Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Justification and Sanctification


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Justification is the means whereby we appropriate the saving act of God in the past, and sanctification the promise of God’s activity in the present and future. Justification secured our entrance into fellowship and communion with Christ through the unique and final event of his death, and sanctification keeps us in that fellowship in Christ. Justification is primarily concerned with the relation between man and the law of God, sanctification with the Christian’s separation from the world until the second coming of Christ. Justification makes the individual a member of the Church whereas sanctification preserves the Church with all its members. Justification enables the believer to break away from his sinful past; sanctification enables him to abide in Christ, to persevere in faith and to grow in love. We may perhaps think of justification and sanctification as bearing the same relation to each other as creation and preservation. Justification is the new creation of the new man, and sanctification his preservation until the day of Jesus Christ.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship, pg. 277-278


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