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The Distinction Between
Justification & Sanctification

The root of all Christian joy is the sinner's knowledge of being saved (justified) by God's grace (Romans 5:1). The seed of God's justifying Word then blossoms into a Christ-centered life of love (sanctification - Galatians 5:6). Having a clear understanding of these two doctrines exalts Jesus Christ and brings joy to the heart of the forgiven sinner: Confusing these two doctrines clouds Christ's glory from the sinner's sight and brings only anxiety and sorrow.

Is the judicial act of God alone, alone outside the sinner; but in Christ (Isaiah. 53:11; Romans 5:8-9; 2 Corinthians: 5:19).
Is that act of God within the sinner in which God works with the new man in a life-long process of restoration (Phillipians 2:12-13; 3:12; Colossians 3:2-5; Titus 2:11-12).
Instantaneous Act of Divine Acquittal
When we are justified, it happens NOWI (Romans 8:1; Hebrews 7:27).
Gradual Process of Healing
Sanctification is a daily drowning of the Old Adam, a daily renewal of our life in Christ (Romans 6:11-13; 2 Corinthians 4:16; Colossians 3:10).
We are all equally justified before God; before Him, there is no difference in salvation (Romans 3:30; 5:18; Galatians 3:8,28).
Those who are justified are at different stages in displaying their sanctification (Romans 12:6; 1 Corinthians 7:7; 12:9, 28; Ephesians 4:7; 2 Timothy 2:20-21).
Justification was completed when God's wrath was satisfied on the cross of Christ. It is a completed act for us when we are brought into the family of God in our Baptism (John 19:30; Romans 5:18; 1 John 1:7).
We continue daily to grow in a faith-produced Christ-likeness (Psalms 92:12; 2 Corinthians 8:7, 8; Ephesians 2:21; 4:1, 15-16; Phillipians 3:16, 17; Colossians 2:7; 1 Thessalonians 4:1; 1 Peter 2:2; 2 Peter 1:5; 3:18).
In justification, God graciously adopts us into His fam-ily because of the atoning sacrifice of Christ Jesus our Lord (John 17:22; Romans 8:15; 8:23; GaIatians 3:26; 4:5; Ephesians 1:5; 1 John.3:1).
Family Life-Style
As members of God's family, we serve one another (Psalms 34: 11-14; Matthew 12:50; Ephesians 5:1; 1 Peter 1:13-15).
Justification is a free gift of God, not dependent upon any good works that we do (Romans 5:16; 6:23; Galatians 3:29; Ephesians 1:5-6; Revelation 22:17).
Because of the joy of our salvation, we respond to God's unconditional love by serving one another (Matthew 7:16; Romans 6:22;1 Corinthians 10:31; Ephesians 2:10; 5:2,8; Colossians 2:6; 1 Peter 4:10; 2 John 1:6; Revelation 3:20).
For Us
Christ accomplished our justification when He died in our place on the cross (Isaiah 53:11; Matthew 20:28; 1 Timothy 2:6; Hebrews 10:1 9-20).
In Us
Christ works in us through our baptism into Him. This work in us by Christ is our sanctification (John 14:17, 20; 15:5; Acts 6:3,5; 1 Thessalonians 1:5; 2:13; 2 Timothy 1:6, 14).
Justification credits to our account Jesus' victory over sin, death, and the devil (Isaiah 40:31; Romans 6:9; 8:37;1 Corinthians 15:57; Galatians 3:13; 5:1; 1 John 5:4-5).
Sanctification is the daily battle between our Old Adam and our New Adam; between worldliness and heaven's goal for humanity (Romans 7:15-21; 2 Corinthians. 5:4; 10:3; Galatians 5:17; Ephesians 6:11).
We can stand, assured of our salvation in Christ (Psalms 16:9; Romans 5:1; Ephesians 6:13; 2 Timothy 4:7-8; 1 John 2:12-14; Revelation 14:13).
Walking, Wrestling, Running, Fighting
We fight the deceptions of Satan who would tell us we can only stumble and fall victim to his lies (Genesis 17:1; Deuteronomy 26:17; Romans 6:4; 2 Corinthians 5:7; 2 Timothy 1:14; Revelation 2:7).

Questions and Answers that Clarify
Question: Why is the doctrine of sanctification such a controversial doctrine among many Christians? Answer: Some Christians charge other followers of Christ with making good works, not Christ, the focus of what it means to be a Christian (Galatians 5:4). Those charged, claim their detractors do not take into account that those whom Christ has justified He has also empowered to live differ-ently (James 1:18, 22; Galatians 5:l3ff). Of course, both dangers are always present. Christ therefore invites all Christians to focus solely upon Him and therein grow in showing that He is Lord over them and the world.
Question: What role do the Biblical demands of God (the Law) upon us play in our sanctification? Answer: Those demands reveal that the only absolutely Holy One is Jesus Christ (Acts 3:14; Revelation 6:10). Christians and non-Christians alike struggle with the sin resulting from their connection to fallen Adam. Therefore, believers constantly need the warning of God's Law to direct them away from any attempt at self-righteousness (James 2:10; Galatians 3:22; 5:4). As total sinners, yet total saints in Christ, Christians turn to the Law which points out to them many dark corners of their lives where sin still attempts to extinguish the light of Christ.
Question: What is the role of those sections of Scripture that reveal God as One who has, and continues to give, those gifts needed for a healthy life in His presence? Answer: The Gospel's role or purpose is not to get us to do good works but to present us with the gift of God's own good work in Jesus Christ. He is our substitute. He has already done all that is necessary to insure us of a blessed eternity with Him. The Gospel Promise of the gift of salvation produces the right gratitude (Colossians 2:6-7) that shapes all we do and stimulates us to show our thank-fulness in how we treat each other (Galatians 6:2) in families, jobs, and at play. While the Law supplies information on what the content of good works is, only the Gospel brings us the Holy Spirit and the life in Christ that empowers and makes any work good (Hebrews 11:6).
Question: How does our life of sanc-tification serve the purposes of God for us in this world? Answer: Each Christian's life can be like a keyhole through which the world catches a glimpse of God's mercy and love. Living as persons with a new hope, motivation, and vision of life's ultimate goal, we are wit-nesses to Christ's continuing presence in this world (1 Peter 1:3; 2:12). Through labors well done, and attitudes of mercy and forgiveness in words and deeds, we ultimately serve Christ (Matthew 25:40) and He gra-ciously, through us, walks throughout this world (John 17:18; Ephesians 1:23; Phillipians 1:5, 20; 2:15).

SANCTIFICATION: As taught by Christ, the Apostles, the Prophets, and set forth by the Lutheran Reformers, is related to justification. In justification God declares the sinner righteous and innocent for the sake of the atoning work of Christ, a gift received through faith (Romans 3:24-26; Phillipians 3:9). In sanctification God is at work to strengthen and mature our faith and life that we live in Christ's righteousness (Ephesians. 4:12-16). Through the Gospel in the preached Word and the Lord's Supper, God is continuously at work, building up our awareness and confi-dence that we are forgiven children of God and heirs of salvation (Colossians 2:7). As we have become a New Creation through faith in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), we are now enabled to live a life of faithfulness as Christ strengthens us (Phillipians 4:13; 2 Timothy 3:17). The sanctified life of the Christian is a life of growing and maturing faith that is active in prayer, praise, thanksgiving, and various works of living service (Ephesians 2:10; Phillipians 3:13). Sanctification, as with all of God's saving work, is His doing and our gift and treasure to enjoy and share.

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