What are Justification, Adoption and Sanctification?

What is justification?1

Justification is an act of God’s free grace (Romans 3:24), wherein he pardoneth all our sins (Romans 4:6-8; 2 Corinthians 5:19), and accepteth us as righteous in his sight (2 Corinthians 5:21), only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us (Romans 4:6, 11; 5:19), and received by faith alone (Galatians 2:16; Philippians 3:9).

What is adoption?2

Adoption is an act of God’s free grace (1 John 3:1), whereby we are received into the number, and have a right to all the privileges, of the sons of God (John 1:12; Romans 8:17).

What is sanctification?3

Sanctification is the work of God’s free grace (Ezekiel 36:27; Philippians 2:13; 2 Thessalonians 2:13), whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God (2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 4:23-24; 1 Thessalonians 5:23), and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness (Ezekiel 36:25-27; Romans 6:4, 6, 12-14; 2 Corinthians 7:1; 1 Peter 2:24).

What are the benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification?4

The benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification, are, assurance of God’s love (Romans 5:5), peace of conscience (Romans 5:1), joy in the Holy Ghost (Romans 14:17), increase of grace (2 Peter 3:18), and perseverance therein to the end (Philippians 1:6; 1 Peter 1:5).


  1. Westminster Shorter Catechism (1647), Question 33.
  2. Westminster Shorter Catechism (1647), Question 34.
  3. Westminster Shorter Catechism (1647), Question 35.
  4. Westminster Shorter Catechism (1647), Question 36.

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