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What’s the Main Difference Between Justification and Sanctification?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
April 22, 2022 6:30 am

What’s the Main Difference Between Justification and Sanctification?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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April 22, 2022 6:30 am

Episode 951 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes

CoreChristianity.com

Questions in this Episode

1. How can Jesus be impeccable? James 1:13 says God cannot be tempted. If it was impossible for Jesus to sin and fall, does this diminish his work of keeping the law?

2. What is the biblical difference between justification, salvation, and sanctification?

3. Why do Christians believe in the trinity if Deuteronomy 6 says that God is “one”?

4. Did the trinity separate or break when Jesus died on the cross?

5. How do Protestants defend their views about communion against the Roman Catholic view?

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Core Question – What’s the Difference Between Justification and Sanctification?

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What's the difference between justification and sanctification? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. Hi, I'm Bill Meyer, along with Pastor Adriel Sanchez, and this is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day. We would love to hear from you, and our phone lines are open right now. Here's the number. It's 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. We have several social media ways you can connect with us, including watching Adriel live in the studio right now on our YouTube channel. And you can send us a message that way through YouTube. Of course, you can always email us your question at questionsatcorechristianity.com. First up today, here's a voicemail we received from one of our listeners earlier this week.

Hi there, Adriel and Bill. Thank you very much for your ministry. What an encouragement. I have just a quick question about the sinless Savior. So, James 1-13 tells us that God cannot be tempted. However, Christ being both divine and human, I believe it's the doctrine of impeccability that tells us that it was an impossibility for Christ to have fallen. So, is that strictly through the divine nature that keeps the human nature from falling and thus remaining sinless and therefore an acceptable sacrifice upon the cross? And if it was an impossibility for Jesus to have fallen, does that in any way diminish the work accomplished? That's my question.

I appreciate it very much. Love this question. Getting into some deep theology here. I mean, thinking about what we sometimes call the hypostatic union that is the incarnation and the divine person, the second person of the Holy Trinity, the Word, assuming humanity, taking a human nature to himself. It's getting into some technical theology here, but yes, you're right. James 1 says that God cannot be tempted. And then you compare that with other passages, like in the book of Hebrews, in Hebrews 4, it says that Jesus was tempted in all ways as we are, yet without sin.

And so, how do we square those things and what do we mean by the fact that Jesus was tempted? Well, because we're talking about God, the divine person, the Word. Sometimes people will say, you know, is Jesus a divine person? Is he a human person? Is he sort of like 50-50?

Well, no. You have one divine person, the eternal Word of the Father, who assumed humanity to himself. So now this one divine person has two natures, divine and human. And because we're talking about the one divine person, he cannot sin. Now, when Christ experienced temptation, we might say, we can distinguish between experiencing temptation in such a way that your heart is given to it. I mean, there are sinful temptations that we can have, brothers and sisters, sinful desires that we can have because of our fallen natures and that we do have that we need to repent of. Christ didn't have that.

He is perfect and sinless. And yet, in his humanity, the Word, in his humanity, experience suffering, experience temptation. That's what Hebrews 4 is talking about.

Experience hunger and death, we could even say. And it's important that we understand this because really, we're talking about the real experience of the divine Word of the Father, ultimately for our redemption. Because God the Son suffered for us, putting away sin once and for all, we have the hope of eternal life. We have the hope of salvation.

And so even though this question can come off, I think at times, and I really appreciate that you asked it, and sometimes I think people can hear these kinds of questions and think, boy, that just seems so, you know, we're splitting hairs here. No, when we're talking about Jesus, when we're talking about the incarnation, everything matters. I mean, this is getting at the very core of the Christian faith, the very core of our salvation even, because he's our Redeemer, the one who saves us. And he saves us as the second person of the Holy Trinity, as God for us through the incarnation.

And so love this question. Thank you so much for asking it, and may the Lord bless you. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. If you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, doctrine or theology, why don't you pick up your phone and give us a call? We'll be taking calls for the next 20 minutes or so, and here's the phone number.

It's 833-THE-CORE, 1-833-843-2673. Adriel was just talking about what Christ has done for us. We actually have a wonderful book that we'd like to offer you today that helps you focus on what Jesus did for each one of us. Yeah, today we're offering the book Captivated, Beholding the Mystery of Jesus's Death and Resurrection by Tabidi Anyabwile, and we've been offering this book now for a few days.

I really do hope if you haven't gotten a hold of it that you will get a hold of it. I think about what the Apostle Paul said in Galatians chapter 3, where he's talking to the Galatians. He says, I placarded Christ crucified before you. If there's one thing that we need to grasp, understand, it's the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That's what should captivate us, brothers and sisters, as Christians, and so please get a hold of this resource over at corechristianity.com for a donation of any amount. Wonderful book, and you can check it out corechristianity.com forward slash offers.

Again corechristianity.com forward slash offers, and of course you can call us for that resource or any one of our resources at 833-THE-CORE. Well, here's a voicemail that came in from one of our listeners named Hannah. Hi, I love your show. Please don't ever stop. My question is, what is the difference between justification, salvation, and sanctification biblically? Hey, I don't intend to stop. Thank you for that encouragement.

I'm glad that you're blessed by the broadcast. A really important question, because I think sometimes people can collapse these two things, the justification and sanctification, and really sort of muddy the waters when we're talking about the doctrine of salvation or soteriology. So justification is an act of God that he does in an individual's life whereby he accepts us as righteous in Christ, you know, basically solely for what Jesus has done for us.

It's not something we earn. It's not something that God gives to you because you're righteous. In fact, in justification there's this definitive act of God declaring you righteous. An individual is a sinner who's coming to God broken, declaring you righteous, justified in his sight.

In a moment, it's a declaration. It's this legal, definitive, salvific act of God in an individual's life. And just a passage of Scripture to go to as you're thinking about this, Paul in Romans chapter 4 says, now to the one who works, this is verse 4, his wages are not counted as a gift but as is due, but to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness. So we sometimes say that the instrument of our justification, the way that we're justified, is by faith, solely by faith, not by your works, Paul says. Faith is like an empty hand that receives the goodness and grace of God in justification. And so this is a position that you have as a Christian, as a believer. You are justified, righteous, through what we call the imputation of Christ's righteousness. That is, Christ took our sins and he gives us, he credits to us, his very own righteousness.

That's justification. Sanctification is also very important. And again, here we're still talking about our salvation in a distinct way. We're talking now about that process of inward renewal, the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, molding us more and more after the image of God to reflect Christ, his goodness, his glory, making us holy by the grace of the Holy Spirit over time.

Imperfectly, of course, right? I mean, the Spirit is at work in our lives. We still sin against God in thought, word, and in deed. But the Spirit is at work transforming us more and more into the image of Christ and in his goodness.

And so you have these two things here. Both are the work of God. One is this definitive act in justification. And the person who is justified is also going to be sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Progressively, over time, and a great passage of justification there in Romans chapter four. But if you go ahead to Romans chapter six through eight, you get this language of putting sin to death and the Spirit of God working in our lives, transforming us. And so I would point you to just Romans, the first eight chapters, essentially, gives you a helpful exposition of what it is that we're thinking about when we think about justification and sanctification. And so two things we don't want to confuse, because if you make justification a process of inward renewal, you'll never know if you're genuinely, truly justified. And so you have justification as a definitive act and sanctification as a process of inward renewal. Great explanation. Thank you for that, Adriel.

This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We love getting your questions. You can call us 24 hours a day and leave a voicemail. In fact, you can even call over the weekend. We'll try to get to our voicemails once each day and review them. And here's the number to call. It's 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to Michael in Gainesville, Florida. Michael, what is your question for Pastor Adriel? Yeah, I've been trying to reconcile some thoughts I've been having.

People, friends around me have been arguing. The Jewish people in which we have our Christian roots, their cornerstone picture of God is hero, heroism of the Lord. Our God is one Lord. They see God as one. In Christianity, we see God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Ghost, God in three persons. And when you say persons, that sounds like three separate gods to me.

How do these two things reconcile or balance? Yeah, thank you for this question. Yeah, Deuteronomy 6-4, hero is real, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And of course, as a Christian, I believe with the Christian church for the last 2,000 years, we believe in one God. We're monotheists, but that God has revealed himself as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. One in essence, equal in power and glory, undivided in terms of essence, but distinct persons, three distinct persons of the Holy Trinity. And of course, what we're doing here is we're trying to make sense of God's revelation because when you look at the scriptures, not just the New Testament, but also in the Old Testament, you have figures like in the Old Testament, the angel of the Lord who's associated with God himself. You have these prophecies about the Messiah who would come, who was going to be called mighty God.

I mean, thinking of Isaiah 9, you have the son of man figure who is worshipped in Daniel 7. So there's this tension that we see in the scriptures of, yes, God is one, but he's revealed himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. John 1, verse 1, in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And you get down to verse 14, and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. And so God is one, but we need to understand it in a way that makes sense of all the scriptures, especially as revelation unfolded throughout redemptive history.

And the way it works, brother, is as revelation was unfolding throughout redemptive history, I think we get more clarity, more insight as to who God is and how he's revealed himself. And what I think is so fascinating is Paul, in 1 Corinthians, chapter 8, he actually references the Shema of Deuteronomy, chapter 6, verse 4, but he puts Jesus Christ right in the middle of it. He's talking about idolatry, and he says in 1 Corinthians, chapter 8, for although there may be so-called gods in heaven and on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, yet there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is one God.

Okay, well that's okay, it sounds like the Shema. One God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord. Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.

One Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. In other words, I think what Paul is doing here in part is he's giving us the inspired apostolic interpretation of Deuteronomy, chapter 6, where he puts Jesus right in the middle of the Shema. And so there's no contradiction here. We're not saying that God is one person and three persons.

That would be a contradiction. We're saying that God is one in essence, but three distinct persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And the reason we say that is because it's just how God has revealed himself in scripture, and ultimately we take the scripture as our ultimate and final authority. And so that's why we embrace this doctrine, the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, recognizing that it was revealed over time throughout the history of redemption.

And there was more and more clarity, especially as you get to the New Testament scriptures. And so thank you for your question, brother, and God bless. Hey Michael, thank you so much for being a regular listener to Core Christianity. We really do appreciate you.

Let's go to Mark calling in from Kansas. Mark, what's your question for Adriel? My question was about sharing Jesus with Muslims, and basically along the same line, when Jesus died on the cross, was part of the Trinity lost for those three days, and then he rose from the dead. And if so, did the Trinity resume after his death, and how does that work, just for talking with Muslim friends during Ramadan? Man, God bless you, Mark, and what an excellent question. Yeah, there's a lot of confusion about this. You know, I've actually been asked that question also by Jehovah's Witnesses, who will say, well, you say Jesus is God, but then you talk about God dying on the cross.

So how does that work? Well, again, Jesus, we believe, is the second person of the Holy Trinity, the eternal Word of the Father. How can God die?

Well, God the Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity, assumed human flesh from the womb of the Virgin Mary, so that in that flesh he might suffer and die and bear our curse, the curse that was due to us for sins. Now, when he experienced that, you know, it's not that the Trinity was broken or that the second person of the Holy Trinity was lost. Actually, what Christians believe is that after Christ died prior to his resurrection, and we've talked about this on the broadcast before, he's proclaiming his victory over the grave, triumph over death. It's not that he's lost or that the Trinity is lost for a period of a few days. No, this is the moment, the definitive moment of victory, and then with the resurrection of the dead.

Here's where I would take that discussion as I'm thinking about, you know, you're asking about having a conversation with Muslims. How can we have our sins forgiven? How can we have our sins forgiven? How can we be justified in the sight of a holy God when we've sinned against him?

I think the only answer is, well, only God can forgive, but God is also just. How is he going to deal with our sins? We continue to sin against him in thought, word, and deed.

He's just going to sort of brush those under the rug. The penalty for sin, according to scripture, is death, and I think that's more than just, you know, physical death. There's a separation from God. So how is God going to deal with this? How can we be justified in the sight of a holy God? Well, it's through the incarnation, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

That's our hope. That's why the message of the cross is so important for us, and, you know, some people will say, oh gosh, that doesn't even make sense. How could God die? But the theologians have talked about this for thousands of years. You know, especially related to the incarnation, just said, look, this is central to our salvation, because it was the offering of God the Son himself for us, for our sins. It made it perfect, infinite in value, so that we might be forever cleansed and brought into the presence of God. As the author of the Hebrews says about Jesus, our great high priest, he's able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to the Father through him since he ever lives to make intercession for us. And so when Jesus died on the cross, one, the Trinity was not broken, nor was it lost. This was the greatest act of obedience and love even between the persons of the Holy Trinity in that the Son is offering himself up for us, for our redemption, sent by the love of the Father, if you will.

It is not separation. It really is this picture of unity, love, and redemption for humanity. Thank you for your question. Mark, may God bless you, brother, as you have these conversations and just give you wisdom. And may the Holy Spirit work in and through your words to encourage the people around you. God bless. Mark, we appreciate you so much and your burden for these Muslim friends.

Wow, that is so great, especially during their time of Ramadan. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. You know, we have a book that actually looks very closely at Jesus's death and resurrection.

It's called Captivated, Beholding the Mystery of Jesus's Death and Resurrection. And it's available to you. We have it right now offered on our website for a donation of any amount.

If you go to corechristianity.com forward slash offers, look for the book Captivated. We're going to do a second program today. Normally our live program goes for about 30 minutes. And after we finish this live show today, we're going to be recording a second program, a second Core Christianity episode that'll air at a later date. So if you have questions for Pastor Adriel, you can still call us for the next 40 minutes or so and let us know your question. Let's go to Timothy in Wichita, Kansas. Timothy, what's your question for Adriel? Hi, Bill and Pastor Adriel.

Thanks for taking my call. My question today was where, I know one big disagreement between some denominations, particularly Catholics and a lot of Protestants is the symbolism versus actual presence of Christ's body and blood in the Holy Communion or Eucharist depending on who you talk to. Where do we as Protestants get our support and scripture for the fact that that is not the way that the communion is taken? Yeah, hey Timothy, thank you for that question.

Really a thoughtful question. And so we're talking about the Lord's Supper and the presence of Christ in the Supper. And there are some who say, well, you know, at the Lord's Supper, what happens miraculously by the power of the Holy Spirit is the elements of bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of Jesus. Now they look and taste like bread and wine still, but in terms of their substance, they become the body and blood of Jesus so that you no longer have bread and wine. I think that when we offer the Lord's Supper, it's more than just a time of remembrance. It is communion with the very body and blood of Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. But the bread and the wine remain bread and wine.

They're not transformed into something else. It's through them and by faith that we receive the reality that they signify. And that's how these covenant signs work in scripture. You have this sign of a greater reality that signifies something else, and it seals the goodness of God, the promises of God to us by faith.

I think what we see throughout the Old Testament and the New Testament related to the sacraments or these covenant signs. And Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11 verse 27, whoever therefore eats the bread or drinks the cup that is the wine of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. You see, it's still bread and wine. He's referring it to the body there as bread, and yet there is this tie, this union, if you will, between the sign, bread, and that which the sign signifies, the body of Jesus, that we want to be careful that we don't separate that, that we don't sever that. It's through this bread that we receive by faith that actually what we're receiving is the body of Jesus, not in that the bread is transformed into the physical body of Jesus, but that through this sign that God gives us, he communicates his grace to us, his gospel, the body and blood of Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit.

And of course, we're talking about something very mysterious here, and I hope that we can at least embrace that reality. This is more than just a little cracker and some wine. No, we're talking about a special communion that we have with the body and blood of Jesus Christ by faith. If you're looking for a proof text for that, I mean, just earlier, 1 Corinthians 10 verse 16, the cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ, the bread that we break? Is it not a participation in the body of Christ? And so I just think when you look at the language of covenant signs in scripture, Timothy, and when you see these passages where Paul's still talking about bread and wine in Holy Communion, it's better to understand it as it's not that these elements are transformed into something else, but that through them, really we as the people of God by faith are transformed as we receive the promises of God given to us there in these signs that Jesus has instituted for the good of the church.

And so we do. This is, I think, what the Bible teaches. We do have communion with the true body and blood of Jesus. Christ is really and truly present by the power of the Holy Spirit and through our union with him by the power of the Holy Spirit. And so there's a sense in which there's agreement there among many Christian denominations. The question is how do we receive the body and blood of Christ?

And that's where I would disagree with my friends who are Roman Catholics or Eastern Orthodox. But again, we can talk about this and open up the scriptures. And those are just a few of the passages that I would go to, Timothy. May the Lord bless you as you continue to seek him and honor him and do everything in accordance with his word. Thanks for listening to Core Christianity. To request your copy of today's special offer, visit us at corechristianity.com and click on offers in the menu bar or call us at 1-833-843-2673. That's 833, the core. When you contact us, please let us know how you've been encouraged by this program and be sure to join us next time as we explore the truth of God's word together.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-28 11:58:07 / 2023-04-28 12:07:55 / 10

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