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We have very little difficulty discussing the matter of being washed by the blood of Christ and justified by his righteousness. Particular, effectual redemption and free justification are matters in which we all rejoice. But when it comes to sanctification, our thinking may not be as clear. Many, I fear, are still confused and a little uncomfortable. Because we are so much influenced by false religion, many of God’s saints still imagine that sanctification is something beyond their reach. If you are God’s, if you trust Christ, the Lord Jesus Christ, your Savior, your Advocate, your great High Priest, asks the Father to sanctify you. — That means sanctification is yours. You are sanctified. If you trust Christ, God the Holy Ghost declares in 1st Corinthians 6:11 — “Ye are sanctified!” That means you are sanctified. Christ is made of God unto you Sanctification. Christ is your Sanctification. He is God’s Truth; and he is your Sanctification. But what does that mean? What does it mean to be sanctified? What was our Savior asking for us when he prayed, “Sanctify them”?
The first meaning of the word “sanctify” is “to set apart,” particularly, “to set apart for God or for divine service”. Sanctification is taking something that is common and ordinary and setting it apart, separating it unto God’s service alone. This is the first and primary meaning of the word as it is used in the Bible (Genesis 2:3; Exodus 13:2; 29:44). It is in this sense that our Lord Jesus Christ says he was sanctified by the Father and sanctified himself (John 10:36; 17:19). He was set apart from all other men to do the will of God by God the Father. And in this sense our Savior sanctified himself to do the work he was sent to do, to accomplish his Father’s will in the redemption and salvation of his people (John 17:19). — God’s elect were set apart for God from eternity in the purpose of God (Jude 1).
Regard as Holy
Second, as the word “sanctify” is used in the Word of God, it means “to regard as holy,” “to treat as holy,” and “to declare that a person or thing is holy.” — For example: God himself is frequently said to be sanctified by his people. We do not make God more holy! And we do not separate God unto himself. But we do regard him as holy, treat him as one who is holy, and declare that he is holy. That is what it is to sanctify the Lord God in your heart. — The Lord God commands us to regard him as holy (Isaiah 8:13). — God regards his people as holy through the sin-atoning blood of Christ (Hebrews 10:10-14).
The third meaning of the word “sanctify” is “to actually purify something and make it holy”. — This is more than a declaration. This is an actual change in the nature of things. The thing sanctified is not only set apart for God and declared to be holy, it is actually made holy (Exodus 19:10-11; Joshua 3:5). — The Lord God makes his elect holy by making every heaven-born soul “a new creature” in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17, making us “partakers of the divine nature,” creating us anew “in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:24), forming “Christ in you, the Hope of Glory” (Colossians 1:27)