JUSTIFICATION | SANCTIFICATION
Justification and Sanctification are really important words for us to grasp and understand to help shape our theology, yet so often we dont really understand what they mean, we can easily confuse them both and be a subtle slave to legalism (seeking to achieve forgiveness and acceptance from God by obedience to God)
Justification: The bible tells us in Romans 3:21-26 that we are made righteous and are justified through the atoning work of Jesus on the cross. The word Justified means to be “free from blame” we have all fallen short but as soon we accepted and trusted in Jesus’ work on the cross we were made completely clean. We cant earn it its a gift, we can now boldly come before the throne of God all because of Jesus.
Sanctification: Sanctification is separate to justification, justification is a finished work. Jesus died once and for all, Where as sanctification is an ongoing work. Sanctification means “to be made holy” or “set apart” The bible says we are being sanctified through God, (1 Thes 5:23) God’s word, (John 17:17) through His Spirit, for the obedience to Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:2) The bible also tells us train ourselves to be Godly, (1 Tim 4:7) to be Holy because He is Holy (Lev 19:2) and to aim for perfection (Matt 5:48)
Here is where we sometimes get it wrong, we can confuse sanctification with justification, we think that if we do all our “quiet times”, pray hard etc.. God will accept us and use us. But you know what you are already accepted through the blood of Christ and God wants to use you for His glory. Nothing can add or takeaway from that… of course we need to work with God to continue to be sanctified, justification is not an excuse for laziness or apathy or indeed sinfulness. But it means when you stand up to lead you do it on Gods merit not on your own. The pressure is off it’s all about Him not about us so lets keep the main thing the main thing.
Here is a helpful table taken from “The Cross Centred Life”
Justification is our position before God, sanctification is our practice
Justification is objective – Christ’s work for us, sanctification is subjective, Christ’s work within us
Justification is immediate and complete upon conversion, sanctification is a process.