I shared these helpful memory devices this morning, and perhaps they will be helpful to you as well. Some of the terms theologians use can be somewhat confusing, perhaps just because the words look so big! But the nice thing about the big words, they come from much smaller root words.
In these instances, these are just a different way of stating the big words, to help you remember the importance of their definitions.
Justification = just-as-if I had never sinned. When your sins have been forgiven, you appear to God just as if you had never sinned, so you have been justified by your faith (see Romans 3:22-24).
Atonement = at one-ment with Jesus. Christ said that He was the way, the truth, and the life, and that no one could come into the Father’s presence except through Jesus. So atonement makes at one-ment with Jesus, which allows us to enter into God’s presence (see Romans 3:25).
Sanctification = saint-ification. The Holy Spirit begins a process in our lives where He is forming us into saints. Whereas justification and atonement are one-time events, sanctification is an ongoing process that is conforming us more and more into the image of Jesus (see 2 Thessalonians 2:13).
I hope this helps you understand and apply these terms.
February 11, 2021 at 6:01 am
[…] Second, we need to talk back to our old nature. After being adopted into God’s family, the Holy Spirit undertakes a process to conform us to the image of Jesus. This process is called sanctification, but I like to call it saint-ification. […]
May 3, 2021 at 6:03 am
[…] evidence—I would sum this up in the word sanctification (or as I like to remember it by saying “saint-ification”). This is the lifestyle change, the empowered living, and even the miraculous that cannot be […]
June 14, 2021 at 6:02 am
[…] from our sin by God we are alive. At that moment of salvation, we stand before Almighty God justified—just as if I’d never sinned. That is irrevocable: God will never go back on that, we will never slip away from His grace. But […]
July 5, 2021 at 6:03 am
[…] baptism is a one-time event, just as our justification (“just as if I’d never sinned”) is a one-time event. This looks back to what Jesus did on the […]
September 29, 2021 at 5:44 pm
Charles Spurgeon has some good insight for us on these theological terms:
November 11, 2021 at 6:02 am
[…] took your penalty, He paid the price for your sin! The moment you believe that, you are clothed in Christ’s righteousness. So now when the Holy God looks at you, He says, “You look like My Son. I love to bless My Son. I […]
December 4, 2021 at 5:47 pm
[…] if I try to be perfectly righteous on my own. But the death and resurrection of Jesus paid for my atonement—my “at one-ment” with God. And Jesus has also asked the Father to send me the Holy Spirit. He […]
April 11, 2022 at 7:52 pm
[…] as a pastor who teaches about the atonement and grace. I know that I will have to give account before God if the people who hear me teach about […]
April 11, 2022 at 8:04 pm
[…] Holy Spirit makes all of our lives a work-in-progress. This is what is called sanctification. That word really means to make a saint out of us (think of it as […]
April 25, 2022 at 6:01 am
[…] Remember on Good Friday I talked about what Jesus perfectly completed when He said, “It is finished!” It was an inside job. He came to change us at our core—we have been brought into at-onement with God and we stand in His presence just-as-if-I’d-never-si…. […]
May 2, 2022 at 6:02 am
[…] The process of sanctification (or as I like to remember it: “saint-ification”) isn’t a one-and-done work. It’s an ongoing work. The Father wants us to remain IN Jesus and bear fruit, so the Holy Spirit remains IN us to bring out that fruitfulness (see John 14:16-17, 20; John 15:1-7). […]
May 11, 2022 at 3:52 pm
[…] like to remember the definition of sanctification by saying it this way: saint-ification. Literally, the Holy Spirit is making us into […]
May 11, 2022 at 4:08 pm
[…] We can better understand that word by saying it “at one-ment.” We have been made one with Christ. You hear this in Jesus’ prayer for us in John 17, “I in them and You in Me, in order that they may become one and perfectly united, that the world may know and definitely recognize that You sent Me and that You have loved them even as You have loved Me.” […]
July 6, 2022 at 8:59 pm
[…] separation—the abyss—also comes the recognition that Jesus paid the price for our atonement (our at one-ment). Our souls can find their full satisfaction here and now if we will just turn from the thoughts […]
October 5, 2022 at 9:51 am
[…] There is a process whereby the Holy Spirit brings our Christ-likeness from us; it’s called sanctification (or as I like to say it, saint-ification). […]