Sanctification means to be separate or to be set apart. It also means to be set apart for holy use, to make holy or to purify. For a thing to be sanctified it means it is set apart for a special use. Things that are sanctified are reserved for God’s purposes or use. To sanctify someone is to set that person apart for the use intended God. We are sanctified when we are used for the purpose God intends. A person is sanctified when they live according to God’s design and purpose.
* The Temple
The vessels used by the priest were to be used for holy purposes and to be pure and to glorify God. Each time that the temple or temple vessels ceased to be used for holy purposes there had to be a process of sanctification and purification.
Exodus 29:35-38 NKJV
“And you shall offer a bull every day as a sin offering for atonement. You shall cleanse the altar when you make atonement for it, and you shall anoint it to sanctify it. Seven days you shall make atonement for the altar and sanctify it. And the altar shall be most holy. Whatever touches the altar must be holy. “Now this is what you shall offer on the altar: two lambs of the first year, day by day continually.”
During Ahaz’s reign the priests and Levities had been stripped of their temple duties and the temple was not sanctified unto God. When Hezekiah took control he commanded the priest to sanctify themselves and the temple.
2 Chronicles 29:1-7 NKJV
“Hezekiah became king when he was twenty-five years old, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abijah the daughter of Zechariah. And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father David had done. In the first year of his reign, in the first month, he opened the doors of the house of the Lord and repaired them. Then he brought in the priests and the Levites, and gathered them in the East Square, and said to them: “Hear me, Levites! Now sanctify yourselves, sanctify the house of the Lord God of your fathers, and carry out the rubbish from the holy place. For our fathers have trespassed and done evil in the eyes of the Lord our God; they have forsaken Him, have turned their faces away from the dwelling place of the Lord, and turned their backs on Him. They have also shut up the doors of the vestibule, put out the lamps, and have not burned incense or offered burnt offerings in the holy place to the God of Israel.”
Jesus was very interested in the sanctification and purity of the temple. The temple was the house of God (the dwelling place of God) and it was suppose to be set apart for prayer and communication with God. Jesus was very concerned about the temple being sanctified (set apart for God). Jesus cleared, cleansed, the temple two different times – at the beginning of His earthly ministry and at the end of it.
At the beginning of His ministry.
John 2:13-16 NKJV
“Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business. When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!”
At the end of His ministry.
Matthew 21:11-13 NKJV
“Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.”
Mark 11:15-19 NKJV
“So they came to Jerusalem. Then Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves.
And He would not allow anyone to carry wares through the temple.
Then He taught, saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations? But you have made it a ‘den of thieves.”
Jesus is our example – He was sanctified.
He is holy and set apart from sin.
Jesus was set apart to do the will of God.
John 17:17-19 NKJV
“They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.
As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.
And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.”
Sanctification is expected after you are freed from bondage (sin). After God frees you from bondage you are to walk in sanctification. After the Israelites left Egypt (bondage) God instructed them to sanctify themselves.
Exodus 19:10 NKJV
“Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes.”
Believer, followers of Jesus, are to follow Jesus‘ example in sanctification. They are to be holy and set apart from sin. Believers are to be reserved for God’s use – they are set apart to do the will of God.
1 Peter 1:13-16 NKJV
“Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”
The sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit must be active in the believer’s life. Sanctification is an ongoing or continuing process – it takes a lifetime. However, there should be tangible evidences of growth in the believer’s life. There should be ongoing noticeable differences (changes) in a person’s life. It is a progressive holiness and growing in purity that will never be completely perfected until the day Jesus returns for His bride.
Hebrews 9:22-28 NKJV
“And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.
Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another—He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.”
Just as the temple of old was sanctified for God’s use, our bodies, the temple of the Holy Spirit, should be also.
1 Corinthians 6:19 NKJV
“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?”
1 Thessalonians 4:3-7 NKJV
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.”
* The Bible And Sanctification
God’s Word has an effect on a person that is undergoing sanctification. They allow the Word of God to cleanse them and make them holy.
John 17:17 NKJV
“Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.”
Toward the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry He asks God to sanctify the believers, which means set them apart. The only way a believer can be truly set apart from the world is by the truth found in the Word of God.
Psalm 119:11 NKJV
“Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You.”
Believers must hear God’s Word and do what it says. They must act upon the truths found in God’s Word.
James 1:22-25 NKJV
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”
* The Holy Spirit And Sanctification
Believers have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit and their bodies are the temple of God. The Holy Spirit dwells in the believer therefore, their bodies are vessels to be used for a holy or pure purpose and for the glory of God. We must allow the Holy Spirit to work in us. The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit enables a believer to live a holy life.
Enable means to provide with the means or opportunity or to make possible, practical, or easier. Enable can also mean to allow something to be done.
The Holy Spirit guides, empowers, directs, and leads the believer, as well as convicts us of sin and bad habits. The Holy Spirit will speak to us and He will correct us in order for us to avoid sinning against God. When we listen and obey the Holy Spirit it makes the process of sanctification possible and easier.
John 16:13 NKJV
“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”
* Sanctification leads to victory.
After forty years in the wilderness, the children of Israel were about to cross over the Jordan River into the Promised Land. They were then given a command and a promise – God promised them that He would give them the victory, but first they must sanctify themselves.
Joshua 3:5 NKJV
“And Joshua said to the people, “Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.”
* Sanctification leads to provisions.
After leaving Egypt the people began to cry out for something to eat, other than the manna that they were give. God promised to provide flesh for them, but first they must sanctify themselves.
Numbers 11:18 NKJV
“Then you shall say to the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat; for you have wept in the hearing of the Lord, saying, “Who will give us meat to eat? For it was well with us in Egypt.” Therefore the Lord will give you meat, and you shall eat.”