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NATHAN - What is your view of sanctification and justification?
JOEL - Sanctification to me means to be purified and separated from worldliness; overcomong the natural man and to be one with God.
Justification is what happens to someone who has made and kept covenents with God; has been sanctified; whose ordinances have been sealed by the holy spirit of promise and has become worthy or justified to obtain exaltation.
NATHAN - What is your church's view of sanctification?
JOEL - Joseph Smith taught that in being sanctified, man is not only forgiven of sin but cleansed from the effects of it so that he is made a pure and holy being.
It means a purification of, or a putting away from us, as individuals and as a community, everything that is evil, or that is not in accordance with the mind and will of our heavenly Father. Sanctification has also an eye to carrying forward, and perpetuating the work of the Most High God.
Brigham Young said:
"...it consists in overcoming every sin and bringing all into subjection to the law of Christ. God has placed in us a pure spirit; when this reigns predominant, without let or hindrance, and triumphs over the flesh and rules and governs and controls as the Lord controls the heavens and the earth, this I call the blessing of sanctification." (JD, I, p. 71.)
NATHAN - What is its relation, if any, to justification? Can you have sanctification without justification or vice versa?
JOEL - Because the two words have such similar definitions I don't believe you can have one without the other.
One can't be justified without being sanctified.
NATHAN - How is sanctification accomplished in the believer’s life?
JOEL - The means by which one becomes sanctified and justified are hard to define specifically if looking for definitions in the scriptures. It's probably a combination of things.
Moroni spoke of being sanctified by the shedding of the blood of Christ (see Moroni 10:33). And yet in several places the scriptures it speak of sins being remitted and of sanctification coming through the influence of the Holy Ghost (see 2 Nephi 31:17; Alma 5:54; 3 Nephi 27:19–20; D&C 84:23). This seeming contradiction is demonstrated when Alma speaks about the people of Melchizedek. He notes they were " sanctified and their garments were washed white through the blood of the Lamb." Then he says, "Now they . . . [were] sanctified by the Holy Ghost" (Alma 13:11–12).
The Doctrine and Covenants mentions neither the blood nor the Spirit but speaks of sanctification as being accomplished by law (see D&C 88:18–35, especially 21, 34). And other places in the Doctrine and Covenants command the Saints to sanctify themselves (see D&C 43:11, 16, D&C 88:68, D&C 74; D&C 133:4).
NATHAN - How is justification accomplished in the believer’s life?
JOEL - Adam was taught that "by the Spirit ye are justified" (Moses 6:60). The Apostle Paul teaches that we are justified by faith (see Romans 3:28; Romans 5:1; Galatians 2:16; Acts 13:38–39). Paul agrees with the scripture in Moses and says we are justified by the Spirit (see 1 Corinthians 6:11). And yet Paul specifically states "justified by his blood" (Romans 5:9). Both Lehi and Paul are equally specific in saying that by the law no person can be justified (see 2 Nephi 2:5; Romans 3:20; Galatians 2:16). But again we see the seeming contradiction, for just a few verses before Paul states that "by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified" (Romans 3:20). He just as emphatically states "for not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified" (Romans 2:13). Again it must be a combination of things.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie's definition of justification:
What then is the law of justification? It is simply this: "All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations" (D&C 132:7), in which men must abide to be saved and exalted, must be entered into and performed in righteousness so that the Holy Spirit can justify the candidate for salvation in what has been done (1 Nephi 16:2; Jacob 2:13–14; Alma 41:15; D&C 98; D&C 132:1, 62). An act that is justified by the Spirit is one that is sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise, or in other words, ratified and approved by the Holy Ghost. This law of justification is the provision the Lord has placed in the gospel to assure that no unrighteous performance will be binding on earth and in heaven, and that no person will add to his position or glory in the hereafter by gaining an unearned blessing. (Mormon Doctrine, 2d ed. 1976)
NATHAN - Is sanctification instantly complete or ongoing? Explain.
JOEL - I would think sanctification continues on at least until we are resurrected. By that time we will know that we will receive exaltation making the process of sanctification no longer necessary.
NATHAN - What are the signs, if any, of sanctification taking/taken place in a person's life?
JOEL - One who is sanctified obeys all the laws and principles of the gospel and has complete faith in God and is in complete submission to Him.
The doctrines of justification and sanctification are designed to make us more and more like God.
NATHAN - To what degree can we be sanctified in this present life?
JOEL - I think only God can be the judge of how sanctified we really are. One can go as far as having their calling and election be made sure.
President Brigham Young said:
"When the will, passions, and feelings of a person are perfectly submissive to God and His requirements, that person is sanctified. It is for my will to be swallowed up in the will of God, that will lead me into all good, and crown me ultimately with immortality and eternal lives. (Journal of Discourses 1854–86, 2:123)