The word "sanctify" comes from the same root word
as the word "holiness." It means to purify or to
make holy. It also indicates a being "set apart"
for a holy use.
In the Biblical setting, there are three acts of God seen
in sanctification. 1. He takes from one place (the common
or unclean place which characterizes the person or thing in
2. He cleans the person or thing. (It is easy to clean a
thing. A person demands more attention and time from God).
A person is sanctified both instantaneously and progressively.
Certain aspects of sanctification are instantaneous, while
other aspects require a progressive work of God.
3. He places the person or thing into His service in the
place He chooses.
"And I will sanctify the tabernacle of the
congregation, and the altar: I will sanctify
also both Aaron and his sons, to minister to
me in the priest's office" Exodus 29:44.
Such things as self-righteousness, self-control, a moral
life, or self-denial, are never a proof of holiness. We often
judge from outward appearances, but God looks upon the heart
and sees the motivating thought or action.
"But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his
countenance, or on the height of his stature;
because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth
not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward
appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart"
I Samuel 16:7.
A true inner work of sanctification will reveal a Christ-centered
life that acts or responds just as Jesus would act or respond.
To be "sanctified" is to be "set apart"
as a witness (sample) of His life being lived within us.
In order to derive the full benefit which God purposed through
His plan of salvation, we must be identified, by faith, with
Jesus Christ in His accomplished work at Calvary. This identification
inevitably leads us to a sentence of death. It was not our
sins and transgressions which were sentenced to death, but
the source of all these, our "Adamic nature" which
is enmity against God.
When by faith in His completed work of redemption in our
behalf, we fully accept the fact that Christ died for us and
that we are partakers with Him in His death, burial, and resurrection;
our "old man" (Adamic nature) is done away with.
In its place, we are given the Divine nature of His Son in
a new birth through regeneration, and we become a new creation.
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new
creature: old things are passed away; behold,
all things are become new ... For He hath made
Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we
might be made the righteousness of God in
Him" II Cor 5:17,21.
Our salvation is a gift; we are cleansed from sin, and in
that aspect, sanctified. Our spiritual growth is not a gift.
We are, "as newborn babes" to "desire the sincere
milk of the Word, that we may grow thereby" (I Peter
2:2). That which we judicially are (Gift of Salvation and
Sanctification) is to become an explosion of fullness within
us, bringing additional areas of our lives out from their
unclean practices and purifying such areas, (our thought life,
dishonest gain, backbiting, impatience, etc,) thus being brought
into His service in a greater measure. This purging (sanctifying)
must go on as long as we have areas needing the refining fire.
We grow into sanctification(characterized by spiritual maturity).
Sanctification and perfection (maturity) are not synonymous
terms. The believer is a perfect "babe in Christ"
as soon as he is born again, but is not yet fully grown nor
mature. This "babe in Christ" grows, or goes on
to perfection. Perfection, when applied to the believer, means
he is full grown, mature.
God has made every provision for holy living. He delivered
us from sin and the sinful nature when we first came to Him
and believed upon Christ's work which He wrought for us. As
we walk in this truth, we go from strength to strength, from
victory to victory; going on unto full maturity, the life
of Christ being more and more manifested in us to the glory
We will have no excuse if we are found wanting, when weighed
in God's balance of holiness. May the God of peace make us
perfect in every good thing, working in us that which is well
pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the
glory forever and ever.