What is the difference between being justified and sanctified?
Justified is a legal declaration of being not guilty. As if a judge he put the gavel down and pronounced it out loud for all to hear. Paul who was once living by the law stated “ And by Him (Christ) e veryone who believes is justified from all things by which you could not be justified by the law of Moses ” (Acts 13:39).
The believer is justified (legally declared right before a holy and righteous God) by his faith –Acts 13:39, 15:9, 26:18, Rom. 3:28, 3:30, 4:4, 5:1; Gal. 2:16, 3:24 [every saint in the Old Testament was justified by faith (Heb.11:4). As soon as one believes they are justified, then begins the sanctification process to that leads to our glorification.
The New Testament unanimously speaks of justification by our believing in the work of God through Jesus Christ, in His crucifixion. His righteousness is given to those who exercise faith, not to those who work. Titus 3:6-7: “whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
Faith is the initial act of obedience that puts one in right standing with God, receiving salvation. Our new spiritual life starts at this point. 1 Cor. 6:11: “But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” We are justified by believing the gospel without any work. God accepts us fully and completely by our exercising faith; by repenting, turning toward Him and trusting, relying on Him.
Rom. 4:23-25 we read, “ Now it is not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him, but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered for our offenses and was raised again for our justification .”
Christ’s death is accepted for mans sin by God the Father. We are justified by His life given in our place. Nothing else can accomplish what Christ did and this why we are to have faith in Him alone. Gal. 2:16: “ knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified .”
Biblically, our sanctification began when we were justified, past tense, and it’s all by faith. Justification is a legal declaration to be right before God; sanctification is a continuing work. We have been sanctified and we are still being sanctified until we are called home and glorified.
The Holy Spirit conveys Christ’s nature and qualities to the believer through the sanctification process by faith and obeying the Word. “ The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control ” (Gal. 5:22-23). It is worked into the believer daily through trials and our exercise by faith. We find sanctification and cleansing, (purifying) are attributed to Christ's blood, Heb. 9, 10:10; 1 Pet. 1:2; to the Holy Spirit, 1 Peter 1:22; 1 Cor. 5:11; and through the Word Jn. 17:17.
Paul tell us to co-operate in the power of the Spirit to control the flesh
which is fallen. We separate ourselves from the world, sin and the
temptations of the Devil and are being sanctified. This is where our
spiritual warfare is found, to die to self and live in the Spirit.
Are you letting the process of sanctification take place, letting God improve you by conforming you to his Son’s likeness? As the flesh is subdued the Spirit is empowered. it is a daily fight
Col. 3:5: Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.”
This is because sin is still present in the world and our enemy. Rom.
O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
I thank God-- through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I
myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin
Ps. 16:11 You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore .”
There is a day we will look back on it all and know it was worth the pain and struggle. We have his promises.
Ps. 37:27-29 Depart from evil, and do good; And dwell forevermore. For the LORD loves justice, And does not forsake His saints; They are preserved forever, But the descendants of the wicked shall be cut off. The righteous shall inherit the land, And dwell in it forever.”