Posted by: forfreedomalone | 23/02/2019

Once or often.

I was asked if there was a difference between sanctification and justification and, if so, what is it?

It can be hard to follow what’s what when several words are banded about as thought they mean the same thing and then, suddenly, one is used differently and one becomes confused. So let’s look at these words and what they tell us about what God has done and what he expects us to do.

“ation” is the suffix which means “a process” so we will reduce both words to their base, i.e, sanctify and justify. Sanctify means, “to make holy”. It means this in both Hebrew and Greek. So what does “holy” mean?Holy means, “to render ceremonially clean and set aside for God”. To be made ceremonially clean an item or person had to be cleansed to the degree detailed in God’s law; which is exacting; and then, when it was clean, it was ONLY to be used for the service of God. If an item or person became unclean, that is, it came in contact with something which was not of the same level of cleanliness, it had to go back through the process of being made clean again, before it could be set aside for God’s use.

For those who lived during the days of the Tabernacle this was a huge rigmarole. GREAT care was taken once a thing was declared ‘sanctified’ that it did not come in contact with the unclean under ANY circumstances. It was kept separate from anything which could contaminate it and it was used only by those who were ceremonially clean, i.e. the priests.Now this is all good and well when we are talking about items which are inanimate, but when we are talking about people things change a bit.

Paul, who said that he had been sanctified from his mother’s womb was saying, he had been set said for God’s use from that moment. The purifying, the cleansing of his soul, would be a work for later and an ongoing work at that. Menoroth, altars and other paraphernalia of the Tabernacle or Temple didn’t have a life or will of their own. You cleaned them, set them in place and there they stayed, sanctified. Man isn’t made that way and for a simple reason.

God doesn’t want relationship with a menorah, an altar, etc, he wants relationship with us. Relationships are not static, they ebb and flow; we will to do his will now and rebel in a moment. We are able to pick ourselves up and wander into places which are unclean. We are constantly getting dirty again, just like little children who are allowed to move. You just can’t keep them clean from one washing, you have to keep applying the water and soap. So it is with us. Sanctification is an ongoing process of applying “the washing of the water of the word” to our souls. Some people panic and think, “That means I’ve lost my salvation then!!”. No, it doesn’t. It means you are walking in increasing relationship with God, because you are constantly recognising that you have become unclean and going to him for renewed bathing. (This takes humility. Those who are in pride, routinely avoid seeing their unclean state.) We are to be continually cleansed by trials, tribulations, the word and our continuing development of relationship, until we are conformed to the image of Yeshuah. Like gold, refined in the fire, we will continue to need purifying until He returns to take us out of this sinful world, which is the source of our constant getting dirty again.
So what about “justify”?Justify means, “to be found to be, or to be made, righteous”. This is a legal term and what it means is that a person had been held up to the standard of the law and found to be innocent of wrong doing. We, like Abram, are justified when we “believe God” and it is credited to us as righteousness. This was done on the day we believed, that moment we accepted that Jesus was the atonement sacrifice on our behalf. It is a one time event.

How can this be possible? Wouldn’t this contradict what I just said about being sanctified? No, because they are two different processes. Once we believe we are found to innocent, because we have a sacrifice which is perfect and cannot let us down. We believed, we are credited with righteousness. Should we choose to no longer believe that credit will be rescinded, but so long as we continue to believe this state is ours.

Some believe that sanctification takes place once only too, but logic makes a mockery of that. Can any of us say that we never, ever, associate with sin? Can any of us say, that from the day we believed we have never said, thought or done something which is absolutely NOT in the nature of God? Well, John, in his First letter says that anyone who makes such a claim is a liar and the truth is not found in him. It is from the uncleanness of sin that we are cleansed in the sanctification process; so long as we are in a sinful world we will continue to need its reapplication. Yeshuah made us clean, set us apart for God and provided the way for us to keep returning when we stray; at the same time he gave us a standing with the Father which says we are innocent against the standard of God’s law. There is a difference between being guilty of wrong doing and getting soiled by uncleanness.

If we claim that we do not need constant washing, we are seriously deluded and are undermining the sacrifice Yeshuah made on our behalf. Do not be afraid of daily applying the washing of the water of the word; it’s what makes you sparkle.

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