In this sermon, our founding pastor, W. Graham Smith, talks about the meaning of sanctification and justification. Here are some excerpts:

What is Sanctification?

“…The words “sanctify” and “sanctuary” come from the same Latin word “sanctus” which means “holy”…The most important thing in the life of a Christian is that he should glorify God by becoming holy even as God Himself is holy.

The word “holy” means “different”; it means “set apart.” “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.” The Sabbath day is “holy” because God commands us to make it “different” from the other days of the week, since this day is “set apart” as the weekly occasion for the worship of God and the special nurture and refreshment of our souls and bodies. A Christian is called to be “holy” — to be different from other people because he is “set apart”; he has committed himself to love and serve and obey the God Who created and redeemed him…”

The Difference Between Sanctification and Justification

“…Now let us define and contrast these two doctrines — “Justification” and “Sanctification.” The classic definitions of them, of course, are found in Questions 33 and 35 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism…”

“…So, you see, justification is an act of God’s free grace; whereas sanctification is the work of that same divine grace. Justification depends upon what Christ accomplished for us once and for all in the act of His dying on the Cross. It is complete and perfect. Sanctification, on the other hand, is what Christ accomplishes within us continually by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is a long process which lasts from the moment of our new birth until the moment we die…”


Graham has a lot more to say about this topic. If you would like to learn more, please download and read the attached transcript of the sermon, as the above excerpts do not even scratch the surface. If you would like to do a word search on the transcript, download the file, and then open the file with your web browser after downloading and use your browser’s find feature.


June 19, 1994

Titus 2:13-14

Rev. W. Graham Smith

Download Transcript (PDF)