Titus 2:11 For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. 12 And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, 13 while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. 14 He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds…
3:3 Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other.
4 But—“When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, 5 he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. 6 He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. 7 so that being justified by His grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Justify / Justification – our legal system brings justice. The judicial system analyzes the situation, sets free or sentences. After that “justice has been served”
to declare innocent. To absolve, Acquit. to free from guilt or blame or their consequences
How are we justified from our sin?
Romans 6: 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
1 John 1: 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Ephesians 2:8 God saved you by his grace when you believed (by faith). And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.
Sanctify / Sanctification – being made holy or purified. To act right, no longer sinning. To be like God.
Lacy Schwien – “Using the Word and the cleansing Blood of Jesus, God’s Holy Spirit sculpts me from a useless lump of clay into a vessel of honor, triumphant over sin and fit for God’s use.”
Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Romans 6:22 But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life.
(ESV the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.)
1 Corinthians 1: 30 ….Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy (sanctified), and he freed us from sin.
The problem that a lot of us have is we get justification and sanctification all mixed up.
The biggest problem with confusing the 2 is that our motivation gets all screwy.
We do things for the wrong reasons and it messes with our relationship with God and everyone else.
- We are driven into depression because we think we aren’t perfect enough.
- We are judgmental because we think others are perfect enough.
- We look for power and acceptance in our obedience.
- Our motivation for living right is: fear of hell OR the good feeling of the acceptance
Galatians 5:19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature/flesh, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. (hell)
22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. 26 Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.
People from my religious tradition are very weary to believe that ‘nothing can separate us from the love of God’. Even though we know that scripture is in the Bible and we recite the fact that we are not saved by our works, we are reluctant to freely jump into the waters of ‘no matter what you do, Jesus still loves you’.
I believe we are afraid (and I have heard it taught) that if people believe that concept, they will begin to sin wildly because there are no consequences to the action. If we believe that we will start sinning because there are no consequences to the sin, then we are identifying our wrong motivation for good works. We are acting virtuous because we are either fearful of the consequences of not doing it or we are prideful and enjoy the credit we get for good works. Both Pride and Fear are motivating factors and can be used to achieve the desired goal. However, both have a very short shelf life. We forget the consequence and find ourselves delving into the wrong activity.
Jonathan Edwards said this about ‘true virtue’:
What is true virtue? It is when you are honest not because it profits you or makes you feel better, but because you are smitten with the beauty of the God who is all truth and sincerity and faithfulness…True virtue comes when you see Christ dying for you, keeping a promise He made despite the infinite suffering it brought him. On the one hand that destroys pride: he had to do this for us, because we were so lost. On the other hand it also destroys fear: because if he’d do this for us while we were his enemies, then he values us infinitely, and nothing we can do will wear out his love. Consequently, our hearts are not just restrained but changed. Their fundamental orientation is transformed.
We want our hearts changed. We do not want to continue to pursue good works because it is the avenue to a right relationship with God. Jesus said we would be identified by our fruit. Fruit is most definitely the final product of the plant. The outward sign or ‘works’ of the plant. We want the same for ourselves. Our good works should be the final product generated from a deep devotion and love of God. If we put the works in front of the relationship as if they earn us the right to know God, then we are putting the cart before the horse.