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Dr. Henry Waiters: Part 1: Justification and sanctification

Henry Waiters, ThD

This is part 1 of a 3-part series

There are two principal effects that sin produces that cannot be separated: the filthy defilement it causes, and the awful guilt it entails.

Thus, salvation from sin necessarily requires both a cleansing and a clearing of one who is to be saved.

Two things are absolutely indispensable in order for any creature to dwell with God in heaven: A valid title to that inheritance, and a personal fitness to enjoy such blessedness. The one is given in Justification; the other is commenced in Sanctification. The inseparability of the two things is brought out in the following verses:

“But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption” (1 Cor. 1:30). “But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified” (1 Cor. 6:11). “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Though absolutely inseparable, yet these two great blessings of Divine grace are quite distinct. In sanctification, something is actually imparted to us; in justification, it is only imputed.

Justification is based entirely upon the work of Christ wrought for us; sanctification is principally the a work wrought in us.

Justification respects its object in a legal sense and terminates in a relative change, a deliverance from punishment, a right to the reward; sanctification regards its object in a moral sense and terminates in an experimental change both in character and conduct, imparting a love for God, a capacity to worship Him acceptably, and a fitness for heaven.

Justification is by a righteousness outside of us; sanctification is by a holiness wrought in us.

Justification is by Christ as King and has regard to the dominion of sin: justification cancels its damning power; sanctification delivers from its reigning power.

They differ, then, in their order not of time, but in their nature — justification preceding, sanctification following: the sinner is pardoned and restored to God’s favor before the Spirit is given to renew him after His image.

They differ in their design: justification removes the obligation unto punishment; sanctification cleanses from pollution.

They differ in their form: justification is a judicial act by which the sinner is pronounced righteous; sanctification is a moral work by which the sinner is made holy. The one has to do solely with our standing before God, the other chiefly concerns our state.

They differ in their cause: the one issuing from the merits of Christ’s satisfaction; the other proceeding from the efficacy of the same.

They differ in their end: the one bestowing a title to everlasting glory; the other being the highway that conducts us tither. “And an highway shall be there, and it shall be called The Way of Holiness” (Isa. 35:8).

No New Testament writer is more insistent upon the definitive character of the believer’s sanctification than the Apostle John. So sweeping are John’s terms that we have the greatest difficulty in reconciling them with the teaching of the New Testament elsewhere and with the obvious facts of Christian experience.

“Whosoever is born out of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God” (1 John 3:9). “Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither know him” (1 John 3:3).

Yet, John in that same epistle says, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). He does not regard the believer as sinlessly perfect, for he sets forth the consolation for the believer when he sins, “We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1). And for John there is the self-purifying aspect of the believer’s life: “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (1 John 3:3)

When we take account of the sin that still inheres in the believer, and of the fact that he has not yet attained to the goal appointed for him, the condition of the believer in this life is one of progression, a progression both negative and positive in character. It embraces both mortification and sanctification.

Part 2: Mortification
Part 3: Vivification

Dr. Waiters can be reached at 704-636-3369.

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