamis” it is the power for performing miracles, moral power and excellence of soul, power to overcome sin.
Ephesians 5:18 (NLT)Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, The scripture here is present tense meaning to continually be filled. Baptism of the spirit is not a one time thing.
Now, the Holy Spirit can’t do all the work for us. We’re still responsible to do our part—especially to consistently read our Bibles and pray, asking the Spirit to show us the truth and teach us how to live.
It’s important to remember that the Spirit will not prompt us to do anything that goes against Scripture. People sometimes justify their actions by saying, “My conscience told me … ” We need to make sure we’re listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit, not the voice of our own desires. And we know which is which by checking this voice against the truth of God’s Word.
How can you tell if you’re being led by the Spirit? By the “fruit” of your life—your attitudes and actions. Galatians 5:22-25(HCSB) 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, we must also follow the Spirit.
Are these things evident in your life?