Week 30 – Sanctification: More Grace
Everything we receive from God — salvation, spiritual gifts, a deeper hunger to know Him — are of grace.
In the negative sense, sanctification is the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit to free us from bondage, ungodly habits and the pollution of sin. In the positive sense, sanctification is the process by which God sets believers apart for Himself by making them whole. Jesus, our pattern, transforms every aspect of our lives so that we can say with Paul, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me” (Galatians 2:20).
|You have died to:||You are alive to:|
|Sin – Romans 6:6-12||Christ – Romans 6:8|
|The world – Galatians 6:14||God – Romans 6:11|
The Gift and Pursuit of Righteousness
The gift of righteousness that the Lord provides us through faith makes this new life possible. Where self-will fails, encountering the beauty and goodness of God triumphs, helping us to understand our rebirth as His holy and blameless children (Ephesians 2:4-7). We do not try to live right to become holy in God’s sight, but we live right because we have been made holy (Ephesians 2:10). This is the gift of God.
Although the old life can creep up on us, remembering our right standing with God through the blood of Jesus keeps guilt, condemnation, alienation and other effects of “the Fall” out of our lives.
Righteousness as a gift (result of justification) enables us to stand before God with the confidence that we are His own. This is called imputed righteousness and comes when we are born again. (Romans 1:17; 2 Corinthians 5:21). It is undeserved, a gift, and all we need to stand before God without guilt, shame or fear. This imputed righteousness becomes our own when we turn to the Lord in faith. God credits to our account the worth of His own precious Son.
“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Righteousness as a pursuit is the process of sanctification. As His interests replace our interests, we hunger and thirst for more of His righteousness (Matthew 5:6). God Himself builds within us a deep desire to do what’s right. This is a progressive work but typically begins at the salvation experience.
“For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image or His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren…and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified” (Romans 8:29).
Glorification is the ultimate completion of our salvation. As we seek God’s glory, He rewards us with His commendation (Matthew 25:21, 23), an imperishable body (1 Corinthians 15:53), and an eternal inheritance (Colossians 3:24). Confusing sanctification with justification leads to error and heresy. The table below compares these two graces:
|Right standing with God||Right living for God|
|Legal righteousness||Moral righteousness|
|Through position||By practice|
|Act of God||Process of God|
|Jesus’ cross||Our cross|
|One time and forever||Ongoing|
|Declaration about us||Something done in us|
|Totally without our aid||Process involving our aid|
|Takes away our guilt instantly||Takes away our shame progressively|
|Produces a desire to be sanctified||Springs from being justified|
|God as Judge||God as Tutor and Surgeon|
|The message of Romans||The message of 1 and 2 Corinthians|
|Imputed righteousness||Imparted righteousness|
|Romans 4:8, 5:18||2 Corinthians 7:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 12:14|
We need a healthy balance. Justification without sanctification misses the dynamic and glorious relationship with God. Scripture says, “Without sanctification no man can see God” (Hebrews 12:14). Sanctification apart from justification produces instability, condemnation and insecurity.
|Justification without Sanctification||Sanctification without Justification|
All we receive is by God’s Grace “…to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:6)
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, Who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds” (Titus 2:11-14).
According to this passage, grace…
Brings salvation – saves us — instructs us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires; enables us, tells us to live sensibly, righteously, and godly in the present age; empowers us, keeps us looking ahead for the appearing of Jesus – keeps us pressing on!
|Titus 2:11||Titus 2:12||Titus 2:13-14|
|Gives us salvation||Keeps us saved||Gets us home|
|Grace that accepts us||Grace that enables us||Grace that transforms us|
- Is sanctification an instantaneous, additional work of grace, or an ongoing process?
- Who inspires us toward a more godly life?
- What is our eternal inheritance?