“Not from the works that we did in righteousness, but according to His mercy, He saved us through washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5).
It is a fatal error to assume that we can receive justification without also experiencing regeneration; justification is Godwards; regeneration is uswards, and it must lead to a work of renewal being undertaken by the Holy Spirit. That work of renewal we call sanctification, and what it means is that if the basis of our reconciliation to God is identification with the death of Christ Jesus, then it must lead to the death, in us, of everything that was never in Him.
When God reckons a man to be righteous on the basis of his faith in Christ, He immediately sets about making him righteous; the one follows the other as the day by the night. However, we live today in an era when a converted man is not expected to be a transformed man and, as a consequence, our churches are filled with people who believe that it is possible to accept Christ without totally forsaking the world and its charms. This, despite that James tells us that whoever is a friend of the world is an enemy of God (James 4:4), and John’s teaching that if any man loves the world the love of the Father is not in him (1 John 2:15).
Ignoring this, many go on day by day assuming that salvation is possible without repentance leading to transformation and sanctification and that there is some value in a faith that does not lead to righteousness of life.
If you look back over the history of the New Testament age, every spiritual revival has begun invariably with outpourings of tears of repentance and an earnest hunger for holiness and righteousness of life. God hasn’t changed, but His prophetic season has moved on as He turns His attention back to His chosen people Israel. Just as apostate Israel was cut off from God, so apostate Christianity will not be revived; spiritual revival will only be found today by the individual earnestly seeking it with true heartfelt repentance.