Salvation is complete; it involves justification, sanctification, and glorification. By grace, through faith, God justifies believers in an instantaneous act. That is to say, Christ died for His people in order that the penalty for their sins might be paid and His righteousness might be counted to them. They are declared just before God when they believe. Once justified, Christ saves them from the power of their sins through the lifelong process of sanctification. In sanctification, Christians are made more and more like Jesus Christ. But a lifelong process never ends, and the final goal is never reached until death. At death, Christians are glorified; they are then made completely perfect for the first time.
Every other religion in the world is the religion of “do,” but …Christianity alone is the religion of “done.”
The Day of Atonement by Mark Dever and Michael Lawrence taken from It Is Well, by Mark Dever and Michael Lawrence, copyright 2010, Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton Illinois 60187, www.crosswaybooks.org, page 46.
[God saved us] without breaking the law of justice or canceling its demands. What He did in love was to satisfy its demands. The demands of justice were not ignored or canceled. They were fully satisfied. And the only way that God could do that was by having His spotless Son take the punishment that was due to us. What we see here is an amazing love. He did for us what we could not do for ourselves. We call this grace, the result of which is salvation.
The Cross Challenges Humanistic Self-Sufficiency by Ajith Fernando taken from The Supremacy of Christ by Ajith Fernando, copyright 1995, Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton Illinois 60187, www.crosswaybooks.org, p. 143.
Consider your state. You are a pardoned sinner, not under the law but under grace, freely, fully saved from the guilt of all your sins. There is none to condemn, God having justified you. He sees you in His Son, washed you in His blood, clothed you in His righteousness, and He embraces Him and you, the head and the members, with the same affection.
In Romans 3:23 we read, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Everyone experiences guilt because everyone is guilty of violating God’s law. James 2:10 says, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.” Everyone deserves God’s just condemnation in hell. But God in His love and mercy sent us a Redeemer. He sent us One that would take our sins upon Himself. He sent us Jesus Christ. And after receiving our sins, the Father spent His wrath upon Him. The punishment for all our sins was received by Him. Thus with the penalty of sin now taken away for those in Christ, we can receive a full pardon for our sins. Remove our sins from God’s presence in Christ and naturally you remove the guilt as well.
It helps me to think of it this way. As a Christian, there are three stages of our salvation. In the past, we were saved from sin’s penalty. In the present, we are saved from sin’s power. And in the future, we will be saved from sin’s presence. Or, in the past – justification. In the present – sanctification. In the future – glorification. Or, we have been saved. We are being saved. And we will be saved.
If Jesus Christ made the complete atonement for our sin, how can we choose another option and believe it is a viable option in God’s eyes? How can we assume His work was incomplete and seek to supplement it with our own works? How can we in any way believe that we can merit our salvation in whole or part and take glory (to some degree) for what we have attained and thus rob Him of the complete glory that is due His name?