The Bible talks about salvation as having three dimensions: justification, sanctification, and glorification. Justification is the removal of the penalty of sin. Sanctification is the removal of the power of sin. Glorification is the removal of the presence of sin.
Often we talk about salvation as if it only is about justification. No one wants to experience the penalty of their sin. But God wants to do more than paying the penalty of your sin. He wants to remove it from your life so that you can experience true fulfillment.
In Philippians 3, Paul shows us these three Dimensions of Salvation:
Justification (Phil. 3:1-11)
Justification means God removes the penalty of sin. An easy way to remember this is that when you are justified, God sees you “Just as If” you’d never sinned. It is a legal term meaning that you have been given the legal standing of “not guilty.” In other words, we’re all failures from a spiritual standpoint; but Jesus’ work on the cross made available our access to his perfection.
Paul talks about this being the reason for our rejoicing. He warns against “the dogs” who would devour people by making them doubt this justification and living in fear that God might take back his love and forgiveness. He says that this justification wasn’t earned, but freely given. In fact, all the work he could have brought to God as “payment” was considered garbage compared to what Jesus had given as payment.
Sanctification (Phil. 3:12-14)
Sanctification means God removes the power of sin. Even though we’ve been completely forgiven, we still struggle with old ways and fleshly desires. In fact, 1 John tells us that anyone who says he is without sin is actually a liar and the truth is not in him. So while we are completely saved when we place our faith in Jesus, we’re still being transformed into the image of our Savior. So every day of our life in Christ, God is continuing to save us from the heartache of our sin.
Glorification (Phil. 3:15-21)
Glorifiation means God removes the presence of sin. Glorification is the completion, the consummation, the perfection, the full realization of salvation. Philippians 3:21 sums this concept up by saying, “He will transform the body of our humble condition into the likeness of his glorious body, by the power that enables him to subject everything to himself.” In a sense, glorification is the completion of sanctification!
We have been saved form judgment when we trusted Jesus (justification). We are being saved from sin as we allow the Holy Spirit to change us from the inside out (sanctification). And one day, we’ll be completely saved from the sin as we enter into God’s presence (glorification).
• What are the three dimensions of Salvation?
• How do we sometimes present an incomplete view of salvation to people?
• How do you encourage a person to pursue sanctification?