Folks, I just wrote out the following for an individual, a sister in Christ who’s quite new to the faith, and thought it might be helpful to others as well:
Something that came to mind after our discussion last night is to make sure you understand the difference between justification (which happens in a moment, when we confess Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, believing in our heart that God raised Him from the dead) and sanctification (which is a process that occurs over the course of time).
Justification is what saves us, when our sins are washed away and we receive God’s free gift of everlasting life as well as the Holy Spirit who seals our redemption.
Whereas sanctification — which is likewise the working of the Holy Spirit within us — is what helps us, over time, to live holy, righteous lives as we grow in faith, learn who God is, what He has done / is doing / will always do for us, etc. As we better understand His holy and righteous ways, we are gradually moved to follow those ways, out of a proper love for Him and out of a genuine desire to live for Him as He would have us live.
If you already understand all the above, that’s good. But, if not, I want to make these things clear to you, so that you understand that none of us are sanctified in a moment when we come to Christ Jesus. Our justification/salvation is secure so long as we continue to abide in the faith, but our sanctification is a process that takes time, as God’s Spirit continues to work in us.
If you’ve not already come to Jesus Christ in faith and in truth, you can learn, via our Salvation page, why we all need salvation, what we are being saved from, and what we must do to receive God’s free gift of everlasting life. As we’re living in the long-prophesied last days, do not delay. The Bible tells us that now is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2), as tomorrow might be too late.