Today, one of the errors permeating evangelical churches is the confusion of justification and sanctification. Justification is the declaration that one is righteous before God because of Jesus’ death and resurrection for his sins. It is a one-time act on God’s part, centering around the sacrifice of the cross. Sanctification is an on-going process, lasting throughout a believer’s life.
Justification must not be confused with sanctification: the former is solely the act of God, the latter the work of the Spirit, enabling the believer to obey. As Jesus said,
If you love Me, keep My commandments.
One does not become sanctified by “contemplating” the cross. He grows by grace as he does the will of the One Who called him. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise—the Bible is clear:
Turn away from evil and do what is good;
Seek peace and pursue it (Psalm 34: 14).
Those commands all call for action. Sanctification is the fruit of the Spirit!