“And such were some of you—but you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
~ 1 Cor 6:11
Justification and sanctification are distinct blessings. The first springs out of, and is connected with, the finished work of the Son of God; the other springs out of, and is connected with, the work of the Holy Spirit on the soul. Sin has defiled our persons externally, as well as polluted our souls internally. We cannot, therefore, stand before God unless washed in the blood of the Lamb, and clothed in his spotless righteousness. This righteousness forms our title to heaven, as holiness constitutes our fitness. The former is our wedding robe, the latter our spiritual qualification. The hymn well draws this distinction ~
“Tis he adorned my naked soul,
And made salvation mine;
Upon a poor, polluted worm
He makes his graces shine.
And, lest the shadow of a spot
Should on my soul be found,
He took the robe the Savior wrought,
And cast it all around.
The Spirit wrought my faith, and love,
And hope, and every grace;
But Jesus spent his life to work
The robe of righteousness.”
Without these two qualifications, what entrance could there be into heaven, or what happiness there, could entrance be gained? For consider not only the infinite purity and holiness of God, but the blazing splendor of his immediate presence, the piercing ray of his deep-searching eye. Who or what can live in his presence but what is absolutely perfect without and within? But this the Church could not be, unless she were washed in the blood and clothed in the righteousness of God’s dear Son, and perfectly sanctified by the operations and indwelling of his Spirit. We therefore read—“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:25-27).