21 September 2008

Justification and Sanctification, Part 1

This is the first of a few posts about justification and sanctification. I decided to break my essays up into multiple posts in order to make them more digestible in one sitting.

"For by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified" (Moses 6:60). The process of sanctification is long but straightforward. First, we must exercise faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and repent. In order to keep all the commandments we must receive the ordinance of baptism. After baptism we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, which justifies, or makes us guiltless. Once we have entered into the way we must continue in it: "For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified" (Romans 2:13). Lastly, through the blood of Christ, through the grace of God, the Atonement, we are sanctified.

What does sanctification mean? In order to understand sanctification, I think we need to understand justification first. Justification is becoming guiltless, or blameless before God. We use the word justify often. Sometimes when we feel attacked or defensive, we try to justify our actions or words. When we are asked to justify an answer on a test, for example, we back the answer up with supporting material or in math, we show all the steps to solving the problem. We justify things when we are building; we bring materials into alignment. In typesetting, text can be justified (or, aligned) in different ways. That's the essence of what justification is - bringing things into alignment. When we are justified by the Spirit, we are brought back into alignment with God. The presence of the Spirit makes us right with the Lord, it helps us remain aligned and focused on the path that leads to eternal life. The Spirit allows the needle of our spiritual compasses to point back north. It allows our Liahonas to work and point the way to the Promised Land.

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