I avoid some things because they sound very geeky and smack of theology. Jesus talks about sanctification. Maybe I need to listen up. I want to know what He thinks.
Jesus had a lot to say about sanctification. Consider John 17 (verses 15-21).
“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 apart as holy) 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 as holy) Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified (set apart as holy) 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.”
Sanctification is a translation of the Greek word hagiasmos, meaning the process of making or becoming holy, set apart, sanctification, holiness, or consecration.
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).
What is the means of sanctification? It 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 Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10:10).
John Murray notes that when Isaiah the prophet came into the presence of God he could only cry out, “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” (Isa. 6:5). And when Job, whose righteousness was earlier commended in the story about his life, came into the presence of almighty God, he could only say, “I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:5–6). Murray concludes from these examples and from the testimony of other saints through the history of the church:
Indeed, the more sanctified the person is, the more conformed he is to the image of his Savior, the more he must recoil against every lack of conformity to the holiness of God. The deeper his apprehension of the majesty of God, the greater the intensity of his love to God, the more persistent his yearning for the attainment of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, the more conscious will he be of the gravity of the sin that remains and the more poignant will be his detestation of it.… Was this not the effect in all the people of God as they came into closer proximity to the revelation of God’s holiness?
- 1 Corinthians 6:11 (NASB) — Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus the Messiah and in the Spirit of our God.
- Romans 8:9–11 (NASB) — However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of the Messiah, he does not belong to Him. If the Messiah is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised the Messiah Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
- Romans 15:15–16 (NASB) — But I have written very boldly to you on some points so as to remind you again, because of the grace that was given me from God, to be a minister of the Messiah Jesus to the Gentiles, ministering as a priest the good news of God, so that my offering of the Gentiles may become acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
- 1 Corinthians 12:13 (NASB) — For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
- 2 Corinthians 1:21–22 (NASB) — Now He who establishes us with you in the Messiah and anointed us is God, who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.
- Ephesians 1:13–14 (NASB) — In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.
- 2 Thessalonians 2:13 (NASB) — But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.
- Titus 3:4–7 (NASB) — But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus the Messiah our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
- 1 Peter 1:1–2 (NASB) — Peter, an apostle of Jesus the Messiah, to those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus the Messiah and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.