This is part of a series of kids talks I’m doing in the morning service at Banstead Community Church based on the New City Catechism.
Big Question #26 – What do justification and sanctification mean? [NCC Q32]
Powerpoint Pictures: Baby; Adult; Dinner; Breakfast; Kick Off – Ball on centre circle; Full time – Whistle or Shaking Hands; Lightning; Windows on House
Which comes first? Which of these two things happens first?
Being a baby or being an adult? Being a baby. You have to be a baby before you become an adult.
Dinner or breakfast? Breakfast. We usually eat breakfast in the morning and dinner in the evening.
Kick off or full time in a football match? Kick off. A football match begin with kick off and ends with the full time whistle.
Thunder or lightning? Actually they both happen at the same time, although we see the lightning first then hear the thunder.
The windows on a house or the walls of the house? It is the walls. Without the walls there will be nowhere for the windows to be put.
Justification or sanctification?
You might not be sure. They are both long words and you don’t know what they mean.
Well, our next big question is all about what those two long words mean, and once we know what they mean, we’ll be able to work out which comes first.
Let’s look at this big question now.
Q: What do justification and sanctification mean?
Justification and sanctification are two wonderful gifts that God gives to people.
In 1 Peter 1:1-2 we are reminded that those whom God the Father chooses He justifies by His Son Jesus, and He sanctifies by His Holy Spirit. “To those chosen… according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient and to be sprinkled with the blood of Jesus Christ [which is justification].”
Justification is what happens when someone becomes a Christian.
When someone trusts in Jesus, God forgives their sins because He took on the cross the punishment they deserved and gave them His perfection, so that now, when God looks at them, He no longer sees someone who is guilty but who is righteous. He no longer declares that they are guilty and deserve to be punished in hell but not guilty and welcome in heaven.
But even though God says they are not guilty, that doesn’t mean that the Christian is perfect like Jesus.
And this is why sanctification is important.
Sanctification is the process of becoming more like Jesus.
As well as forgiving sin, Jesus gives to those who believe in Him, the Holy Spirit, who changes people so they are more like Jesus. So they become more righteous in how they live their lives.
Justification comes first, sanctification comes second.
Because if sanctification comes before justification then people would be trying to work their way into heaven by being good rather than relying on Jesus to make them righteous.
Back to our question then. What’s the answer.
What do justification and sanctification mean?
Justification means our declared righteousness before God. Sanctification means our gradual, growing righteousness.
Why don’t we say the question and answer out loud together to help us remember this.
What do justification and sanctification mean? Justification means our declared righteousness before God. Sanctification means our gradual, growing righteousness.