C. J. Mahaney’s book: Living The Cross Centered Life, Keeping the Gospel the Main Thing was my last advent Sunday’s gift from my dearly and lovely wife, Lea. I cannot shed light on the beauty and treasuring message in this book better than Mark Dever (Senior pastor at Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington, D.C):
“You’re holding the book you want to read to begin living the Christian life. You’re also holding the book you want to read to help you continue living the Christian life. There’s no other place to begin living the Christian life than at the cross. There’s no other place to keep living the Christian life than at the cross. C. J. Mahaney’s Living the Cross Centered Life will help you do that.”
One of the most remarkable part in this book, for me, was Mahaney’s concern for Christians vulnerability towards legalism, if they have no clear grasp of what justification and sanctification are. He compared justification and sanctification “point-by-point so you can clearly see the differences between them”(p.118) as follows:
- Justification is being declared righteous. Sanctification is being made righteous – being conformed to the image of Christ.
- Justification is our position before God, a position that becomes permanently ours at the time of our conversion. Sanctification is our practice that continues throughout our life on earth.
- Justification is immediate and complete upon conversion. You’ll never be more justified than you are the first moment you trust in the Person and finished work of Christ. Sanctification is a progressive process. You’ll be more sanctified as you continue in grace motivated obedience.
- Justification is objective – Christ’s work for us. Sanctification is subjective – Christ’s work within us (p.118-119)
It’s my prayer you will not confuse the two, mostly after this simple point-by-point clear differences between the two in this book.
Our justification is not a result of our good works(which I believe are fruits of being transformed into holiness – sanctification). Our good works are the result of our justification. As reformed, I don’t believe Faith + Work = Justification nor Faith = Justification – Work but Faith = Justification + Work. Faith in finished work of Christ Jesus alone.
Book: C. J. Mahaney; Living the Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel the Main Thing. Multnomah Books (January 19, 2006)