“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10 (ESV)
“The whole may be thus summed up: Christ given to us by the kindness of God is apprehended and possessed by faith, by means of which we obtain in particular a twofold benefit; first, being reconciled by the righteousness of Christ, God becomes, instead of a judge, an indulgent Father; and, secondly, being sanctified by his Spirit, we aspire to integrity and purity of life.” John Calvin
The 16th century Protestant Reformer John Calvin is credited with saying that “while we must always distinguish between justification and sanctification, we must never separate them.” Again,let us understand what is meant by justification and sanctification.
Justification is a one-time act of God, by which God declares the repentant sinner righteous in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone, by sovereign grace alone, through the means of God given faith alone. Sanctification, on the other hand, is a continual process of growing in the holiness and the grace and knowledge of God (I Peter 1:16-18; 2 Peter 3:18). Through the process of sanctification, the believer, while never sinless this side of heaven, begins to sin less, and less and less.
Sanctification always follows justification. Justification is the foundation for biblical and true sanctification. There are those who believe that their attempts at holy living will accomplish their justification before God. That is a lie from the devil himself. Yet, how many are there who believe the lie?
Dr. John Piper writes, “The pursuit of holy living begins with the first mustard seed of faith. That’s the nature of saving faith. It finds satisfaction in Christ and so is weaned away from the satisfaction of sin.”
What of the individual who professes faith in Christ but does not consistently live a holy life? Is that individual truly a believer in union with Christ? The Scriptures emphatically say no (Galatians 5:16-23; I John 2:18-20; 3:4-10). The Apostle John repeatedly stated that if we love God, we will keep His commandments (John 14:15; I John 2:1-6; 29; 3:24; 5:1-5). While we will never do so perfectly, believers in Christ strive to do so consistently.
Charles Hodge writes, “For if any man (individual) is in Christ he is a new creature. Union with Christ is a source of a new life, and a life unto holiness; and therefore it is said created unto good works. Holiness is the end of redemption, for Christ gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people zealous of good works (Titus 2:14). Those, therefore, who live in sin are not the subjects of this redemption.
Thank the Lord today for not only justifying you but also sanctifying you through the means of God’s Word, prayer, corporate worship and personal devotion to God. Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Soli deo Gloria!