Summary: There are those who claim we must be sanctified, that is holy, before we can be justified. They claim universal holiness or obedience must precede justification.
There are those who claim we must be sanctified, that is holy, before we can be justified. They claim
universal holiness or obedience must precede justification. Unless they mean that justification at the last day, the claim is not only impossible it is contradictory. It is not a believer in Christ but the non-believer that needs to be justified. God does not justify the godly, but the ungodly; those that are holy but the unholy. The good Shepherd does not seek and save those that are in His flock but those which are lost and without a shepherd. He pardons those who need His pardoning mercy. He saves from the guilt of
sin, and, at the same time, from the power of sin, sinners of every kind, of every degree, men who, till
then, were altogether ungodly; in whom the love of the Father was not; and, consequently, in whom dwelt no good thing, but evil, pride, anger, love of the world, the genuine fruits of the carnal mind which is enmity against God. These are the ones that need a Physician.
A person, before he/she is justified, may feed the hungry, clothe the naked, do good works, do what is
good and profitable to men. But it does not mean that they are good in themselves, or good in the sight of God. All truly good works follow after justification and they are good and acceptable to God in Christ, because they spring out of a true and living faith. All works done before justification are not good, in the Christian sense, because they are not based on faith in Jesus Christ, although they may be founded on some kind of faith in God. They may be done because God willed and commanded them to be done, but strange as it may seem to some people they have the nature of sin.
Those who doubt this have not considered the reason why no works done before justification can be truly and properly good. The argument is, no works are good, which are not done as God has willed and commanded them to be done. Works done before justification are not done as God has willed and commanded them to be done, but according to the will of man. Therefore, no works done before justification are good. God has willed and commanded that all our works should be done in charity; in love. In that love to God that produces love to all mankind. But none of our works can be done in this love, while the love of the Father is not in us; and this love can not be in us till we receive the "Spirit of Adoption, crying in our hearts, Abba, Father."
It is important we understand the terms by which we are justified. We are justified through faith in Him
that justifies the ungodly. Paul told the Romans, “the one who does not work, but believes in Him who
justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness.” He that believes is not condemned but has passed from death to life. For the righteousness, or mercy, of God is by faith in Jesus Christ to all and
upon all that believe. Therefore we are justified by faith without the deeds of the law; without previous
obedience to the moral law, which we could not, till now, perform.