Justification Leads To Sanctification

Photo by Ian Stauffer on Unsplash

Turn with me in your Bibles to the “High Priestly Prayer” of Jesus Christ our Lord. This is in John chapter 17. This morning we discussed answered the question,

What Is Eternal Life?

According to Jesus, Eternal Life is to know Him (God the Son) and the Godhead (the Father and the Spirit). A person enters Eternal Life by knowing Jesus and being known of Jesus. The technical term for this is “justification”. The word “justification” is found three times in the King James Bible:

Romans 4:25 {Jesus} was delivered {unto death} for our offenses {or sins against God}, and was raised again {from the dead} for our JUSTIFICATION ..

Had Jesus died for our sins but NEVER rose from the grave, we would yet be condemned by God for our sins. It was necessary – according to God Who sets the standards – that our sins be fully paid for. Had Jesus only died on the Cross, our sins would only be half paid for. Jesus Christ is BOTH the sinless Lamb of God as well as our Perfect High Priest, representing us who are saved to the Godhead. We are forever saved because of Jesus. The Bible says:

Romans 8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

Jesus died for our sins – but we are still sinners, prone to failure, even after salvation. But we are JUSTIFIED (δικαίωσις dikaíōsis, [pronounced] dik-ah’-yo-sis) because Jesus died, rose, and still stands up for us before God the Father.

We are saved by GRACE, and are
kept by Christ’s FAITHFULNESS

In John 17 the Lord Jesus prays for His Church:

John 17:9-11 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. 10 And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. 11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

Salvation can only be achieved – not through our works – but through the finished work of Christ. But once saved by justification, the Christian is to actively participate in his or her SANCTIFICATION. Once saved, we are not what we were. Before we were saved, we belonged to ourselves (or so we thought). Once saved, we belong to God. God is our Father. Jesus Christ purchased us by His Blood. Jesus Christ sits at the right hand of God the Father, making intercession for us.

We are not what we were, but are now – by the Blood and Intercession of Christ – SONS OF GOD.

As Jesus prays for His Church, He prays:

I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.

Christian, you were GIVEN to Jesus. Christian, you BELONG to God. You are “not your own … you are bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23)

Christians are both JUSTIFIED as well as SANCTIFIED. Pastor and Bible Teacher Chuck Swindoll wrote:

{The Bible’s} message emphasizes the gospel to the lost and grace to the saved. … Just as the lost don’t understand the gospel, the saved rarely understand grace.

Have you ever heard of a man named William Cowper (1731-1800)? Though it looks like his name would be pronounced COWper, it is actually pronounced KOO-pər. Who is William Cowper? He was an internationally known poet, who wrote a volume of poetry that was reviewed by Benjamin Franklin. Raised in a religious household, his father John Cowper was the Chaplain of King George II. William though he knew God. But,

William tried to kill himself three times.

After his third attempt at suicide, William was committed to Nathaniel Cotton’s Asylum at St. Albans. While in the Asylum he wrote a dark poem called:

Hatred And Vengeance, My Eternal Portion”

Hatred and vengeance, my eternal portion,

Scarce can endure delay of execution,

Wait, with impatient readiness, to seize my

Soul in a moment.

Damned below Judas: more abhorred than he was,

Who for a few pence sold his holy Master.

Twice betrayed Jesus me, this last delinquent,

Deems the profanest.

Man disavows, and Deity disowns me:

Hell might afford my miseries a shelter;

Therefore hell keeps her ever hungry mouths all

Bolted against me.

Hard lot! encompassed with a thousand dangers;

Weary, faint, trembling with a thousand terrors;

I’m called, if vanquished, to receive a sentence

Worse than Abiram’s.

Him the vindictive rod of angry justice

Sent quick and howling to the center headlong;

I, fed with judgment, in a fleshly tomb, am

Buried above ground.

Consumed by depression, William’s doctor Nathaniel Cotton – a devout Christian – read the Word of God to him every day. It was during these readings that William Cowper was introduced to justification by faith in Christ Jesus. William wrote:

Immediately I received the strength to believe it {justification by faith in Jesus}, and the full beams of the Son of righteousness shone upon me. I saw the sufficiency of the atonement Jesus had made, my pardon sealed in His blood, in all the fullness and completeness of His justification.

Later on in life William met John Newton, a former captain of slave ships that gave his life to Jesus. This is the same John Newton who wrote “Amazing Grace”. Newton asked William if he would to contribute to a hymnal that he was writing. Cowper contributed two songs found in our Baptist Hymnal. The first, originally entitled “Praise For The Fountain Opened”, is found on page 142 of our hymnal. You’ll recognize

There is a fountain filled with blood

Drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;

And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,

Lose all their guilty stains:

Lose all their guilty stains,

Lose all their guilty stains;

And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,

Lose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoiced to see

That fountain in his day;

And there may I, though vile as he,

Wash all my sins away:

Wash all my sins away,

Wash all my sins away;

And there may I, though vile as he,

Wash all my sins away.

William understood JUSTIFICATION, and wrote of it in the first part of the song. William also understood SANCTIFICATION, and wrote of it:

Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood

Shall never lose its pow’r,

Till all the ransomed Church of God

Be saved, to sin no more:

Be saved, to sin no more,

Be saved, to sin no more;

Till all the ransomed Church of God

Be saved to sin no more.

E’er since by faith I saw the stream

Thy flowing wounds supply,

Redeeming love has been my theme,

And shall be till I die:

And shall be till I die,

And shall be till I die;

Redeeming love has been my theme,

And shall be till I die.

The other song in our hymnal is on page 73, “God Works In Mysterious Ways”. I don’t know this one, but it’s beautiful. Throughout his life William battled with depression, but finding Christ he no longer attempted to kill himself. Saved by faith – justified by the Blood of Christ – the believer is SANCTIFIED daily, working with God to honor the Lord Who saved us.

Sanctification Means We Live To Bring Glory To Jesus

John 17:10 And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.

Many profess to be “Christian”, but the mark of the “Christian” is that we bring glory to Jesus, not to ourselves. We magnify Jesus in our lives. We live so as to please Him. The Bible says of the Church:

1 Peter 2:5-12 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. 7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, 8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. 9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light; 10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. 11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

Saved entirely by Grace, we live entirely to please our God. We are a Kingdom of Priests, satisfying Him by being living sacrifices. We do not pursue the things of this world, but submit our lives to the One Who saved us. Whereas the world says:

My body, my life”
“Just do YOU”
“You do you and I’ll do me”

we who are JUSTIFIED live our lives SANCTIFIED unto Christ. We are sons and daughters of God.

It saddens me when I see the Sunday night and Wednesday night gatherings of our Church getting smaller and smaller. Why is it? It is because too many “Christians” in this Church are living their lives based on what THEY WANT TO DO rather than what JESUS wants us to do. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying these people are not saved. But if you’re more concerned about watching a rerun on television than you are in hearing God’s Word and loving your fellow believer, then you have DRIFTED OFF COURSE OF YOUR SANCTIFICATION. This has always been a battle in the Church. The Apostle told the Church at Rome:

Romans 12:1-2 (ESV) I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

When we as Christians come together, it is so that we can learn to be more like Jesus. When we as Christians gather, it is so that we can learn to love like Jesus.

Sanctification as a Christian only comes about by ABSORBING the Word of God into our souls. Jesus prayed:

John 17:12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.

Jesus kept every believer that followed Him but one – the son of perdition. Why was Judas Iscariot lost? Because he was never really saved. But also because the Bible foretold Judas’ betrayal of Jesus. God spoke through the Prophet

Zechariah 11:12-13 I said unto them, If you think good, give me my hire; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my hire thirty pieces of silver. And Jehovah said unto me, Cast it unto the potter, the goodly price that I was prized at by them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them unto the potter, in the house of Jehovah …

God knew that Judas Iscariot would betray Jesus to the Roman authorities. Other prophecies of Judas were in Psalm 69:25 and Psalm 109:8. Jesus knew that Judas would be His betrayer (see Matthew 26:23-25). Jesus was lost that the scripture might be fulfilled.

It is the Bible that SANCTIFIES the believer. It is the Word of God that filters into our hearts, changing our worldview, that makes us more like Jesus. Sadly, too few Christians understand this.

Sanctification Is Living According To
God’s Word, The Bible

Jesus continues to pray:

John 17:13-17 … now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

The Christian is NOT to be like the world, but like Jesus. The Christian cannot find the joy of Christ unless we absorb the Word of Christ, the Holy Scriptures. Pastor John Piper writes in his message, “Christ Died To Make Us Holy”:

We must have more than the message of justification. We must have more than that: No condemnation. No hell. No guilt. Justification by faith is a means to something more and greater. The propitiation of God’s wrath is a means to something more and greater. Forgiveness of sins is a means to something more and greater. Redemption from slavery is a means to something more and greater. Ultimately, finally, that “more and greater” is God Himself. First Peter 3:18 puts it like this: “Christ suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God.” To see God. To know God. To have God as a Companion. To enjoy God. To be irradiated with the glory of God. To finally, in some suitable measure, reflect God. To become at last a fitting echo of the excellence of God. … Just as walking into Heaven is a million times greater than walking out of hell. Because God is there. There is no comparing the pleasure of walking out of prison and walking into the arms of your wife.”

Grace does not only PARDON, but it EMPOWERS. It JUSTIFIES but also SANCTIFIES. It makes us more like Jesus. This is why we gather to hear, heed, and absorb the Word of God. God’s Word will NOT come back void.

Ignorant Christians Act As Ignorantly As The World

Jesus prays for His Church:

John 17:17-21 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. 18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. 20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

Jesus came into this world, carrying with Him the Word of God. Jesus said, “If you’ve seen Me, you’ve seen the Father” (John 14:9). Jesus said, “I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me” (John 14:11). Jesus said, “I must be about My Father’s business” (Luke 2:49).

As the Son of God carried the Word of God into a fallen world, we absorb and carry the Word of God into this fallen world. We live so as to please our Savior. The world does not understand the Christian’s heart – and we cannot make it understand. All we can do is stand firm in what the Bible says. God loves the world, but does not love sin. And we, who love Jesus, are to “speak the truth in love”. Let us pursue the mind of Christ by learning and living by His Holy Scripture.

May God the Holy Spirit help us to do so. Amen and amen!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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