We understand true believers in Christ are being transformed into the image of Jesus. It is done through the spiritual process of justification, righteousness, sanctification, and consecration. However, this is not something we can do on our own. It is God who justifies, it is Jesus who redeems and makes us righteous and the Holy Spirit leads us intosanctification and gives us the wisdom of God. Our responsibility is, as an act of our will, to say yes to God’s word and His way. We have heard these words justification, righteousness, sanctification and consecration and for many of us they all seem to run together in their meaning, but they are all different and all are part of the spiritual cycle of life. That is the process of us being transformed into the image of Christ.
Justification- God renders us just, innocent, free and in right standing with Himself based on the completed work of Jesus Christ. It is God’s act of forgiveness of our sin that justifies us and frees us from our rebellious state, because Jesus paid the price, for our sin debt with His blood and we are declared innocent.
Righteousness – Jesus made it possible for us to be in right standing before God, or in a right position with God and it is because of our faith in the completed work of Jesus. All who receive Jesus as their Saviour receive His payment for their sin debt and can stand before God, affirmed cleansed.
Sanctification – This is a continuous process of us being set apart from the old worldly nature, set apart from the common and purified or madeholy in specific areas of life. The Holy Spirit will identify areas ofwrong believing, wrong thinking or wrong doing those things that are unlike Jesus. He begins to help us strip away those things that do not look like Christ. By shedding the light of God’s truth on a matter, the Holy Spirit identifies the area that God wants us to transform. When we agree with God’s truth, and make a conscious decision to line up with His word, we ask God to change us to help us look like Christ. Then we begin to be set apart in that area. By the power of the Holy Spirit, God exchanges His strength for our weakness. As we submit to God in these areas and confess our inabilities we then ask God for His ability and He sanctifies us.
Consecrate – The Holy Spirit directs us in the areas that God is sanctifying until we make a decision to dedicate this area of our life to God. We must make the decision and commitment to be set apart from the world’s ways and to be made clean in this area. It is when we devote and dedicate this area to God that He helps us in this area to fulfill our purpose, the matter is set. As a jeweler sets a gemstone in a ring, he secures and fastens it, to keep it from moving or being lost. In this way we choose to separate and consecrate those areas that God has brought us out and freed us from, for our good and His glory.
1 Corinthians 1:27-30
But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption
This process begins with God’s forgiveness of sin through the blood of Christ. The wages of sin is death and all have sinned, therefore there all who are born in this world will have a payment of death. The question is who will pay this debt? God has made available to everyone a payment through the death of Jesus. He has provided justification and forgiveness to everyone who will believe and have faith in Jesus. This is the Sovereign call of God to everyone to change their way of thinking and living and be saved. God preordained Jesus to be the Saviour of the world, even before mankind fell into sin. God foreknew mankind could not live a perfect life in their own strength.
Our will or our conscious decision to believe God above all else is our responsibility, this is faith, believing God. To believe what God says on a matter above what the world may say, our friends say or even our family. It is our choice to believe God and not this fallen world’s system, this is the act of faith. The Bible says, it is God who justifies and Jesus has become our righteousness, our holiness and our redemption. So our best efforts to come to God based on our own efforts or the right things we have done are as filthy rags in His sight, but when we come by faith, in the completed work of Jesus we stand justified.
Romans 3:22-26 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement,through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
God’s love for us is the reason He sent Jesus to pay the debt we could not, so we could stand justified, innocent through the completed work of Christ His Son. God places us in right standing with Him, when we accept by faith, the work of Christ. It is right believing and the right understanding that God’s word is the absolute truth that transforms our actions into right living.
Sanctification begins when we respond to the call of God to come out from among this fallen world’s system and be separate from that old way of thinking and living. Sanctification is to be set apart from the old ways of this dark and perverse world system into the new kingdom of God.
Consecration comes when we separate truth from the lies we had beentold and make a choice to set that truth firmly, securely and tightly in place in our lives. It is our decision to become consecrated on the matterjust as a cement mason, sets concrete for his building; it is set tightly in place and unmovable. When we consecrate a matter, the pressure of life may come against it but, there is no debate, no second thoughts, because that decision has been made and the matter is secure.
It is when we renew our minds with the word of God’s truth that we will be transformed from that fallen lifestyle into living with the principles of the kingdom of God. Once we are set apart from our old mindsets and habits we are able to operate victoriously in our new life of righteousness, sanctification and justification in the new kingdom of God that we have been called.