Thursday, August 22, 2013

Justification vs. Sanctification

Happy Saint Filbert’s Day! August 22nd is the day that folks in Europe begin harvesting their filberts (hazelnuts). I have a contorted filbert tree in my front yard that measures just about 5 feet tall. It grows well enough – sending off long branches, but they “contort”, hence its name.

The twistings and turnings of this tree make for a very interesting sight, but not a lot of upward growth. My life seems to parallel this tree’s behavior. I twist and turn, I get off the “narrow path” of sanctification and my upward growth seems minimal at times.

This morning I found this tree had three branches that were growing nearly straight downward, two even touching the ground. Today I pruned them off while I was looking for nuts to harvest. This speaks to me about my own worldliness and right now I’m reflecting on what might be my two or three most egregious behaviors. What would the Lord have me be trying to prune in my own life?

My justification, pardon for sin, was secured, once and for all, over 30 years ago when I was born-again into Christ Jesus. However, my sanctification is a journey that was only begun that day, growing in holiness is a life-long process. All Christians are all like contorted filberts to some extent, twisting and turning, some days even touching the ugly earth from which we came. But prayerfully, on most days we strive to reach for the true Light shining above us and our eternal, heavenly home.

The bottom line is that the Holy Spirit who has justified and pardoned me before the Holy Lord God, is also the same Holy Spirit that indwells me to chart the course for my on-going sanctification and holiness. You simply cannot be pardoned and not also be striving for holiness. A great lie to the contrary has been propagated in many pulpits and for many years. But the Bible teaches Jesus Christ is both Savior and Lord; those whom He justifies, He also sanctifies.

Hebrews 12:14 Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.”


  1. Hi Barbara! How fun that you have a filbert tree, and can really relate to this saint.

    You are so right that being holy is a constant battle. But we can't win without the Lord. Yes, we are all contorted, but beautiful to the God who made us! Yay!

    Nice to see you here :)

    1. Hi Ceil, I was thinking I can really relate to this contorted tree and how fun it is that there’s a saint named for this... :-)