Let me tell you about a Christian woman in her early thirties. In fact, let me start by telling you about her grandfather…
When she was a little girl, she was amazed that he was able to make his finger come off and miraculously stick it back on again. And they had snail-races in his back garden. It was rare for her to leave him without his giving her a five-pound note to spend on chocolate.
One of her happiest memories of her grandfather was when she was a teenager, and she was feeling down in the dumps, and her granddad told her “cheer up, you are so much worse than you think. But you are so much more loved than you could ever imagine.”
At one and the same time her granddad managed to make her feel both completely hopeless but utterly hopeful too. And even though her grandad died when she was twelve, the longer she went in her Christian life, the more she realised that her granddad was right…
She realised that she really was—by nature—a great sinner, and that she really needed to be forgiven. But also, she got to know more and more of what the Lord Jesus had done for her and the picture just kept getting bigger and bigger.
And then, when she was in her twenties that—as she listened to her pastor one Sunday morning talking about that wonderful word ‘repentance’ —she came on leaps and bounds in her Christian life. And then later that summer, as she listened to her mum telling her that she needed to keep on trusting Jesus, then she became much more sure that she had been forgiven, and that God the Father really did love her, and that he really was no longer angry with her, and that the blood of Jesus really did make her beautiful in the sight of God the Father.
Now, all through her 20s she had some very high highlights, but also some very low lowlights, and yet she really was—when she was thinking straight—at different points in the week, but especially every Lord’s Day, gloriously thrilled by the truth of the gospel.
And yet there is still so much more for her to see.
What this Christian woman—who is now in her 30s—still needs to realise is that there is even more for her to enjoy. What she hasn’t yet realised is that one thing that has happened to her that she needs to learn more and more about—what the Lord has done for her—it’s called justification. She knows that word, but she couldn’t tell you what it means. In fact, most people in her church couldn’t really tell you what it means.
And then, what she also needs now to realise is that having been justified, the Lord is doing something else in her, something different to justification, there’s a process, and it’s called sanctification.
If she didn’t know much about justification, she knows next to nothing about sanctification.
If you only learn two new words this week, make it these two words: justification and sanctification. And learn what they mean.