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Refreshment in Refuge

    by Gina Burgess

Sanctify vs Justify
Date Posted: May 30, 2021

God justifies a person on their faith alone. We see this all through the Old Testament as evidenced in Hebrews 11. Anyone who believes God, and believes Jesus died for and took care of our sins, and believes Jesus is the Son of God Who raised Him from the dead is justified from that instant of belief. Being justified must happen in order to enter into God’s rest (Heaven). We know this because believing God was a prerequisite for the Children of Israel to enter the Promised Land. (Let us not mistake why Moses did not enter. The only reason Moses did not enter was because of his disobedience and his ruining the Spiritual example God had determined by Moses speaking to the rock for water to spring forth rather than striking the rock.)


Sanctification is not the same thing as justification. And justification is not cleansing. Sanctification is a process. Justification is something that happens in an instant and is permanent.

Ephesians 5:26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it (The Bride, the Church Body) with the washing of water by the word, Ephesians 5:27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. LITV
Ephesians 5:26 That he might sanctify it, cleansing it by the laver of water in the word of life: Ephesians 5:27 That he might present it to himself, a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 1899 Douay-Reims Bible
Ephesians 5:26 that he might sanctify it, having cleansed it with the bathing of the water in the saying, Ephesians 5:27 that he might present it to himself the assembly in glory, not having spot or wrinkle, or any of such things, but that it may be holy and unblemished. Young’s Literal Translation

Sanctify is to make holy. And Cleanse is to make clean from stains and dirt or
1b) in a moral sense
1b1) to free from defilement of sin and from faults
1b2) to purify from wickedness
1b3) to free from guilt of sin, to purify
1b4) to consecrate by cleansing or purifying
1b5) to consecrate, dedicate


I’m not saying that any Christian is sinless, or that any Christian would never commit another sin. The cleansing and purging of sin is an ongoing process. It is not a one time thing. In an over simplified example, the process of sanctifying is learning how to resist sin by emersion in the water of the Word, by deeply desiring to please God above all things. We participate with God in this process. Whereas, we have nothing whatsoever to do with the process of justification, which is wholly God’s doing by faith through the perfect sacrifice of Jesus (Galatians 3:8).

Please note in the verses above the use of the word “washing” along with the phrase “in the Word”. The word Paul uses is Loutron which means bathing, bath, or the act of bathing.

The root word is Louo which means to wash a dead person or to cleanse blood from a wound.

Therefore the sanctification and the cleansing comes from bathing in the Word.

And Rhema means that which is spoken by a living voice, or a thing spoken of as in a matter of narration, or of a command, or a dispute, or a matter of law.

Jesus is the Word, John tells us that. And God’s Word is the Bible. Christians do sin. As they learn more about God’s and Jesus’ character through the written Word, or commands, the Christian is continually washed in the Word, and by the Word.

This washing by the Word cleanses the world’s filth that accumulates on a Christian’s feet as he traverses this place which is not Home. It is a continual process. Remember in John href="https://pro.studylight.org/study-desk.html?t=amp&s=0&sr=1&q=John+13%3A">John 13 when Jesus washed the feet of His disciples?

Peter was horrified that his Master would do such a lowly servant’s service as wash his feet. Then Jesus told him that if Peter didn’t allow Him to do it, then he could never have a place with Jesus. He goes on to explain that a person who has been completely bathed (leloumenos) the entire body, only a part needs washing--the dirty part that touches the earth, the feet. He told Peter that one day he would understand the whole of what He was teaching with this act. It was not the removal of the physical dirt from the feet. Jesus describes here exactly what I am talking about.

There is a difference between the first baptism of the Holy Spirit which is a complete cleansing which is the absolute justification, and the continual washing required to keep the world’s filth from influencing the Christian’s mind. Justification is what will get us into Heaven. But God’s work does not stop there and it never truly stopped at the cross.

Do you recognize there is such a thing as a Carnal Christian?

Yes! A person is changed, has a new, circumcised heart when he is saved. But, if a person is not taught, does not read the Bible, does not immerse himself in godly things, then he remains a Carnal Christian. Paul calls the Corinthians carnal Christians. He tells them they should be eating meat, but they are still subsisting on milk. He is talking about those Christians, for they absolutely are Christians and Paul recognizes this, have not matured in Christ.

A Christian absolutely cannot mature in Christ, does not look like his Father in Heaven if he does not know what that looks like. The only way for him to know what that looks like is if he studies it in God’s Word. The act of studying/reading God’s Word is not what sanctifies. Get this, please.

The True Blue Christian does not have false hopes that his pious acts will move mountains. The only way a person would know this is if they read all Jesus’ miracles and see where Jesus said time and again, “Go in peace, your faith has healed you.” God bless and keep you and I pray that you will never let a day go by that you do not pick up God’s Word and hide it in your heart.

Satan takes a personal interest in each and every Christian’s weaknesses. He has a list and is checking it twice. When he can entice a Christian into his web, then he has spoiled the witness and that makes him happy.

When the Christian takes those darts to God, that makes Satan mad and he intensifies the assault, firing more and bigger fiery darts. This is why we are commanded to put on the full armor of God.

Being forgiven at the foot of the Cross is just the beginning of the journey. Being forgiven at the foot of the Cross is only the threshhold of the Door into Heaven.

Whether Jesus says, “Well done My good and faithful servant,” is ALL about how the Christian lives – the sanctifying process

Whether Jesus says, “Depart from Me, ye workers of iniquity,” is ALL about what happens at the Cross – the justification process.

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Biography Information:
Gina Burgess has taught Sunday School and Discipleship Training for almost three decades. (Don't tell her that makes her old.) She earned her Master's in Communication in 2013.

She is the author of several books including: When Christians Hurt Christians, The Crowns of the Believers and others available in online bookstores. She authors several columns, using her God-given talent to shine a light in a dark world. You can browse her blog at Refreshment In Refuge.

If you'd like to take a look at some Christian fiction and Christian non-fiction book reviews before the books hit the book store shelves, check out Gina's book reviews at Upon Reflection

Gina is a partner and COO of Common Sense Marketing Strategies, LLC that owns Authors Community and eBookChristian.com
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