What is it?
Sanctification means to be set apart. In scripture it is always for God and for His own purposes. The Greek and Hebrew root words are translated in English both as “holy” and as “set apart”.
Who are the sanctified?
God views every believer in Jesus as being set apart from the moment of his or her conversion.
Why do we need to be sanctified?
The purpose of sanctification is to make us suitable for the presence and service of God. Scripture assures us that it rests on the finished work of Christ: “We are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10:10). It is His own work: “For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.” (Hebrews 2:11-12).
But Scripture also tells us we need to be holy practically in order to be suitable to serve God here. “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (2 Corinthians 7:1). So while we are regarded by God as sanctified from the day of our conversion, we do need to be holy in our lives here.
Here is an example (from J N Darby, Collected Writings, Vol. 16, p. 191)
How are we to be sanctified here?“But here is what God has done: He has separated us to Himself, as a man hews stones out of a quarry. The stone is hewn out of the quarry and set apart, destined to be placed in the appointed building. And God detaches a soul from the quarry of this world to separate it for Himself.
There is much to do, for a rough stone cut out of the quarry often requires considerable labour before it is placed in the building for which it is destined. Even so God separates, prepares, and fashions this soul to introduce it into His spiritual building. There are many useless matters to take off, but God acts every day in His grace. Nevertheless, this soul is sanctified, set apart for God, from the moment it is taken out of the quarry of this world.”
The Lord’s prayer in John 17:16-17 is for His disciples (and for us), and there He prays “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: they word is truth.” This is the practical effect on the believer of the word of God, producing practical holiness.
What is the result?
The result is a sanctified company of believers, with Christ in the centre, leading praise to His God and Father. We enjoy our part in this company as we are sanctified practically by the truth.
[Reproduced with permission]