Ask Mr. Religion
Hall of Fame
Justification and sanctification are distinguished by the following:We are not guilty and guilty at the same time?
Justification is a declaration of righteousness (legal) where we are treated as if we never sinner. Regeneration is monergistic.
Sanctification is positional (set apart as holy) and progressive (actual transformation) as the Spirit works out the life and character of Christ in us, the fruit of the Spirit. There seems to be a synergistic aspect to this work, as other Reformed scholars have stated.
1. Justification removes the guilt of sin, restoring the sinner to all the filial rights involved in his state as a child of God, including an eternal inheritance. Sanctification removes the pollution of sin and renews the sinner ever increasingly in conformity with the image of God.
2. Justification takes place outside of the sinner in the tribunal of God, and does not change his inner life, though the sentence is brought home to him subjectively. Sanctification takes place in the inner life of man and gradually affects his whole being.
3. Justification takes place once for all. Justification is not repeated, nor is it a process; it is complete at once and for all time. Man is either fully justified, or he is not justified at all. Whereas sanctification is a continuous process, which is never completed in this life.
4. While the meritorious cause of justification and sanctification lies in the merits of Christ, there is a difference in the efficient cause. God the Father declares the sinner righteous, and God the Holy Spirit sanctifies him.