One of the significant dangers lurking in many of today’s “reader friendly” translations is the “dumbing down” of the meaty vocabulary divinely placed in Scripture. Such rich, spiritually-weighty words as repentance, propitiation, justification, sanctification, et. al. have been watered down and robbed of their profundity.
After probing the horrific problem solved by the gospel (i.e., God’s holy wrath upon all human ungodliness and unrighteousness) in Romans 1:18-3:20, the inspired penman spends a sizable portion of the epistle exploring the gospel’s twofold solution to the problem of sin—justification (Romans 3:21-5:21) and sanctification (Romans 6:1-8:39).
What precisely is justification? What exactly is sanctification? Because all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), these are not insignificant or theoretical questions.
Justification is God’s way of righteously removing the guilt and condemnation of your past sins from His book of remembrance. Spoiler alert: Through the gospel of Christ, God is able to justify you freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:24). Only God could conceive and implement a plan whereby He could be just in fully punishing every sin to the fullest extent demanded by His holy character and wrath and also be the justifier of everyone who responds to the gospel in obedient faith (Romans 3:27).
Sanctification is the state and process whereby God seeks to eradicate the practice of sin in your life so that you can remain in sweet fellowship with Him in this life and in the life to come.
An accurate understanding of justification and sanctification is essential to a better comprehension and greater appreciation of the gospel’s power of salvation from sin.