Sanctification and Judgment Day
Sanctification is that inward spiritual work which Jesus Christ works in a man by the Holy Spirit, when He calls him to be a true believer, separates him from his natural love of sin and the world, puts a new principle in his heart, and makes him practically godly in life.
Sanctification will be necessary as a witness to our character in the great day of judgment. It will be useless to plead we believed in Christ unless our faith had some sanctifying effect in our lives.
Evidence will be the one thing wanted when the Great White Throne is set, when the books are opened, and the dead are arraigned before the bar of God. Without some evidence that our faith in Christ was genuine, we shall only rise again to be condemned. The question will not be what we professed but how we lived and what we did.
He that supposes works are of no importance, because they cannot justify us, is a very ignorant Christian. Unless he opens his eyes, he will find that if he comes to the bar of God without some evidence of grace, he had better never have been born. Sanctification is also necessary to prepare us for heaven. Most men hope to go to heaven when they die. Few consider whether they would enjoy heaven if they got there. To be happy in heaven, we must somehow be made ready while we are on earth.
What could an unsanctified man do in heaven, if by chance he got there? Let that question be fairly contemplated and answered.
No man can possibly be happy in a place where he is not in his element. When an eagle is happy in an iron cage, when an owl is happy in the blaze of noonday sun, when a fish is happy on the dry land, then, and not till then, will I admit that the unsanctified man could be happy in heaven.
Only those with sanctified desires on earth should think they are being prepared for heaven.
~ J. C. Ryle