Q. I believe in justification being a one time thing. But people in my small group say you have to be sanctified also and that takes time. Could you please expand on what sanctification is and whether it’s something we do or God does. I would like to know how long sanctification takes and how do we know when it’s been completed enough to now feel confident that we’re going to make it to glorification.
A. To be justified is to be rendered righteous. It takes place when God applies the blood of Jesus to our sins and is what saves us.
The Greek word for “sanctification” can mean a number of things related to being set apart or dedicated to God. It comes from a word that means a holy one, a saint. It is something that begins happening after we’re saved, and therefore is not part of what saves us. From our perspective it’s a life long process of cooperation between us and the Holy Spirit as we follow His behavioral prompts and won’t be complete until we’re perfected in the rapture/resurrection. From the Lord’s perspective, it has already happened, because once we are saved He has chosen to see us as if we are a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17). Therefore everyone who is saved (justified) will also be glorified (Romans 8:29).