There is a species of wrong teaching out there that says if you believe Jesus is your Savior, you are so completely saved that even if you live your entire life without obeying any of Jesus’ commands, you are still truly saved. Sanctification is like a bonus. Doesn’t really matter but it can be a nice extra.
The Bible teaches that the believer in Jesus Christ is completely justified before God. We have peace with God (Romans 5:1) and have no condemnation (Romans 8:1). I have everything I need to stand before a holy God as “not guilty” as the God declares the verdict “righteous” over me. I have Christ’s righteousness. As we sing in the hymn, He shows his wounded hands and names me as His own.
So if I have all that, why should I be concerned with sanctification? Does it even matter? There is a species of wrong teaching out there that says if you believe Jesus is your Savior, you are so completely saved that even if you live your entire life without obeying any of Jesus’ commands, but you are still truly saved. Sanctification is like a bonus. Doesn’t really matter but it can be a nice extra.
To counter this, let’s point to some Biblical reason why sanctification is not only important but a necessary part of my salvation.
First, because of I have all that I need in Jesus Christ, I have in Christ both justification and sanctification. 1Cor. 1:30 says “And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption.” He who justified us also sanctifies us. We are positionally holy. There is a washing and cleansing of making us set apart for the Lord that comes with our salvation:
1Cor. 6:11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
So we find then that first reason you should be concerned about sanctification is because that is who you are. That is the work that God began in us. He washed us and made us holy. Certainly, we have the presence of sin remaining, but our position before God is that of ‘sanctified.’
Second, if Christ began a work in you, He is going to carry it forward to completion. God has made you a new creation. He has put a seed in you (1 Peter 1:22-25). The seed planted in you will sprout and grow. The Word of God bears fruit in the believer’s life. I should be concerned about sanctification because it provides evidence and testimony of God’s work in me.