September 2, 2022
Justification and sanctification are two words in the Christian lexicon that we need to have a right standing with God. To fully understand both words, we shared a guide for justification vs sanctification — and how each is accomplished.
An act of God, justification is the process by which God declares sinners to be righteous in His sight — as a result of faith in Jesus Christ and His work on the cross. It’s a free gift from God or a legal declaration of righteousness that isn’t earned through works but rather through faith in Christ alone.
Justification is accomplished by God’s grace alone. To be justified, we must have faith that God raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 4:25). We must also be united with Christ through faith and accept him as our Lord and Savior (Romans 8:9; 2 Corinthians 5:18). Once we are justified by faith, we will never lose our salvation.
Sanctification is a process of becoming holy. It’s a continuous process that enables believers to become more like Christ and less like the world. Accomplished through the power of the Holy Spirit working within us, sanctification isn’t a one-time event but rather a lifelong journey — as a person continues to seek God and follow His commandments.
Moreover, sanctification is achieved through good works and avoiding evil (James 2:26). When we do good deeds and avoid the bad, we are becoming more like Christ. We are making progress toward holiness. Through sanctification, God transforms us from being sinful and self-serving into his holy children — who are able to live according to his will. While God knows who is saved and who is not, Christians are able to see the good works that professing believers do as a sign that they have truly been saved.
Overall, justification is what makes us holy in the eyes of God, while sanctification is the process of becoming holy. Both terms are blessings of the gospel. They always go hand in hand, and each has a unique role in the life of a believer.
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