Read Philippians 2:12-13
Baptism initiates a lifelong process. The solid line in Figure 1 represents the holy standard God holds for you. The broken line below it represents your life without Christ, far below God's standard (Romans 3:23).
Your broken‐line life was bridged to God's standard by the cross of Christ (Figure 2). Through Jesus, your life‐line is now solid. Christ justified you and made you holy. To be "justified" means you can say, “I’m ‘just‐if‐I'd’ never sinned before.” God now sees you as holy as Jesus Christ Himself (He is cross‐eyed about you!). Through Jesus, no matter what you've done or do, God sees you as perfect (2 Corinthians 5:21). Being a Christian is like being pregnant—either you are or you are not. There are no partly‐pregnant women and no maybe Christians.
Even though God sees you as perfect, your day‐to‐day life still falls short of the holiness Christ gave you. Some moments you will overcome many of life's temptations and others you will find yourself asking God for forgiveness over and over again (1 John 1:8‐9). The broken‐line in Figure 3 displays the process of ups‐and‐downs in your everyday experience. This process is called sanctification. Each day you are being made as holy in your experience as you already are in God's sight. Whether you are having an up‐day or a down‐day, never look at the broken‐line, or your daily experience, to know how much God loves you.
Look to the solid line, or God’s promise, given to you through the cross, for assurance that you are loved by God (Romans 7:24‐ 25). Consider the A in Figure 4 as a victory and the B as a failure. What temptation might you struggle against on an A‐day? What temptation might you struggle against on a B‐day? If you look at yourself on an A‐day, you may be tempted to think you are a pretty amazing Christ‐follower and forget your need for God's grace (1 Corinthians 10:12). On a B‐day, you may doubt whether or not God can accept a "sinner" like you – similarly forgetting the wonder of God's grace (Romans 5:8). Never look at yourself to measure whether God loves you and accepts you. Always look to what Jesus has given you through the cross for assurance of your standing with God. Jesus is your only solid life‐line (Galatians 2:20‐21).
Justification is a onetime event—when you are 100% saved (1 Peter 3:18)—ALREADY. Sanctification is the result of being justified and is a life‐long process of working out the holiness God has worked into you through Jesus, but you don’t live it out perfectly—NOT YET. Eventually, when Jesus comes back, or you die and go to heaven (whichever comes first), you will be glorified, illustrated by the sun in Figure 5 (1 Thessalonians 4:17; 1 John 3:2). You will no longer struggle with sin. Your broken‐line life will merge with the solid‐line given to you by God. You will experience perfection rather than only possess it by faith.