How to Live the Victorious Life
4. Positionally

Justification and sanctification are dual benefits which Christ won for man by His life, death and resurrection. Yet we cannot secure an interest in these benefits, we cannot share in them, unless we become one with Christ through faith-union. As Luther says, "He who believes shall possess all things, and he who believes not shall possess nothing."

Upon being united to Christ, we are justified, for "if the root be holy, so are the branches." Rom. 11:16. And if we are "in Christ," joined to Christ as the branch is united to the vine, it is inevitable that we will be "partakers of His holiness." Union with Christ therefore secures the two benefits. The legal benefit is justification, and the moral benefit is sanctification. It is impossible to secure one without the other. As Calvin says:

    Christ cannot be torn into parts, so these two which we perceive in him together and conjointly are inseparable—namely, righteousness (justification) and sanctification. Whomever, therefore, God receives into grace, on them he at the same time bestows the spirit of adoption [Rom. 8:15], by whose power he remakes them to his own image.... Yet Scripture, even though it joins them, still lists them separately in order that God's manifold grace may better appear to us. —John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1960), Bk. 3, chap. 11,sec.6.

    Why, then, are we justified by faith? Because by faith we grasp Christ's righteousness, by which alone we are reconciled to God. Yet you could not grasp this without at the same time grasping sanctification also. For he is "given unto us for righteousness, wisdom, sanctification and redemption." [I Cor. 1:30]. Therefore Christ justifies no one whom he does not at the same time sanctify. These benefits are joined together by an everlasting and indissoluble bond, so that those whom he illuminates by his wisdom, he redeems; those whom he redeems, he justifies; those whom he justifies, he sanctifies.—Ibid., chap. 16, sec. 1.
Thus, whichever way we look at the relationship of justification and sanctification, they are inseparable. Says Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones:
    Do we realize that if we truly understand the doctrine of justification by faith we have already grasped the essence and nerve of the New Testament teaching about holiness and sanctification? Have we realized that to be justified by faith guarantees our sanctification, and that therefore we must never think of sanctification as a separate and subsequent experience? The Apostle's entire argument has been this, that if we truly realize what is meant by justification, we realize that it inevitably means that we are 'in Christ' also, and that that guarantees our deliverance from sin and our final glorification. — D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Romans: The New Man; Exposition of Chapter 6 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1973), p. 190.
Intro | Legally | Psychologically | Effectively | Positionally | Examples | Need | Principles | Conclusion
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