The Medicines of Grace: Justification & Santification

One more passage from Joel Beeke’s Getting Back in the Race. I could go on and on for weeks sharing the innumerable amount of rich gospel soil found within that short book but this will do for now. After this go purchase the book for yourself and allow Beeke to drive you to Christ.

The first medicine of grace is sanctification, that process by which God faithfully and continually works upon our souls, from within and without, to conform us more and more into the image of God’s Son, our Savior, Christ Jesus. . . .

Though our justification in Christ was decreed from eternity (Revelation 13:8), accomplished on the cross (Isaiah 53:11), and proclaimed in Christ’s resurrection (Romans 4:24), it is applied to us through faith at the moment of regeneration (Galatians 2:16, Titus 3:5–7) when, in the words of the Westminster Confession of Faith, “the Holy Spirit doth in due time actually apply Christ unto them.”[73]

Distinguishing justification from sanctification. Justification and sanctification possess several common denominators in the believer’s salvation:

  • Both proceed from free grace and are rooted in the sovereign good pleasures and eternal covenant of triune Jehovah.
  • Both are made possible only by and through the head of the eternal covenant, Jesus Christ, acting on behalf of all the elect.
  • The elect are the only true subjects of both, and indeed justification and sanctification are inseparable in their application to the soul.
  • Both are necessary for salvation, commencing already from the moment of regeneration, although the convicted sinner may not at all view them as secure for him in God through Christ.
  • The saints are absolutely helpless to give or take either apart from the grace of God.

Despite these similarities, however, there are important ways in which justification and sanctification differ:

  • Justification was accomplished by Christ acting for us; sanctification, though rooted in the cross, is actualized by Christ acting in us.
  • Justification declares the sinner righteous and holy in Christ; sanctification makes the sinner righteous and holy as a fruit flowing from Christ.
  • Justification takes away the guilt of sin (having to do with the legal state of the elect sinner); sanctification takes away the pollution of sin (having to do with his daily condition).
  • Justification is a complete and perfect act, taking place only once; sanctification is an incomplete process, progressing daily and not perfected until the God’s child is translated to glory.
  • Justification gives God’s people the title for heaven and thus the boldness to enter; sanctification makes them suitable for heaven and thus prepares them to enjoy it when that blissful day dawns.
  • Justification gives the right to full salvation while sanctification provides the beginnings of salvation.

Joel R. Beeke. Getting Back in the Race (Kindle Locations 1158, 59 & 1316-1352). Cruciform Press. Read My Review. Buy Getting Back in the Race: The Cure for Backsliding.