Sanctification and Justification
Theologically understood, justification is the moment—the event—that God declares a sinner righteous in his sight. They are perfectly righteous as far as their status goes, legally acquitted and in good standing before him. That happens at the moment of conversion.
Sanctification is a counterpart to justification and is the process that follows thereafter. It is our growth in Christ. In our minds and hearts we don’t leave behind our justified status—being right with God freely because of the work of Christ—as we think about sanctification.
Rather, we grow as we are enjoying and going deeper in what it means that God has freely justified us in Christ. That’s what melts our hearts. We don’t crowbar ourselves into growth. We ponder each day, starting each day on this glorious platform of being righteous in Christ:
We grow as we are enjoying and going deeper in what it means that God has freely justified us in Christ.
I am perfectly justified. Nothing can ever dent that. Nothing can ever stain that. I am perfectly right before God; therefore, I’m free. I can go about my day with that cloak of righteousness about me and no one can rip it off no matter the accusations of the enemy or the sins of the day.
We are righteous in Christ. Continuing to relish what it means to be justified is a key part of how we actually get traction in our sanctification.
Dane C. Ortlund is the author of Deeper: Real Change for Real Sinners.
Justification by faith does not draw attention to ourselves and our great faith but rather to Christ and God’s great work of redemption through him.
Knowing that you are a beloved child does not leave you complacent and self-satisfied.
Sanctification is absolutely essential to the life of faith—so much so that Scripture frequently treats holiness as the identifying mark of a true believer.
Over the course of five days, be encouraged by God’s commitment to his own in this devotional adaptation from John Piper’s book, Providence.