Sanctification is a translation of the Greek word hagiasmos, meaning the process of making or becoming holy, set apart, sanctification, holiness, or consecration.
“I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify (set them apart) them in the truth; Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. For their sakes I sanctify (set apart) Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified (set apart) in truth. I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.” | John 17:15-21
Here are some key ideas:
- Sanctification is a state of separation unto God; all believers enter into this state when they are born of God: “You are in the Messiah Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30, ESV).
- Sanctification is the work of the Holy Spirit in my life. It is a work God performs, an intricate part of my salvation and my connection with the Messiah “By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus the Messiah once for all.” (Hebrews 10:10).
- Sanctification involves more than a mere moral reformation of character, brought about by the power of the truth: it is the work of the Holy Spirit bringing my whole nature more and more under the influences of the new gracious principles implanted in my soul in regeneration.
- In other words, sanctification is the carrying on to perfection the work begun in regeneration, and it extends to the whole man.
- It is the special office of the Holy Spirit in the plan of redemption to carry on this work.
- Faith is instrumental in securing sanctification. It secures union to the Messiah, and brings the disciple of Jesus into living contact with the truth. That way he is led to yield obedience “to the commands, trembling at the threatenings, and embracing the promises of God for this life and that which is to come.”
- True sanctification (being set apart for God) comes through the ministry of the Word of God.
- “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you” (John 15:3). When you become a disciple of Jesus, you are set apart for God.
- As you grow in your faith, you are more and more experiencing sanctification. You love sin less and you love God more.
- You want to serve Him and be a blessing to others. All of this comes through the Word.
- God’s truth has been given to us in three “editions”:
- His Word is truth (John 17:17)
- His Son is the truth (John 14:6)
- His Spirit is the truth (1 John 5:6)
- We need all three if we are to experience true sanctification, a sanctification that touches every part of our inner person.
- With the mind, we learn God’s truth through the Word.
- With the heart, we love God’s truth, His Son.
- With the will, we yield to the Spirit and live God’s truth day by day.
- It takes all three for a balanced experience of sanctification.
And now the scriptures:
- Matthew 5:13 (NASB) — “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.”
- John 15:6 — “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.”
- 2 Corinthians 12:20–21 — For I am afraid that perhaps when I come I may find you to be not what I wish and may be found by you to be not what you wish; that perhaps there will be strife, jealousy, angry tempers, disputes, slanders, gossip, arrogance, disturbances; I am afraid that when I come again my God may humiliate me before you, and I may mourn over many of those who have sinned in the past and not repented of the impurity, immorality and sensuality which they have practiced.
- 1 Timothy 1:18–19 — This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you fight the good fight, keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.