Joni, Eareckson Tada’s devotional today:
Justified and Sanctified
“For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.”
“What good is… it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” James 2:14-17
Justification is a finished and complete work and a man is perfectly justified the moment he believes; sanctification is an incomplete work and will never be perfected until we reach heaven. Justification admits to no growth (a person is as much justified the hour he first comes to Christ by faith as he will be for all eternity); sanctification is a progressive work as we keep changing and enlarging our hearts for Christ.
Justification has special reference to our person, our standing in God’s sight.
Sanctification has special reference to our character, and the moral renewal of our hearts. Justification is the act of God about us, and is not easily discerned by others; sanctification is the work of God within us, and cannot be hid from others. Justification gives us our title to heaven; sanctification prepares us for heaven.
In heaven, it will be useless to plead that we believed in Christ unless our life supports it. When our graves are opened (as well as Books), when we stand before God, evidence will be crucial. The question will not be how we talked and what we professed, but how we lived and what we did. Jesus justified you. Today is your chance… your privilege to “sanctify yourself.”
Lord, may my life be an evidence of what I believe. It can’t be any other way. Holy Spirit, grant me strength to set apart myself to God.