Posted by: Ascentury | Sunday, 11 January 2009

Excerpt on justification and sanctification

This is a continuation of the same ideas in my previous post; again, the final version will probably appear very different from this.

By reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory; •for by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified (Moses 6:59-60).

The context of the Fall which is the presupposition of this world enables the Atonement to redeem it.

The redemption which is made for you is brought to pass the resurrection from the dead. •And the spirit and the body are the soul of man. •And the resurrection from the dead is the redemption of the soul. •And the redemption of the soul is through him that quickeneth all things, in whose bosom it is decreed that the poor and the meek of the earth shall inherit it. •Therefore, it must needs be sanctified from all unrighteousness, that it may be prepared for the celestial glory (D&C 88:14-18).

Obedience to the commandments is integral to repentance, not because it effects an “atonement” or can cleanse sin (being still under the curse of the broken law), but because it permits remission of sins to take place (D&C 76:51-53; Moroni 8:25). The redemptive Atonement justifies the repentant; the quickening Atonement sanctifies her.

Unto every kingdom is given a law; and unto every law there are certain bounds also and conditions. •All beings who abide not in those conditions are not justified (D&C 88:38-39).

Justification is to be made straight, or upright. The Atonement redeems the individual, bringing us from under transgression and into the death ordained. Justification has been cast down previously in this essay as an inadequate and futile action. Now, we arrive at the double thrust of the sword: justification is not to justify our acts before God, but our selves (Alma 41:15). It is not an act of our part towards God, but of His part towards us, and any other theological usage of this word must fail before this.

Sanctification is to be made holy. The Atonement quickens the repentant person, bringing him through the death ordained and into the new life. As a parable of the individual child of God’s sanctification, of the earth it is written that,

The earth abideth the law of a celestial kingdom, for it filleth the measure of its creation, and transgresseth not the law—•wherefore, it shall be sanctified; yea, notwithstanding it shall die, it shall be quickened again, and shall abide the power by which it is quickened (D&C 88:25-26).

There is a redemption wrought, and there is a quickening wrought. As surely as the Fall underlies all of Creation, so too does the Atonement. The end result is that, “the sanctified … shall not any more see death” (D&C 88:116). With the obstructing elements of death finally removed, “your whole bodies shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in you; and that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things” (D&C 88:67; see also D&C 130:9).



  1. […] Confluence now constitutes the bulk of my site traffic.) The two earlier posts Excerpt on faith and Excerpt on justification and sanctification are early versions of that work, which is an exploration of nihilism and nihility in light of the […]

  2. THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH for this incredible Site. I have had chronic migraines for 13 years. On days like today I am resting and fighting the pain. What a blessing to be able to close my eyes and listen to our beloved Neal A. Maxwell teach and reteach the doctrine of The Plan of Salvation. His voice brings tears to my eyes and the truths dry my tears. Thank you for sharing with all those ‘who have ears to hear’.

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