The relation between justification and sanctification

“So that, my beloved, even as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much rather in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you both the willing and the working according to [his] good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12-13)

Why do all Christian catechisms, like the Westminster and the Lutheran catechisms, go through the Ten Commandments?
It is because that’s why we are saved…
We are saved for holiness.
Christ fulfilled the Law, and He did not abolish it.
We are saved to love God’s Law.
When we’re saved by faith alone, we do not nullify the Law, but we establish the Law through faith (and not through works of the Law): “Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law.” (Romans 3:31)
The Law will never be abolished.
The Old Covenant was abolished, not the Law.
The Lord Jesus abolished the Old Covenant and established the New Covenant.
But the Lord did not abolish the Law: “Think not that I am come to make void the law or the prophets; I am not come to make void, but to fulfil.” (Matthew 5:17)
If the Law were abolished, it would not be sinful to murder… It is the Law that says that we should not murder; and all the commandments.
The Law was not abolished, but the Old Covenant was abolished;
the general rule has changed, but the Law has not changed. There was a change in how we keep the Law, that is, by faith. That’s the change that happened to the Law: the general rule, the Covenant has changed.
We died to the Law so that we may do God’s Will expressed in the Law, because the Law was weak, not in itself, but because of the flesh, because of the sin which is in me, just as Paul explained: “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh” (Romans 8:3).
Paul explains all this very clearly… So why can’t people see this?…
We are freed from sin to obey the Law,
to obey it as sons, and not as slaves.
We are not under the Law, but under Grace,
and this very fact is the reason why sin shall not be master over us: “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for ye are not under law but under grace.” (Romans 6:14)
This does not in any way mean that the Law is bad, but it means that sin is bad.
The Law is holy and the commandment is holy: “So that the law indeed [is] holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” (Romans 7:12)
Because of sin which is in me, the Law cannot save me: “Did then that which is good become death to me? Far be the thought. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death to me by that which is good; in order that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful. For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am fleshly, sold under sin.” (Romans 7:13-14)
The Law can only save me by leading me to Christ,
it can only save me by the Spirit, by faith.
So the Law leads us to Christ.
We admit that we can’t keep the Law perfectly, so we come to the Savior,
and thus the requirement of the Law is fulfilled in us by the Spirit: “in order that the righteous requirement of the law should be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to flesh but according to Spirit.” (Romans 8:4)

We are saved to love the Law of God: “Oh how I love thy law! it is my meditation all the day.” (Psalm 119:97)
We are saved for holiness;
this is a biblical incontestable fact.
We are saints even by our calling;
we are called as saints.
There is no way to be a true Christian and not a saint.(*)
Many Christians today find this strange
Strange that we’re saved for holiness??!
Then are we saved for unrighteousness?…
Were we not slaves of sin? Are we not saved to be slaves of righteousness (humanly speaking)? “Now, having got your freedom from sin, ye have become bondmen to righteousness. I speak humanly on account of the weakness of your flesh. For even as ye have yielded your members in bondage to uncleanness and to lawlessness unto lawlessness, so now yield your members in bondage to righteousness unto holiness.” (Romans 6:18-19)
We are saved from lawlessness to love the Law.
We are saved for holiness;
that’s God’s Glory!
Many of them say we’re saved to God’s Glory!
Do they realize what that means??
That means we are saved to shine God’s Glory which is holiness.
We are saved to share in Christ’s divine Nature, i.e. HOLINESS: “through which he has given to us the greatest and precious promises, that through these ye may become partakers of [the] divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (2 Peter 1:4)
This is not a partaking in God’s Nature in absolute, but a partaking in Christ’s divine Nature, i.e. HOLINESS.
We’re in Christ,
we are holy in Him,
apart from Him we are nothing.
Holiness means we know we’re totally lost sinners,
we in ourselves are totally lost sinners not only before we “were saved” (as they say it),
but now and tomorrow and until we see Him in the heavenly glory!
Nothing in us deserves Salvation;
it’s wholly of Him; it’s wholly His work.

This is the only way the link between justification and sanctification is safeguarded.
Sanctification is not separate from justification, although they are distinct.
This in no way means that we’re justified by being sanctified!!… This is what many do not understand…
What I am saying is that it is IMPOSSIBLE to be justified and yet be unholy.
IMPOSSIBLE… because that would be a big insult against God’s Glory, against Christ’s blood.
Christ saves perfectly and truly;
Christ saves to make people holy;
He doesn’t just give tickets to Heaven!!!
Jesus Christ saves us to make us a HOLY NATION,
for His own POSSESSION,
SET APART for Him,
to tell about His GREATNESS.
“But ye [are] a chosen race, a kingly priesthood, a holy nation, a people for a possession, that ye might set forth the excellencies of him who has called you out of darkness to his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9)
CHOSEN from the world to be His own;
CALLED OUT of darkness to light;
PRIESTHOOD; we are not secular during the week and religious only on Sunday; we are His priesthood all the days of our lives and in all what we do;
so that we proclaim not simply in words, but in everything, even with the breath that we breathe,
the EXCELLENCIES of Him who has called us,
who called us AS SAINTS.

Sanctification ALSO is by faith alone!!
Sanctification is Salvation: we are saved to be holy.
Sanctification is what Salvation practically is.
Sanctification is what we got when we were justified,
so when we were justified, sanctification was included in what we received by faith alone:
“But whom he has predestinated, these also he has called; and whom he has called, these also he has justified; but whom he has justified, these also he has glorified.” (Romans 8:30)
As you see, the verse does not talk about sanctification… Do you know why?
Because that is included in “justified”. And the sure hope of it is included in “glorified”. The past “has glorified” means we have the final holiness, God’s Glory, for sure.
In other places, the Spirit talks about sanctification without mentioning justification, because it goes without saying that sanctification is impossible without real justification, and that real justification cannot exist without having with it real sanctification.
IMPOSSIBLE to be justified without becoming holy.

Sanctification is something we already have fully; we already have it in Christ, ALL of it.
At this point many refuse to continue to listen to me, because they think I am saying there is no progressive sanctification…
No, there is… But let’s understand what it really is…
We have all what there is in sanctification, i.e. holiness; we have it fully in Christ, all of it: “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who has been made to us wisdom from God, and righteousness, and holiness, and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30). We have received by faith in Christ the whole of this, all graces related to our Salvation, from the grace of Election, to the grace of justification, to the grace of sanctification, and to the grace of glorification in Him; we have received all these graces from Christ’s fullness: “for of his fulness we all have received, and grace upon grace.” (John 1:16) So we have received all what there is in sanctification, i.e. holiness.
But we have not yet reached the full measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ practically. We all are on that way, although the fullness of Christ is in the Church, His body. We have the whole of Christ, but we have not reached that fullness in practice.
So we grow in that which we already have fully in Christ; we grow in sanctification.
Christ is all what we will reach in our sanctification progress.
Christ is what we aim to as we are getting sanctified day after day.
So the final goal is Christ,
being like Christ: “But we all, looking on the glory of the Lord, with unveiled face, are transformed according to the same image from glory to glory, even as by [the] Lord [the] Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)
From glory to glory, i.e. from one level of holiness to another.
But we already have the whole of this, the whole of sanctification (i.e. holiness); we have it all in our account in justification.
We have all the merits of Christ counted as ours in justification.
So we have the whole holiness of Christ accounted to us.
This is what we call justification: we don’t have it in ourselves, but it is accounted to us.
So now that it is accounted to us and we have it as ours, we grow in it, because we have a new nature that we got in new birth and that should grow until we reach the full stature of Christ.
We reach that fullness when we see Him as He is; the Apostle John explained this:
“See what love the Father has given to us, that we should be called [the] children of God. For this reason the world knows us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we children of God, and what we shall be has not yet been manifested; we know that if it is manifested we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:1-2)
So we are children of God now,
but we’ve not reached the final goal which we already have accounted to us;
but we KNOW we will have it; we know that FOR SURE, that’s why we wait for it and it is called our hope: “For we have been saved in hope; but hope seen is not hope; for what any one sees, why does he also hope? But if what we see not we hope, we expect in patience.” (Romans 8:24-25)
We expect that glory in patience, because we KNOW we will have it.
Paul further explained that we are PREDESTINED to it, predestined to be like His Son: “Because whom he has foreknown, he has also predestinated [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, so that he should be [the] firstborn among many brethren.” (Romans 8:29)
So we are going toward that final goal, KNOWING that we have it for sure, because we are JUSTIFIED;
we KNOW it!
And this gives peace!
And as we know it for sure, therefore, after saying what we read above, John adds:
“And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” (1 John 3:3)
If we would say this in other terms: “Everyone who has this sure hope that he will be like the Son will surely grow in sanctification, purifying himself more and more each day (the washing of the feet), just as He is pure”.
THIS is the sure hope we’re talking about: “to whom God would make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the nations, which is Christ in you the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27).
We now have Christ; He is the sure hope of glory.
Those who don’t have this hope of glory cannot be sanctified in the right way.
Many Christians do not understand this, so they get tired and confused in their way of sanctification until they realize this truth, and then they practically experience the peace that they already had.
Others simply are not really saved, so they don’t have this truth in them; they don’t have this hope of glory.

“by whom we have also access by faith into this favour in which we stand, and we boast in hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:2)
We boast, means we exult boldly, knowing that we have the object of our happiness for sure.
Note it: we exult in this hope
the hope of the Glory of God…
This means: we exult in the full holiness that we know we already have.
The Glory of God is holiness, as we saw above; God is Holy. He has saved us to shine His Glory, i.e. His Holiness.
We were previously separated from this Glory: “for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
So if Christ just gives us free tickets to Heaven without making us holy, then we still fall short of the Glory of God!
Then we can’t exult in hope of the Glory of God!
Then Christ has failed!
This is antinomianism, the belief that we don’t need to obey God’s Law because we are saved by faith. Such a faith is a dead faith that cannot save; it’s a faith that dishonor’s Christ.

So the right balance between antinomianism and legalism is justification by Grace alone through faith alone. This justification is not separate from sanctification, as we are seeing in this article.

This is the true Gospel,
the power of God for Salvation;
and not a false gospel that just gives people imaginary free tickets to Heaven and then enslaves them again to the flesh by leading them to legalism.
In the false gospel, people are just supposedly accounted as righteous, but the so-called righteous is not really righteous, but he is dead by a dead faith that does not work through love.
The true Gospel is the power of God for Salvation;
in it the Righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith,
so that as it is written: “But the just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:17)
This is the true Gospel,
so that the just (or the righteous) may LIVE by faith,
not DIE by faith!!
All other gospels are false,
gospels of death,
bad news.
It is because of this true Gospel that we overcome,
that we rejoice even in our troubles and tribulations;
even when we mourn, we rejoice in Christ,
and we exult in the hope of the Glory of God!
This is what the Apostle Paul explained:
“And not only [that], but we also boast in tribulations, knowing that tribulation works endurance; and endurance, experience; and experience, hope; and hope does not make ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by [the] Holy Spirit which has been given to us: for we being still without strength, in [the] due time Christ has died for [the] ungodly. (Romans 5:3-6)
Then he explains how this is the link between the assurance of justification and the assurance of sanctification:
“For if, being enemies, we have been reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much rather, having been reconciled, we shall be saved in [the power of] his life.” (Romans 5:10)
This is about the assurance of sanctification.
Saved by His life.
What does this mean?
This is about sanctification.
His sinless life in our stead and the power of His resurrection contain in them all what we aim to in our progress in sanctification; in the power of His life we are saved (i.e. sanctified to the end until full holiness).
This is what Paul explained in the following verse:
“So that, my beloved, even as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much rather in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12).
This means that we will work out (seek, be after) our sanctification by faith alone, and not by trying to keep the Law by the flesh.
There is no other way to be sanctified;
all other ways are wrong;
no one can be truly sanctified unless he is justified by faith alone.
If he still relies on 0.0001% of anything in himself, then he is NOT sanctified.
Practically, a saint may fall sometimes and rely on himself,
but he doesn’t lose the war; just a battle;
he doesn’t lose Christ;
he doesn’t lose his justification.
That’s why we are disciplined;
actually, God’s discipline keeps us in the right way, in the way of holiness: “For they indeed chastened for a few days, as seemed good to them; but he for profit, in order to the partaking of his holiness.” (Hebrews 12:10)
The goal of His discipline is that we be partakers of His holiness, partakers of the divine Nature, as we have seen above.
So God’s discipline keeps the saint in the right way, in the way of holiness. Read more about this.
So if he practically fell and relied sometime on himself,
he turns and confesses his error,
so he doesn’t rely on himself as a pattern,
so he is sanctified.
This is all done by God’s Grace;
His Spirit works all this;
we do nothing from us;
GOD works in us to will and to do, to work for His good pleasure.
This is why, after exhorting the Philippian saints to work out their Salvation (as we read above), Paul added:
“for it is God who works in you both the willing and the working according to [his] good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13)
And this is very comforting.

The Bible is so consistent with itself;
All this is in the Bible,
and it is clear;
just needs a seeking heart,
a heart thirsty and hungry for righteousness.
Let’s be thirsty! Let’s be addicted to this water!
Let’s sit at the feet of the Lord Jesus Christ, and learn from Him alone.

All Glory to God our Father in Jesus Christ our Lord! Amen!


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1 Response to The relation between justification and sanctification

  1. Salpy says:

    Glory to God. God bless you brother – to the point, thorough, understandable.

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