Understanding the Role of Justification

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.


Dane Ortlund

Pastor and best-selling author Dane Ortlund offers words of encouragement to those seeking to grow deeper in their faith, making the case that sanctification is not accomplished by doing more or becoming better, but by going deeper into Christ himself.

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.

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