What is Bible Sanctification?
To find out what Bible sanctification is and how important it is in a Christian walk, we need to know what the word sanctify means. To sanctify something is to "set it apart for holy use". It's the purification process to make something pure and holy. Take the Sabbath day for instance at the end of creation week. God sanctified the seventh day, in other words, He set it apart from the other 6 days as a holy day, set apart for holy use.
1 Thessalonians 4:1-3 ...'Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, even your sanctification.'
It is God's will that we walk in the footsteps of our Lord Jesus, and are sanctified, being set apart from this world and growing in Him day by day, which is what Paul says above ... We should "abound more and more" in the love and commands of Christ Jesus. But can we do this ourselves?
John 15:5 ...'I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.' ..... No, we can do nothing in regards to salvation and the changing of our hearts ourselves. We need the Lord Jesus.
Now in order to begin the process of sanctification, what must our attitude be toward the truth of God's Word? ... 2 Thessalonians 2:11-13 ...'That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.' ... Some pretty strong words for those who do not have a love for the truth of God's Word. But those of us who do have a love for the truth can be sanctified by God. But is a mere belief in the Word enough for sanctification?
1 Peter 1:2 ...'Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.' ... Although we cannot sanctify ourselves, we certainly do have a part to play in the process. And even though it says that we were chosen from the beginning, we still have a free choice to be saved or not, see Bible election for more on this. So through the Spirit of God, we believe the truth and become OBEDIENT to it. Without our obedience to His Word we have nothing, as belief alone is not enough. (See the book of James about faith and works).
What change is necessary in order for us to become branches of the Vine? ... 2 Corinthians 5:17 ...'Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.' ... Now this is something that the majority of professing Christians struggle with. They want to hold on to the "old things" rather than let them "pass away" as the Word says. Did you see what it says? ALL THINGS BECOME NEW. Not just some parts of our lives, but ALL THINGS! Notice what Paul says again in another place ... 1 thessalonians 5:23 ...'And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.'
Take a look at these following Bible verses about what our attitude should be for us to be sanctified:
Proverbs 15:33 ...'The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.'
Ephesians 4:1-2 ...'I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love.'
Philippians 2:5 ...'Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.'
Luke 22:42 ...'Not My will, but Thine be done.'
If these things be in you and you "set your mind on things above, not on this world" (Colossians 3:1-2), then the God of peace will "sanctify you wholly".
Who's prayers does God listen to? ... John 9:31 ...'Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.' ... So those who DO HIS WILL does God listen to. Again, this is confirmed in another Bible verse ... 1 John 3:22 ...'And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.' ... We receive of those things that we ask BECAUSE WE KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS. Do you keep the commandments of God?
Do you notice that this is a two way thing? We cannot be sanctified and set apart if we refuse to obey our Lord Jesus and keep His Commandments. Look at what Christ said ... John 14:23 ...'If a man love Me, he will keep My words and My Father will love him and We will come unto him, and make our abode with him.' ... If we love Him, WE WILL KEEP HIS WORD. And THEN God will dwell in us and sanctify us.
So as we study God's Word and believe it and start to actually live according to it, then God will dwell in us and by His grace He will sanctify us and we become set apart from the world for holy service unto our Creator God ... Romans 12:2 ...'And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.'
So many professing Christians today are not being sanctified because they are still trying to hold on to this world and the sinful ways of this world. It's God's will that we all be sanctified for Him, but He will not force us to serve Him. Just as He didn't force Adam and Eve to obey Him, He will not force us either. It is our free choice to be saved or lost. Unfortunately, many professing Christians will find that they have not been sanctified when Christ Jesus returns, because they weren't prepared to do God's will and obey Him.
Bible sanctification is a process by God of making a person holy. Every day our selfish nature must be crucified, in a new commitment with the Lord. Disobedience and selfish acts will never be a part of sanctification, and they must be rejected daily in order to maintain a sanctified experience. As we walk with Jesus each day living in His Word and looking to do His will, He will sanctify us and set us apart. Are you letting God sanctify you?