Sanctification and Justification: A Unity of Distinctions

Andrew Snider | April 27, 2011

The task at hand is to relate justification (being declared righteous) to a biblical understanding of sanctification (being made righteous). When God declares a sinner as righteous, the action begins with His own character and is accomplished by His own action. All His ways are perfect, just, and upright, qualities that stem from His holiness. His redemptive acts, including His justification of sinners, are marked by His love as exemplified in Rom 8:31-39. Justification is a declaration by God of the sinner’s status before Himself, imputing to him the righteousness of Christ through faith. Holiness is the key concept of sanctification as seen in the consistent biblical emphasis on God’s people being a holy people. Positional sanctification is a determination by God that a sinner is set apart as a member of God’s holy people. Progressive sanctification speaks of a growth in practical holiness when believers obey God’s command to grow in Christlikeness. Understanding the correct relationship between justification and progressive sanctification is important: sanctification does not cause justification and justification does not cause sanctification. Yet there is great importance in seeing that the two arise from the same soteriological reality of Christ’s substitutionary atonement and the resultant union of the believer with Christ.

Vol. 21, no. 2 (Fall 2010)

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Snider, Andrew. "Sanctification and Justification: A Unity of Distinctions." The Master's Seminary Journal 21, no. 2 (Fall 2010): 0-0.