What is Sanctification?
Scripturally, the word sanctification has three meanings: First, separation; second, dedication; third, spirit-filling. Webster’s definition of it is as follows:
“1. Sanctification is the act of God’s grace by which the affections of man are purified, or alienated from sin and the world, and exalted to a supreme love of God; also, the state of being thus purified or sanctified.
2. The act of consecrating, or setting apart for a sacred purpose.”
Sanctification is the change brought about by God in a believer, which starts at the point of salvation and continues throughout the life of the believer. It is the Holy Spirit’s work within us by which we grow into the fullness of the redeemed life.
Sanctifier. One who sanctifies or makes holy; specifically, the Holy Ghost.”
Sanctify. 1. To set apart to a holy or religious use. 2. To make holy or free from sin; to cleanse from moral corruption or pollution; to make holy by detaching the affections from the world and its defilements and exalting them to a supreme love of God.”
Scripturally and practically, the terms sanctification, holiness, purity, and perfection are synonymous. Holiness, Separation: setting apart; sacredness. Purity. Cleanness; chastity. Perfection. Completeness; wholeness. All this is comprehended in one word, sanctification.
In the Old Testament Anointing oil and the blood of animals were used for sanctification (Lev. 8:10-24). The oil represents the Holy Spirit while the blood of animals was replaced with the Blood of Jesus Christ in the New Testament.
Sanctification A Bible Doctrine
“And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.” (Acts 20:32).
“To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.”—Acts 26:18.
“Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth…. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word.”—John 17:17, 19, 20.
“If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.”—2 Tim. 2:21.
“That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour.”—1 Thess. 4:4.
God Our Sanctifier
“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.”—1 Thess. 5:23, 24. “Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called.”— Jude 1.
Sanctified In Christ
“Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus.” “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.”—1 Cor. 1:2, 30.
Sanctified Through the Truth “Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth.”—John 17:17. “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.”— Eph. 5:26.
By The Blood of Jesus
“Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.” “For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” “For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” “Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?”—Heb. 13:12; 9:13, 14; 10:10, 14, 29.
The Holy Spirit
“That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.”—Rom. 15:16. “But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.”—2 Thess. 2:13.
Transformation into the likeness of Jesus Christ is the work of grace. But we have our own roles to play. We must repent, and yield our bodies as living sacrifices so that we can be transformed:
Romans 12:1-2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”