Christians rest on Jesus not only for justification, but also for sanctification. Both are blood bought. Both are certain.
In our fight against sin, do we focus our attention on Christ, or do we focus our attention on ourselves? It’s a very tangible question today from a listener. “Pastor John, hello. My name is Matthew, a Christian college student in Colorado. I just listened to the recent episode ‘Fight Sin Like a Victor, Not a Victim,’ and it brought up a question for me that I’ve been struggling with for the past few years. In that episode you say (and I’m paraphrasing) that having the verdict of ‘not guilty’ on the basis of Christ’s sacrifice on my behalf is the key to overcoming sin. From books like James and 1 John, I also see that obedience to God is the necessary evidence that we have saving faith. There is a great confusion for me with these two truths. This confusion keeps me from joy and gets my eyes on myself instead of Christ.
“The following question is the source of my confusion: How can I rest in being justified if I need obedience as the evidence to truly know that I am justified? In other words, how can I rest in the verdict of ‘not guilty’ if in reality the verdict could be ‘guilty’ unless I see obedience in my life? This circular reasoning inevitably puts the focus back on myself instead of Christ, the opposite of what it is intended to do. I am almost sure I am thinking about this the wrong way. Pastor John, would you please help me see how I’m misapplying these truths?”
Read or listen to this interview at our website: https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/how-can-i-fight-sin-without-losing-sight-of-christ
Find other recent and popular Ask Pastor John episodes: https://www.desiringgod.org/ask-pastor-john