What is Sanctification?
To sanctify is literally “to set apart for special use or purpose” or ” to make Holy”
If we take a concordance and start noting how sanctify, sanctification, holiness and related words are used, the first thing which may strike us is the various ways in which these words are used. To start with, sanctify is used in reference to a variety of objects. It may be applied to places as the camp of Israel, the hill of Zion, to time as the Sabbath, the fiftieth year or to people the firstborn, the priests, the congregation or individual people. It is also quite evident that the word sanctification has different shades of meaning. For instance, sanctification may also mean any of the following:
1. A completed act, as when God sanctified Jeremiah before he was born or the seventh day at creation (Jer. 1:5; Gen. 2:2,3).
2. A process, as when the Hebrews were exhorted to follow holiness or the Corinthians to perfect holiness (Heb. 12:14;2Cor. 7:1).
3. A status that is possessed or enjoyed (1 Cor. 1:2).
4. An experience and way of life to practice (1 Thess. 4:3-7)
Sanctification is a spiritual experience in the life of a believer that is distinct and separate from salvation. To be sanctified is to be freed from the bondage of sin where the pursuit of holiness becomes possible on an everyday basis. Once God has performed the instantaneous work of sanctification in the heart, the believer is enabled to follow after holiness through the grace of God. Romans 12:1 reads
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship
Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God – 2 Corinthians 7:1
The subsequent perfecting of holiness is not an instant achievement but a progressive type of ongoing sanctification in which one grows in the grace. knowledge, stature and perfection of Jesus Christ. Philippians 3:12-15 declares
Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to whatlies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of theupward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you
This work of sanctification is brought about by the work of the Holy Ghost who reveals spiritual imperfections to the christian through the word of God and trials of faith in everyday experience. Destined to reflect the image of Christ , this ongoing process of discipleship extends to all areas of life and relationships, many of which are uniquely personal. This morning let us all submit to this unique work of God’s Holy Spirit that he may complete the work of sanctification in us.