Friday, July 14, 2017

Justification ≠ Salvation

". . . (by grace you have been saved)" Ephesians 2:5

"For by grace you have been saved . . ." Ephesians 2:8

Have you ever noticed how there are no verses in Scripture that say we are saved by faith? Why do you think that is? Do not make the mistake of confusing justification with salvation. They are not the same thing. Justification is a part of salvation, as are sanctification and glorification, but justification is not salvation. Justification is to declare judicially that one is in harmony with the law and free from condemnation due to sin. Justification is the opposite of condemnation, as witnessed from Romans 8:33-34a: "Who will bring a charge against God's elect [those whom God has chosen]? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns?" Justification is to declare one righteous.

Salvation is the divine act of delivering an individual from the power and curse of sin and restoring that individual to fellowship with God. Salvation encompasses justification, sanctification, and glorification; everything from the moment God grants us faith so that we will believe until He returns and bids us to enter the kingdom prepared for us. Salvation consists of various aspects: repentance, conversion, regeneration, union with Christ, justification, adoption, sanctification, perseverance, and glorification. None of these equals salvation by themselves, but all of them are part of salvation. 

Unfortunately, those who wield the false "proof texts" for sola fide tend to treat those texts as if they equate the whole of salvation. Those "proof texts" consist of legal speech. They pertain to justification as opposed to condemnation, which is what we deserve. If you attempt to replace "justification" in these verses with "salvation," you are guilty of creating a false doctrine and another gospel. Justification is a part of salvation; it does not equal salvation. Do not confuse the two!

I think that because of these people's false belief in sola fide, they must view these passages as the whole of salvation in order to escape having to undergo sanctification. There are many who bear no fruit whatsoever of salvation, yet will argue for their supposed faith. They will argue that anything beyond faith alone is legalism and works righteousness. Dispensationalists treat repentance in this way, despite repentance being a requirement of salvation. Forcing those "proof text" passages to mean we are saved by faith alone eliminates repentance, sanctification, etc.

You cannot be justified without repentance and without sanctification! In order to be judicially declared in harmony with the law and free from condemnation due to sin, one needs to repent of their former ways and to be sanctified from them. Without all of this, there can be no salvation! God will not grant salvation to a man who is unrepentant of his sinful ways and who will not change from those ways. Unfortunately, the false belief that nothing is required for salvation is becoming rampant throughout the present-day church.

Just to be clear (for the willfully ignorant), repentance and sanctification are not means by which we can earn our salvation. If one is attempting to earn salvation from God by repentance, it is not godly repentance. If one is attempting to earn salvation from God by sanctification, it is merely behavioural modification. God is not fooled. You can play all the games you want and you will still find yourself in Hell for all eternity. If you want salvation, pursue the Lord until He grants it to you. Godly repentance is granted from the Lord, and sanctification is carried out by the Holy Spirit. If one argues that God has not granted him repentance and sanctification, then God has not granted him salvation either.