For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. Hebrews 10:14
Last Sunday we had a clear exposition from Scripture of what it means for a sinner to be justified (declared righteous by God ) and then be actively involved in their progressive sanctification (conforming to the likeness of Christ).
My question for you to consider is; “why is it that these two doctrines, stated and described in the Scriptures most clearly, are two doctrines that are the most misunderstood and misappropriated." Not only do so many misunderstand what these vital doctrines mean but people (especially in the religious arena) place their own spin on how the two fit together.
The general trend among many religious circles and in the secular world is to try and earn through good behaviour, acts of kindness, benevolence, and generosity a right standing before God - or be justified.
The problem is, this is completely back to front. Man in his depravity has a sinful bent toward earning his justification rather than understanding that our justification is awarded to us as a free gift from God through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone, with nothing from ourselves to offer. (Rom. 5:1; Eph. 2:8)
It’s only upon being justified by God through faith in Jesus Christ that the work of God in sanctifying the new believer begins. Justification comes first. Not the other way round. But be assured of this, if one is genuinely through faith, justified by God, sanctification will be a progressive work of God in them. There cannot be one without the other. Justification is an instant act of God in declaring the sinner eternally righteous, positionally. Sanctification is the progressive work of God where the converted sinner learns to live out the righteousness of God in his/her daily life. This ongoing work will continue until we are glorified and meet the Saviour face to face (Rom. 8:30). Bruce Ware rightly said recently: What God has joined together - justification and sanctification - let no one separate.