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Justification and Sanctification: Similarities

To his classic work, Holiness, J. C. Ryle appends a few “Extracts from Old Writers.” The following is from the seventeenth century Puritan Robert Traill, on how justification and sanctification are the same (how they differ will follow in another post).


1st. They are like one another as they are the same in their author; it is God that justifieth, and it is God that sanctifies. ‘Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? it is God that justifieth’ (Rom. 8:33). I am the Lord that doth sanctify you, is a common word in the Old Testament (Ex. 31:13; Lev. 20:8).

2ndly. They are alike and the same in their rise, being both of free grace; justification is an act of free grace, and sanctification is the same. ‘Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy, He saved us by the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost’ (Tit. 3:5). They are both of grace.

3rdly. They are alike in that they are both towards the same persons. Never a man is justified but he is also sanctified; and never a man is sanctified but he is also justified; all the elect of God, all the redeemed, have both these blessings passing upon them.

4thly. They are alike as to the time, they are the same in time. It is a hard matter for us to talk or think of time when we are speaking of the works of God: these saving works of His are always done at the same time; a man is not justified before he is sanctified, though it may be conceived so in order of nature, yet at the same time the same grace works both. ‘Such were some of you,’ saith the Apostle, ‘but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God’ (1 Cor. 6:11).

5thly. They are the same as to the operation of them by the same means, that is, by the Word of God: we are justified by the Word, sentencing us to eternal life by the promise; and we are also sanctified by the power of the same Word. ‘Now ye are clean,’ saith our Lord, ‘through the Word that I have spoken unto you’ (John 15:3). ‘That He might sanctify and cleanse His Church,’ saith the Apostle, ‘with the washing of water by the Word’ (Eph. 5:26).

6th and lastly. They are the same as to their equal necessity to eternal life. I do not say as to their equal order, but as to their equal necessity: that is, as it is determined that no man who is not justified shall be saved, so it is determined that no man who is not sanctified shall be saved: no unjustified man can be saved, and no unsanctified man can be saved. They are of equal necessity in order to the possessing of eternal life.

—Robert Trail, cited in J. C. Ryle, Holiness (Banner of Truth, 2014), 440–441. [Source: Traill’s Sermons, upon 1 Pet. i. 1–3, vol. 4, p. 71. Edinburgh edition of Traill’s Works. 1810.]

Posted 2017·04·05 by David Kjos
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