We could write thousands of words on this (and we have), but perhaps a concise summary would be more helpful.
Salvation is the most important of Christian doctrines, and we must understand all three parts–justification (includes imputation), sanctification, and glorification. It’s easy to remember these doctrines by understanding the progression of salvation from justification to sanctification to glorification.
Justification, Sanctification, and Glorification
- Justification saves us from the penalty of sin.
- Sanctification separates us from the power of sin.
- Glorification removes us from the presence of sin.
The Three Tenses of Salvation
- Past Tense—Justification: we have been saved from the penalty of sin.
- Present Tense—Sanctification: we are being saved from the power of sin.
- Future Tense—Glorification: we will be saved from the presence of sin.
Past and Present Works of Salvation
Justification is what Christ did for us.
Sanctification is what the Spirit is doing in us.
Justification declares the sinner righteous.
Sanctification makes the sinner righteous.
Justification removes the guilt and penalty of sin.
Sanctification removes the growth and the power of sin.
Justification is of God and by God alone.
Sanctification is of God and by God, but we also participate.
God has regenerated our souls, and we are to renew our minds daily (Rom 12:1) and choose to follow His will and way.
God has given us His Holy Spirit to teach and guide us in the ways of righteousness, to comfort us in times of despair, to assurance of our finished justification, and to give us hope and joy in our promised sanctification.
1 Pet 3:15 Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man who asks you for a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear:
Live your life walking in the Spirit and bringing glory and honor to the One who lived, died, and rose for you. Let His Spirit direct your thoughts, influence your words, and guide your deeds.
Jude 1:24-25 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and for ever. Amen.
Future Work of Salvation
So we understand Justification and Sanctification. What about Glorification?
Glorification is future, and it will be amazing. It takes place in part when we leave our sinful flesh. At death, our body goes into the grave. Our soul and spirit go to be with the Lord in glory (2 Corinthians 5:8). When Jesus returns for His Bride, in what we call the Rapture of the Church (Read: What is the Rapture?), our bodies will be resurrected to glory (Philippians 3:21). What a glorious day that will be!