Justification - Sanctification - Glorification

How do these fit together in the quest to get to heaven?
See also   http://www.jacksequeira.org  and
http://www.jacksequeira.org/issues02.htm   and

It has been said that  justification+sanctification=glorification  or

Justification (Yashua's forgivness of our sins) plus sanctification (our part in showing our faith in the belief of salvation) = glorification (our hope of standing spotless and sinless in front of the Father come judgment time).

These are not the easiest concepts to understand; and there exists a fine line between faith and works to get there. Getting to heaven is not the free ride many preachers would have you believe. The key, however, is that we don't get there by our own efforts, we get there through faith by allowing Yahshua and the Holy Spirit to change our lives effecting the evidence of that faith.

The Bible says  the unconditional good news of salvation is a righteousness
given by the grace of Yahweh (God)  that is entirely of His doing, without any human contribution whatsoever [see Romans 3:28; Galatians 2:16].

Well, that says we don't have a part in this, Yahshua did it all, and we only have to have faith in salvation, right?? The glitch IS, how do we show that faith?

"Obedience to the truth is the evidence of our faith."

"Anyone who has a true saving faith in Christ will also manifest in his or
her behavior the indwelling life of Christ."
That must mean we DO have a part in this
; a part called "sanctification".

The Bible calls this life of Christ that lives in us "the fruit of the Spirit" [Galatians 5:22].  The apostle James identifies these fruits as works of faith [see James 2:14-26]. According to James, many Christians in his day thought of faith as a mere mental assent to the gospel, an attitude that is still prevalent today,
unfortunately.  In correcting this false view of faith, James argues that
faith involves more than a superficial, self-centered acceptance of the
.  He makes it clear that without works, faith is dead [see James
2:17, 20, 26].  Faith must manifest itself in our lives; otherwise, we
really don't have faith at all.  True faith, then, is dynamic.  It unites us
with Christ, and, therefore, must produce in our lives the works of Christ -
His righteousness - through the indwelling Spirit of Christ [see 2
Corinthians 3:17-18]. 

This doesn't sound like, "without any human contribution whatsoever", does it???

The explanation - Taken from
In the centuries before Jesus came to earth, the people of Alexandria in
North Africa depended for their survival on the wheat brought by grain ships
from Phoenicia (present-day Lebanon).  It was good news indeed, then, when
these ships appeared in port.  The Greek-speaking residents of Alexandria
actually coined a word to announce the good news that the grain ships had
arrived.  It is this Greek word that the New Testament uses for the "gospel"
- the unconditional good news of salvation for all mankind made sure by the
historial reality of Jesus' birth, life, and death [see Mark 16:15; Romans
1:1-14; 10:13-15].  The gospel is "good news" indeed.
The apostle Paul calls this gospel "the righteousness of God" [Romans 1:16,
17; 3:21].  By this, he means that righteousness which God:
1. planned and initiated before the foundation of the world [see
Ephesians 1:4; Revelation 13:8];
2. promised since the Fall [see Genesis 3:15]; and
3. fulfilled in the life and death of Jesus Christ [see John 3:16, 17;
Galatians 4:4-5].
In other words, it is a righteousness that is entirely of God's doing,
without any human contribution whatsoever [see Romans 3:28; Galatians 2:16].
In Christ, according to this gospel, humanity stands perfect and complete
before God and His holy law [see Colossians 2:10; Romans 10:4].  This
salvation delivers us from the three predicaments that we face as sinful
human beings.  It saves us from:
1. the guilt and punishment of sin;
2. the power and slavery of sin; and
3. the nature and presence of sin.
The first salvation is the means of our justification.  The second is the
means of our sanctification.  And the third is the means of our
glorification.  We need to realize that although we Christians can claim
justification as an already-established fact [see Romans 5:1],
sanctification is a continuous, ongoing experience [see 1 Thessalonians
4:2-7; 5:23].  And glorification is a future hope to be realized at the
second coming of Jesus [see Romans 8:24, 25; Philippians 3:20-21].
All three of these aspects of our salvation - justification, sanctification,
and glorification - have already been accomplished in the birth, life,
death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, all three are
offered to us in Christ; they cannot be separated.  Whom God has justified,
He will also sanctify and glorify if we do not turn our backs on Him through
unbelief [see Romans 8:30; Hebrews 10:38-39].  All three aspects of
salvation make up the gospel - the good news of salvation - and, since they
come to us in one parcel, Jesus Christ, they are inseparable.  We cannot
choose to receive one without the others.
Everything we experience in our salvation - either in this world or in the
world to come - is based on the finished work of our Lord Jesus.  The
foundation of all our Christian experience is His birth, life, death, and
resurrection.  For this reason, we must be grounded in the truth as it is in
Him.  This is vital, because if our understanding of what Jesus accomplished
in His earthly mission is partial or incomplete, so will be our experience.
That's why He said, "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set
you free" [John 8:32].  "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free
indeed" [John 8:36].
Our understanding affects our experience.  For example, when some of the
Christians at Corinth denied the resurrection of believers, Paul didn't try
to defend the truth of the resurrection by citing proof texts.  Instead, he
argued that Christians would be raised to life because Jesus had been raised
to life [see 1 Corinthians 15:12-23].  Likewise, Peter comforted suffering
Christians by pointing out that, because they were suffering like Christ,
they would one day be glorified with Him as well [see 1 Peter 4:13].
Through faith, we identify ourselves with jesus Christ and His crucifixion.
This means that, at conversion, when we believe and accept Jesus as our
Savior, we subjectively become one with Him, and His death becomes our
death.  Faith is being sure of things hoped for (God's salvation in Christ),
the substance of which we have not yet fully experienced [see Hebrews 11:1].

The Two Aspects of Salvation
We can divide salvation into two related, but distinct, aspects.  First,
salvation is what God has already accomplished for all mankind in the life
and death of Jesus.  This salvation, Jesus said, is the good news, the
gospel, and He commissioned His disciples to proclaim it to all the world
[see Mark 16:15].  Paul often describes this salvation as you in Christ [see
1 Corinthians 1:30-31; Ephesians 1:3-6, 2:13; Philippians 3:9].  This
salvation is an objective truth realized in the earthly history of Christ
and, therefore, we can refer to it theologically as the objective gospel.
Second, Scripture also refers to salvation as what God accomplishes in us
through the Holy Spririt.  This aspect of salvation is not something in
addition to the objective facts of the gospel.  It is making real in
experience what God has already accomplished for us objectively in Christ.
This second phase of salvation may be described, then, as the fruits of the
objective gospel.  Paul often refers to it by the expression Christ in you
[see Romans 8:10; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 3:17; Colossians 1:27].  It
includes peace with God that comes as a result of justification by faith
[see Romans 5:1; Acts 10:36; Colossians 1:20]; holiness of living and
victory over sin through the process of sanctification by faith [see Romans
6:22; 2 Peter 1:5-7], and the changing of our sinful natures to sinless ones
through the glorification to be realized at Christ's second coming [see
Romans 8:24-25; 1 Corinthians 15:51-54; Philippians 3:20-21].  Since this
second aspects of salvation has to do with our experience, it is often
called the subjective gospel.
Today, many Christians are confused about these two aspects of salvation.
The confusion comes as a result of failing to see the distinction between
what God has already accomplished in Christ some 2,000 years ago and what He is presently doing in the lives of believers through the indwelling Spirit.
In turn, this confusion has led to much controversy over the doctrine of
righteousness by faith.  Christ is our righteousness in both of these
aspects of salvation; both are made effective by faith alone.  But there are
important distinctions between the two.
We often describe the first aspect of salvation - the objective gospel - as
the imputed righteousness of Christ.  This is what qualifies the believer
for heaven, both now and in the judgment.  We describe the second aspect of
salvation - the subjective gospel - as the imparted righteousness of Christ.
This is what gives evidence of the reality of the imputed righteousness of
Christ in the life.  It does not contribute in the slightest way to our
qualification for heaven; it witnesses, or demonstrates, what is already
true of us in Christ.  Imparted righteousness does not qualify us for
heaven, but, if it is lacking in our lives, that is evidence that we either
do not clearly understand the gospel or that we have rejected the gift of
imputed righteousness.  A refusal to clothe ourselves with the imputed
righteousness of Christ indicates we do not have genuine faith and,
therefore, unfits us for heaven [see James 2:20-23; Matthew 22:11-13].
Differences Between 'Objective' and 'Subjective' Gospels
There are four main differences between the objective gospel ("you in
Christ") and the subjective gospel ("Christ in you").

1. Complete/Incomplete. 
Objectively, "in Christ," we stand complete
and perfect in all righteousness [see 1 Corinthians 6:11; Ephesians 1:3;
Colossians 2:10].  Subjectively, "Christ in you" is an ongoing, growing
process of sanctification, to be realized before the second coming, and the
glorification of our bodies and natures, to be experienced at the second
coming [see Romans 5:3-5; 8:18-23; 1 Corinthians 15:51-57; Philippians
3:12-14, 20-21; Colossians 1:27; 2:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; 2 Peter
2. Universal/Particular.  "In Christ," all humanity was redeemed -
legally justified and reconciled to God [see Romans 5:18; 2 Corinthians
5:18-19; 1 Timothy 4:10; Titus 2:11; 1 John 2:2].  "Christ in you" applies
only to believers who have by faith experienced the new birth [see John
3:16; Romans 8:9-10; 1 Corinthians 6:17-20; 2 Corinthians 3:17-18; 6:14-16;
1 Timothy 4:10].
3. Outside of Us/Allied.  "In Christ," the righteousness accomplished
is without any help or contribution from us [see Romans 3:21, 28;
Philippians 3:9].  "Christ in you" involves the cooperation of believers who
by faith are walking in the Spirit [see John 15:1-5; 17:23; Romans 8:9-14;
13:12-14; Galatians 2:20; 1 John 3:23-24].
4. Meritorious/Demonstrative.  Righteousness "in Christ" is the only
means of our salvation and, unless we resist and reject it, it fully
qualifies us for heaven both now and in the judgment [see Acts 13:39; Romans
3:28; 10:4; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5].  "Christ in you"
witnesses to - or gives evidence of - our salvation in Christ, but it is not
meritorious [see Matthew 5:14-16; John 13:34-35; 14:12; Ephesians 2:10;
Titus 3:8].
The objective truth of the gospel is that Jesus Christ has already
accomplished everything necessary for sinful men and women to be declared
righteous and candidates for heaven.  Therefore, those who welcome their
position in Christ are considered by God as being already righteous, holy,
sanctified, and glorified "in Christ" [see Ephesians 1:3-6; 2:5-6; 1
Corinthians 6:9-11].  Luther's great rediscovery that "the just shall live
by faith" [Romans 1:17] was the greatest truth to arise in men's minds since
the falling away of the gospel in the Dark Ages.

The 'In Christ' Motif

The central theme of the aspostle Paul's theology regarding the gospel is
the "in Christ" motif or idea.  It is based on the biblical teaching of
solidarity or corporate oneness, a concept that is largely foreign to the
Western mind, although still common in many parts of the world today.  The
Bible plainly teaches that the whole of humanity is linked together in a
common life and, therefore, constitutes a unit or a shared identity - a
corporate oneness.
Notice, for example, how the writer of Hebrews uses this concept of
corporate oneness to skillfully weave his argument that Christ's Melchizedec
priesthood is superior to the Levitical priesthood [see Hebrews 6:20-7:28].
First, he proves that Melchizedec was superior to Levi.  Once he establishes
that, it isn't hard to see how Christ's priesthood after the order of
Melchizedec is superior to the Levitical priesthood.
But how does the writer of Hebrews prove that Melchizedec is superior to
Levi?  Simply by reminding his readers that Levi paid tithes to Melchizedec.
The argument is briliant; the one who pays tithes is always inferior to the
one to whom tithes are paid.  But Levi never paid tithes to Melchizedec as
an individual!  He wasn't even born in the time of Melchizedec.  How, then
did he do it?  "In Abraham," says the writer of Hebrews.
Levi, Abraham's great-grandson, who had not yet been born, "was yet in the
loins" of Abraham [Hebrews 7:10] when Abraham met Melchizedec and paid
tithes to him [see verses 7-10].  This whole argument is based on the idea
of corporate oneness.  It helps us understand how all humanity stands
condemned "in Adam" and is justified "in Christ," since all humanity were
"in the loins" of these two men and were, therefore, implicated in what they
both did.

The Bible view, then, is that God created all mankind in one man, Adam.
"...The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed
into this nostrils the breath of life" [Genesis 2:7; cf. Acts 17:26].  The
Hebrew word translated "life" in this verse is in the plural form; it says
literally that God breathed into Adam "the breath of lives," that is, the
lives of all human beings.
In the same way, the bible considers that when Adam fell, the whole human
family fell "in him."  Since Adam's sin took place before he had children
who could make their own moral decisions, his fall into sin plunged the
entire human race into sin [see Romans 5:12; 1 Corinthians 15:21-22].  This
view is difficult for the Western mind to grasp and accept because it is
much more accustomed to thinking in individualistic terms.  However, the
idea of all mankind, as a corporate unit, participating in Adam's fall is
clearly taught in the Scriptures.
If the downside of the idea of corporate oneness is that we all fell in the
one man, Adam, the glorious upside of the idea is that God likewise has
redeemed all of us in the one man, Jesus Christ, who is the "second Adam"
[see Romans 5:12-21; 1 Corinthians 15:19-23; 45-49].  God has legally
justified all mankind in Christ just as surely as Satan has brought about
the condemnation of all mankind in Adam [see Romans 5:18].
By God's miraculous act, initiated and carried out by Him alone, He united
in one person - Jesus Christ - our corporate humanity that needed redeeming
with His own perfect divine nature.  At His incarnation, Christ assumed the
corporate life of the entire human race in its fallen condition [see 1
Corinthians 1:30].  Through this mysterious union, God qualified Christ to
become the second or "last Adam" [1 Corinthians 15:45].  In Hebrew, the word
Adam means "mankind" and, as the second Adam, Jesus Christ became the
representative and substitute of corporate humanity.  The entire human race
is corporately one "in Him" just as we are one "in Adam."  What Jesus did,
we have done, because we are corporately one in Him.  Thus His life and
death, which fully met the positive demands of God's holy law as well as its
justice, are considered to be our life and death also.  "In Him," we are
justified because His life and ours were forever linked at the incarnation.
This, in brief, is Paul's "in Christ" motif.  It is what constitutes the
good news of the gospel [see Ephesians 1:3-12; 2:4-7].
Jesus Christ can abide in you through the Holy Spirit [see Romans 8:9-10]
and fulfill in your life the demands of God's holy law [see verse 4] only
because of the objective fact that "in Christ" you have already met all the
requirements and demands of the law.  That is why Paul comes to this
conclusion regarding justification by faith:  "Do we, then, nullify the law
by this faith?  Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law" [Romans 3:31; cf.

Righteousness by Faith
In Chapter 3 http://www.jacksequeira.org/beyond03.htm , we defined the
gospel and salvation as an objective fact.  We saw that, in Christ, all
humanity has obtained full and complete salvation because Christ's life has
provided salvation from sin's guilt and punishment, its power, and its curse
[see Ephesians 2:5-6].
In this chapter, we will turn our attention to the subjective aspect of the
gospel - salvation as a personal experience.  What God has prepared and
provided in Christ for all mankind (the objective gospel) must become real
in our experience (the subjective gospel) if it is to be of value to us.
The objective gospel can become a reality to us only when we experience its
power in our lives.  Not only did Jesus say that we shall know the truth,
but He also added, "The truth will set you free" [John 8:32].  The truth can
make us free only when we believe and receive it in our hearts [see Mark
16:15-16; Romans 5:17].  Until that happens, the truth remains a mere theory
to us.
When we studied the objective gospel, we looked at salvation from God's
point of view.  When we study the subjective gospel, we look at salvation
from humanity's point of view.  From God's perspective, we are saved by
grace [see Ephesians 2:8-9], and Christ is our righteousness.  From the
human-response perspective, we are saved by faith, and the righteousness of
Christ becomes ours by faith alone.  In other words, the subjective gospel
is making real in our experience the objective facts of the gospel.  Faith
is the key word in the subjective gospel, and we need to look at this word
in detail.

Genuine Faith
Faith is our human response to the objective facts of the gospel.  In order
to be genuine faith, this response must always be motivated by love, a heart
appreciation of the gospel.  John 3:14-16 makes it clear that faith is our
heartfelt response to God's love expressed in the gift of Jesus Christ and
Him crucified.  Once we understand the objective facts of the gospel,
especially the truth concerning the cross, then "Christ's love compels us,
because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.  And
he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves
but for him who died for them and was raised again" [2 Corinthians 5:14-15].
The fact that Christ was willing to say good-bye to His eternal life forever
so that we might live can fill us only with love and adoration.  This is
genuine faith that works by love [see Galatians 5:6] and produces genuine
Satan, the great enemy of our souls, has prepared at least one counterfeit
for every objective truth of the gospel.  His counterfeit for Christ's
righteousness, for example, is self-righteousness.  Self-righteousness may
look good; it may even appear to be genuine righteousness, but it is not of
the gospel and, therefore, is like filthy rags in God's eyes [see Romans
10:3-4; Isaiah 64:6].
Satan's counterfeit for genuine faith is an egocentric faith motivated by
self-interest.  Like the genuine article, this counterfeit faith professes
to be in Christ, but it originates from our sinful human natures, which are
dominated by concern for self.  Because it does not belong to the gospel of
Christ, it has no power to produce good works.
In contrast to this egocentric faith, the everlasting gospel of the three
angels' messages offers us the faith of Jesus, which is able to produce in
us the patience of the saints and enable us to keep the commandments of God
[see Revelation 14:12].  "The faith of Jesus" is the faith He demonstrated
during His earthly life and by which He was victorious on the cross.  It is
described in the Laodicean message as "gold refined in the fire" [Revelation
3:18; cf. 1 Peter 1:7].  Because Jesus' faith was motivated by agape love,
it was able to withstand even the fiery test of the second death.
The first thing, then, that we must understand about genuine faith is that
it is our human response to the gospel, and it is always motivated by love,
a deep, heartfelt appreciation of Christ.
One reason why so many Christians today fail to demonstrate the power of the
gospel in their lives is that their faith is a self-centered faith.  It is
self-centered because they have failed to understand the facts of the
objective gospel - Christ our righteousness.  If a person does not believe
that full and complete salvation has already been obtained in Jesus Christ,
if a person believes that salvation ultimately depends to some degree on his
or her behavior, then the faith such a person is able to generate will
naturally be polluted with self-concern.
Where justification by faith is not clearly understood, there is insecurity.
Where there is insecurity, there is fear.  And where there is fear, there
can be no real love, only concern for self.  "Perfect love drives out fear,
because fear has to do with punishment" [1 John 4:18].
The idea that "I have to be good," or "I'm not good enough to qualify for
heaven" is one of the great stumbling blocks hindering God's people today
from experiencing genuine faith.  As a result, the church is spiritually
bankrupt [see Revelation 3:17].  This is why it is so tremendously important
that we understand the objective facts of the gospel, the truth as it is in
Jesus.  Without this understanding, we can never experience genuine faith
that is motivated by love [see Galatians 5:6].

Saving Faith
Genuine faith must be motivated by love, but it must also be a saving faith.
What is saving faith?
It is not simply trusting God.
Too many Christians trust Christ for salvation in the same way they trust
their insurance company for material security.  Such a faith is founded on
self-interest and is, therefore, a counterfeit to saving faith.  Although
saving faith includes absolute trust in God, it involves much more.  True
saving faith is motivated by love and always includes three important
1. knowing the truth as it is in Jesus;
2. believing the truth as it is in Jesus; and
3. obeying the truth as it is in Jesus.
Let's look briefly at each of these elements.

1. Knowing the truth.  Many texts in Scripture plainly teach that a
knowledge of the gospel is a necessary and essential element to having a
saving faith.  The apostle Paul made it clear that faith comes by hearing,
and hearing by the Word of God [see Romans 10:17].  The context of his
statement indicates that the source of faith is hearing the gospel of peace,
the truth as it is in Jesus.  Christ Himself declared that knowing Him is
essential to saving faith.  "Then you will know the truth, and the truth
will set you free.  ...So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed"
[John 8:32,36].  He also said in prayer to the Father, "Now this is eternal
life:  that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you
have sent" [John 17:3].
The heart of the Jewish problem in the New Testament was
that they did not understand the gospel.  "For I can testify about them,"
said Paul, "that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on
knowledge.  Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God
and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's
righteousness" [Romans 10:2-3].
Because knowing the gospel is essential, Jesus gave this
great commission to His disciples, "Go into all the world and preach the
good news to all creation" [Mark 16:15].  This is why He said, "And this
gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to
all nations, and then the end will come" [Matthew 24:14; cf. Revelation
14:6].  We must earnestly seek to know more fully the truth as it is in
Jesus, becaue the knowledge of the gospel is a saving knowledge that will
increase and deepen our faith [see Ephesians 4:11-15].

2. Believing the truth. The Bible is clear that a mere head knowledge
of the truth does not save.  True saving faith must include believing the
truth.  "Whoever believes [the gospel] and is baptized will be saved..."
[Mark 16:16].  In Greek, the words faith and belief come from the same root
word because faith always involves belief.  Not only must a person mentally
believe the gospel; this belief must also come from the heart.
Paul told the Roman Christians, "Your faith is being
reported all over the world" [Romans 1:8].  What made their faith
outstanding?  The answer is found in Romans 6:17, "But thanks be to God
that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the
form of teaching [the gospel] to which you were entrusted" (emphasis
In the parable of the sower [see Matthew 13:3-9, 15, 18-23],
Christ illustrated many kinds of believers who respond to the Word, but the
only ones whose faith is of value and bears fruit are those who understand
the gospel and make a heart response to it [see verse 23; cf. Acts 8:36-38].
A person may respond positively to the gospel for many reasons.  Some,
especially in the Third World, may respond to the gospel in order to gain
free or inexpensive education, a job, clothes, or food.
Others may join the church because of family pressure,
emotional security, etc.  But such a response is not genuine faith; it will
never be able to bear good fruit or stand the test of trial.  Only those
whose faith is founded on a heartfelt response to gospel truth have genuine
saving faith.

3. Obeying the truth.  Third, saving faith involves total submission to
the objective facts of the gospel.  Above all, this is the element that
makes faith an instrument by which we can experience the power of the
Unfortunately, here is where many go wrong.  Genuine saving
faith must go beyond a mere mental assent to the gospel.  James warned, "You
believe that there is one God.  Good!  Even the demons believe that - and
shudder" [James 2:19].  Obedience to the truth is the evidence of our faith.
As we study the objective facts of the gospel, we discover
many things about ourselves that were realized in Christ's doing and dying.
For example, we discover that when Christ died to sin on the cross, we also
died there in Him.  Thus, a saving faith means that we will identify
ourselves with that fact; we will realize that we, too, must say goodbye
forever to our old life of sin that we inherited in Adam.  Only then will we
be qualified to be resurrected and live with Christ [see Romans 6:8; 2
Timothy 2:11].  Genuine saving faith requires us to surrender ourselves to
all the facts of Christ and Him crucified.
We all know that when we believe, we do not die to sin
personally, in and of ourselves.  We still possess the old sinful nature.
Consequently, we are totally unable to live the life God demands even though
we are Christian believers.  Christ must live in us, and the thing that
motivates us to allow Him to do so is knowing, and submitting to, the truth
that when He died, our natural, sinful life was up to death in Him.  Paul
points to this as the secret of his experience:  "I have been crucified with
Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  The life I live in the
body, I live by faith [total surrender] in the Son of God, who loved me and
gave himself for me" [Galatians 2:20].
"In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin," Paul
counsels the Roman Christians, "but alive to God in Christ Jesus" [Romans
6:11].  When we live on this plane of faith, our old life is no longer in
control, since it is crucified with Christ; the resurrected life of Christ
dominates through the indwelling Spirit.  Such a life is pleasing to God
[see Galatians 5:22-24; John 15:4-8].
To live by faith alone means, above all else, to live a life that is totally
surrendered to Christ as our righteousness.  Faith then becomes a channel of
saving power through which we stand justified and by which Christ's
character is reproduced in us.  In this way, Christ's righteousness becomes
our personal experience by faith.  This is what it means to walk in the
Spirit [see Galatians 5:16-17; 2 Corinthians 3:17-18].
Saving faith, therefore, involves much more than simply trusting in Christ
for eternal security.  It means much more than simply depending on Christ to
help us keep the law or "be good."  God will never help the flesh to be
good, for the flesh is Satan's domain and unalterably opposed to God [see
Romans 8:7; Galatians 5:17].  The formula for successful Christian living is
always, "Not I, but Christ."  Saving faith demands that we maintain a humble
attitude of complete surrender to the reality that when Christ was
crucified, we were crucified in Christ.  He, not self, must live in us and
manifest Himself through us.
Active faith, understood and practiced, amounts to following Jesus's advice,
"Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation" [Matthew 26:41],
or "Pray continually" [1 Thessalonians 5:17].  This is how we live by faith
Thus, not only do we stand justified by faith alone, but we are sanctified
by faith alone as well.  The moment we step off the platform of faith alone,
the flesh immediately takes over, and we are overcome by sin.  Like Paul, we
find ourselves doing the very opposite of the good we want to do [see Romans
7:15-24].  Righteousness by faith, therefore, includes both the joy of
justification as well as the experience of sanctification.

The Role of Faith
Some Christians believe and teach that our faith saves us.  This is not
true.  Faith, in and of itself, can save no one.  Nowhere does the Bible say
that we are saved because of our faith or on account of our faith.  If faith
saves us, then it becomes a form of works that we can boast about.  I can
say, "I am saved because I believe in Christ.  I have done something!"
The Bible teaches that we are saved by faith or through faith.  Faith is
only the instrument or channel by which we receive Christ as our
righteousness.  It is Christ - His life, His death, His resurrection - that
saves us, nothing else.
The function of faith is to unite us to Christ.  A tow bar unites a
broken-down automobile to a wrecker.  The disabled car has no ability to
move on its own; the wrecker has great power.  Faith, like the tow bar,
unites us, who are dead in sins and who can do nothing righteous on our own,
to Christ, who has conquered, condemned, and triumphed over sin in the flesh
[see Romans 3:10-12; 8:3; Ephesians 2:1, 5].
Jesus said, "Apart from me you can do nothing" [John 15:5].  But Paul said,
"I can do everything through him who gives me strength" [Philippians 4:13].
All power belongs to Christ, who is able to save us to the uttermost.
Through faith, Christ can produce in us the very righteousness of God [see
Romans 8:4; Hebrews 7:25; Revelation 14:12].
Faith must always have an object; our faith must be in someone or something.
And the object of genuine faith is always Christ.  Nothing must take His
place, not even our faith.  By faith we become one with Christ so that His
righteousness is counted as our righteousness; His power is made available
to us.  This is what it means to be standing in grace [see Romans 5:2].
Faith is God's gift; it is not something we have or can generate ourselves
[see Romans 12:3].  The gospel is foolishness to the natural mind [see 1
Corinthians 2:14], so how can a person produce faith in and of himself to
believe and accept it?  He cannot, without the Holy Spirit.
To be saved by faith means that we rest entirely on Christ and His
righteousness - both for our standing before God in the judgment and also
for our personal, day-by-day Christian experience.  This is the foundation
upon which the doctrine of righteousness by faith rests [see Philippians

Works of Faith
It's important to understand the difference between "works of faith" and
"works of the law."  Works of faith genuinely belong to the gospel, indeed,
are a necessary fruit of it, but works of the law are a subtle counterfeit
of the devil.
Anyone who has a true saving faith in Christ will also manifest in his or
her behavior the indwelling life of Christ.  The Bible calls this life of
Christ that lives in us "the fruit of the Spirit" [Galatians 5:22].  The
apostle James identifies these fruits as works of faith [see James 2:14-26].
According to James, many Christians in his day thought of faith as a mere
mental assent to the gospel, an attitude that is still prevalent today,
unfortunately.  In correcting this false view of faith, James argues that
faith involves more than a superficial, self-centered acceptance of the
gospel.  He makes it clear that without works, faith is dead [see James
2:17, 20, 26].  Faith must manifest itself in our lives; otherwise, we
really don't have faith at all.  True faith, then, is dynamic.  It unites us
with Christ, and, therefore, must produce in our lives the works of Christ -
His righteousness - through the indwelling Spirit of Christ [see 2
Corinthians 3:17-18].
How does all this differ from the "works of the law" that Paul so earnestly
opposes in his letters?  [See Romans 3:20; 9:30-33; Galatians 2:16;
Ephesians 2:8-9.]  Paul is not contradicting James; the two inspired writers
are in full agreement, since Paul, too, upholds works of faith [see
Ephesians 2:10; Titus 2:7, 14; 3:8; Hebrews 10:24].
The New Testament writers did not have a Greek word equivalent to our word
legalism.  Instead, they used the phrase "works of law" to mean the same
thing.  The difference between "works of law" and "works of faith," between
legalism and the obedience that results from faith, is subtle because it
doesn't lie primarily in the works themselves.  The difference is in the
source or origin of these works.  For example, works of faith mean that
God's law or will is being fulfilled in the life.  However, works of law
appear externally to be legitimate commandment keeping also.  Both are
concerned to do God's will as expressed in His law.  On the surface, there
seems to be no difference.  Only when we look deeply enough to discover the
motivation behind the works do we recognize that there is a great difference
between "works of faith" and "works of law."
Works of faith originate from the indwelling life of Christ; works of law
always originate from the flesh, the natural life.  In works of faith, the
believer is living by faith alone; in works of law, the sinner attempts to
keep the law through a concern for self.  He may pray to Christ for help, or
even plead with God for the power of the Holy Spirit, but at the center of
all his works and effort is only the natural strength of the flesh.  This
was the heart of the problem in the Galatian church.  The Christians there
had been born of the Holy Spirit; that is, they had received the life of
Christ.  But Satan had deceived them into trying to perfect their characters
through the flesh [see Galatians 3:1-3].  Sad to say, many of God's people
today have fallen into the same subtle trap of Satan.
The formula of the gospel is "Not I, but Christ."  Where there are works of
faith, you will find no dependence on the energy of the flesh or the natural
strength.  "Works of faith" simply means Christ living in the believer's
life through faith [see Galatians 2:20].  Love is always the motivating
factor behind all such works, because Christ is love.  Therefore, love
(Christ's agape in us) becomes the fulfillment of the law [see Romans
13:8-10; Galatians 5:14; 1 John 4:7, 12].
On the other hand, works of law always originate from a concern with self;
they are, therefore, always polluted by self no matter how good they may
appear to ourselves or to others.  Performing works of law is a subtle form
of rebellion against God because all such works are actually independent of
Him.  In the judgment, God will condemn all such works as iniquity, works
motivated from self-interest [see Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 13:25-28].
Under no circumstances will God enter into partnership with the flesh (our
concern for self).  The flesh belongs to Satan and, therefore, must be
crucified [see Galatians 5:24].  When we give up all confidence in the flesh
and live by faith alone, then God can produce godliness - genuine
righteousness - in us.  And He will do so.  God did not give us His
only-begotten Son so that we could copy Him, but so that we could receive
Our lives will become pleasing to God only as we completely surrender
ourselves to Him who loved us and gave Himself for us [see John 15:1-8].
God is not looking at us to see how good we are or how hard we are trying to
keep His law.  There is only one thing that God looks for in each of us:
how much of His Son Jesus does He see in us?

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