We can’t understand sanctification until we understand justification. Justification is the decree that we are made right before God, and sanctification is the process of looking at Jesus and becoming like Jesus.
To understand the building, we need to understand the foundation. Justified people don’t feel the need to justify anything, which frees them to grow in Christ.
Justification was not based upon our inherent worth. We don’t need to justify anything, because we are justified. Yet, a great way to test justification is by sticking a thermometer in the desire factory (heart). People that are made alive, begin to grow in life and towards life. Life is a person. His name is Jesus. If we are justified, we see the beauty of Christ, and the world grows dim in its appeal.
You and I are sinful wretches. Our righteousness doesn’t register on God’s righteousness radar. We often try to play God, and judge our own righteousness and other’s righteousness – the problem with that is, if it gets fulfilled – it still isn’t righteousness to God. We don’t get to judge how we are judged – it’s beautiful, because even if we declare us righteous – we’d go to hell. The person with the highest standard of righteousness gets to judge, and that would be the God of the Bible. God judges us, and so it is His standard of righteousness that we need to represent us.
Beautifully, He does represent us. God became a man, lived a perfect life, and went to the cross for us. Our sin was placed upon Him, and in His wrath, the Father punished Jesus for our sin – God’s wrath being poured out on God. To those who believe upon Jesus, that transaction becomes actualized. Your sin goes on Jesus account, and Jesus righteousness goes on your account.
This is such a big deal and its power changes our hearts. Not only that, but it shifts our hearts to look at Jesus. The more we see how big our sin is, the more we see how much He loved us by paying for it, and that power causes us to adore Him. It is in that process that we are changed.
There’s no room for “don’t judge me” in Christianity, because you have been judged, and you didn’t get what you deserved – you got Jesus’ righteousness.
Justified For a Purpose
“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” – 2 Corinthians 3:18.
This demonstration of love shifts our heads to behold Jesus.
He became visible, so that you could visibly become to look like Him.
We’re being changed. Which means we needed change. We’re being changed to look like Jesus. Which means we need Jesus.
Justification turns our heads, sanctification turns our hearts.
John Piper in His book The Pleasures of God states, “Beholding is becoming.” We become what we behold. God made us this way. When we our justified and our heads turn to Jesus, our hearts can’t help but follow. The more we look at Jesus, the more we become like Jesus. This is sanctification, and it is beautiful.
We forget, and sometimes we go back. Sometimes we go back to sin and begin to justify everything we do. Let me encourage you – justified people don’t feel the need to justify anything.
We don’t look for freedom apart from Christ. The focus of Jesus on the cross is not removed after justification, it only grows more clear for the Christian, producing sanctification.
Many of us swing to one side or the other:
- Legalism: trying to be holy without looking upon our torn savior.
- Licentious: using God’s “grace” to do whatever we want… now that we’re under grace and not the law.
Looking at Jesus frees you from your own righteousness and gives you His. And, looking at Jesus makes you desire Jesus, fleeing from the passions of the flesh, and growing in holiness.
Quite honestly, sanctification is an issue of happiness. When focused on Jesus, hardships are a given, but so is intensifying joy. When focused on Jesus, temptations from the enemy to eat, rule, and be reckless are present. But the intensity of the treasure before us keeps our hearts satisfied in Him, and contently passing on those temptations.
It’s All About a Person
Jesus bought you for His own. He died for you to get you. He gave you His word to keep your attention. He laid down His life to win your heart.
Friends, Jesus saved us, and He’s changing us. We need Him. Be released from your own “holiness”. Be released from your short-lived pleasure. Look at Jesus, He is ever lasting. He called you, and He forms to look like Him.
You have to go to the craftsman to become who you were made to be, and you were made to be like Him.
Because He’s Beautiful.
For the joysetbeforeme,