Monday, June 24, 2013

justification vs. sanctification

so...i chatted with you a bit here about some struggles that may be taking place in life... with doubts or letting those fearful, menacing thoughts into your mind...thoughts that corrupt what the truth of God is or try to exhaust your life with the Holy Spirit... thoughts that tell you lies & take your focus away from our loving God's word & message. 

adam & i have MANY books that i've purchased in bulk, but am slowly making my way through...purchased with the intentions of reading them's just taking me a while. day when i wanted to lay out, i wanted to pick a small(ish) book. adam & i looked for a little bit & i decided to read "not even a hint" by joshua harris. this is about guarding your heart against lust & how God expects not even a hint of lust. however, i have found this book to be much more than just discussing lust. i found a part that we have talked about in church, but it was nice to hear it again. and in the midst of my head & thoughts being anxious & exhausting me, this was just what i needed to relax & hand it back to God...just the reminder i needed. i wanted to share. 

this is an excerpt from the said book:

Two Important Words
An important part of standing firm in the gospel and avoiding legalism is understanding the difference between the work Christ accomplished to save us and the work of becoming holy that He enables us to participate in after we've been saved. Theologians assign the terms justification and sanctification to these two closely related but different concepts. 

C.J. Mahaney gives the following definition of each:

*Justification refers to your status before God. When you placed your faith in Jesus, God the judge handed down the verdict that you are righteous. He transferred the perfect sinless record of Jesus to you. God completely and totally forgave you. He not only wiped away the record of your sin; He credited the righteousness of His Son to you. 

*Sanctification is a process--the process of becoming more like Christ, of growing in holiness. This process began the instant you were converted and will not end until you meet Jesus face to face. Through the work of His spirit, through the power of His Word, and through fellowship with other believers, God peels away our desire for sin, renews our minds, and changes our lives. This ongoing work is what we call being sanctified.

Why do these theological terms even matter? Because they have everything to do with God's plan for changing sinners like you and me. 
Too many people confuse the process of sanctification with God's declaration of justification. In other words, they think that their work at becoming holy and fighting lust is what saves them. No! The process of sanctification is the result of being justified. Nothing we do in our pursuit of holiness adds to our justification.
All the necessary and important aspects of pursuing holiness don't add to our salvation; they're the response to and the result of God's finished work of justifying us. Christ died so that we could be freed from the hopeless task of trying to justify ourselves. We no longer have to grovel in obedience under the rule of our human contracts, or what John Stott calls our "systems of merit."
Our obedience cannot earn our forgiveness. Our sorrow cannot pay for our sins. Our tears cannot cover them. No amount of self-inflicted punishment can make us right before God. Even our own death is not enough. 
There is only one solution: to believe on Jesus Christ. To renounce all hope in our own ability to save ourselves and to place our faith in His ability to save us.

i hope this has encouraged you like it has me. i hope that you walk away overjoyed with the love our Lord has for us. and even when you don't always understand everything the Christ has done...or understand "why me?" just stop trying to figure it out, have gratitude & just accept it. 

lots of love,

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