Most Christians know that the Bible teaching they are saved by grace, through faith.Yet there are countless Christian who do not realize that God's desire and will for us is to continue to relate to Him on the basis of grace alone. Instead, they get trapped into a legalistic, performance-based relationship that leaves them disillusioned and frustrated.
We have access to more teaching and preaching than any other church in history -- but our knowledge has outstripped our ability. If we are honest, most of us must admit that we’re not applying what we’ve learned. We’re not living up to God’s expectations. We’re striving too much. And our righteousness is falling short of the mark.
The Bible constantly declares that all humanity is imprisoned not only under the penalty for sin-death-but also under the power of sin-enslavement. We suffer both the penalty and the power. That is, we human beings are unable to extradite ourselves from sin. Sin has power over us. Our imprisonment is effective because it leaves us with only one alternative: If we want to be forgiven and freed from the penalty and the power of sin, we must accept God's mercy.
The grace of God is essentially the gift of righteousness -- right standing before God -- and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Not only are these gifts, but they are also unmerited gifts.
Justification, as it applies to what God has done for us in Christ, is simply this: an act of God whereby the believer in Jesus Christ is declared absolutely righteous and acceptable before God through the shed blood of Jesus.
There is so much teaching out there that either asserts or implies that if you are not sanctified you cannot continue to be justified! The Bible teaches the exact opposite -- that without justification you can never be sanctified.
Excerpt from the book Grace Plus Nothing, by Jeff Harkin