Justification And Santification: Don’t Confuse The Two

 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)

4 thoughts on “Justification And Santification: Don’t Confuse The Two

  1. TY, I’m not at all a critical thinker, or an apologist. I have just a rudimentary understanding of theology, but I’m like the guy in the bleachers who is watching the “sprinters” practice,

    Thank you for this pleasure.

  2. Beautifully put Prayson. The path of a Christian is a difficult one today because of the perceived pressure to prove oneself before other men (justification). But that pressure is only perceived! The path to God is an inward journey with outward manifestations and results. It rarely works the other way around People often get caught up in rationalizing spirituality to themselves and others for personal validation…but this is effort that will never be well spent because those who do not “see” the use of the journey will always see the superficial aspects of faith, effort and grace. But the actual fruits are recognized by all people. This is the “light” that should shine before other men, and it doesn’t come from a conscious decision to do good deeds for others to see. It is the manifestation of one’s inner spiritual life. The other vulnerability of Christians, something akin to saying “the vulnerability to all people” is vanity. Vanity is one of the last remaining shackles to fall off of a person who is earnest in his faith, and when one thinks they have trancended it, it’s right around the corner to grab them up yet again. Todd

  3. And then Jesus came upon his disciples and said, “What’s this shit I’ve been hearing about a human sacrifice for sins!!!? What kind of Neanderthal bullshit is that!!!!? And who do you think I am, some kind of Cro Magnon lunatic!!!? Blood sacrifice!!!!!? Are you all insane!!!!? Have you lost your goddamned minds!!!!!? Listen, you can take that “dying for sins” bullshit and shove it straight up your Stone Age asses!!!”-Jesus H. Christ

    • Hej JesusSaves,

      Thanks you for your comment. I do pray and hope that we could discuss “blood sacrifice” together, if you would like. I would like to know why you believe its insane.

      I would be so thankful if we could use a kind, gentle and loving language that show that we care and respect one another’s position.

      Be blessed,

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