It is God’s will that you should be sanctified. 1 Thessalonians 4:3 (NIV)
It is helpful to think about justification and sanctification like the heat and light of the sun. The sun’s heat is different than the sun’s light. The two can be distinguished, but they are always found together.
You cannot have the sun’s heat without the sun’s light. And you cannot have justification without sanctification. They belong together as the twin blessings of the gospel. They are both found in Christ, and you cannot receive one without the other.
That’s the point of 1 Corinthians 1:30, Christ is our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Righteousness, holiness, and redemption always go together, because they are found in Christ. If you embrace Christ as the Savior who justifies you, you are at the same time embracing the Lord who sanctifies you. You cannot tear Christ into pieces.
The Bible teaches that “without holiness no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). This is true—not because we are saved by being holy, but because the pursuit of holiness is evidence that we are in Christ who justifies us by His blood.
John Owen says that no idea is more foolish than this—that a person who is not sanctified, not made holy in this life should afterwards be taken into the blessedness that consists in the enjoyment of God. Such a person cannot enjoy God, nor would God be a reward to them. Holiness is perfected in heaven, but it is always begun in this world.
Does Hebrews 12:14 sound like law (a demand) or gospel (good news) to you? Why?