involves more than a mere moral reformation of character, brought about by the power of the truth: it is the work of the Holy Spirit bringing the whole nature more and more under the influences of the new gracious principles implanted in the soul in regeneration. In other words, sanctification is the carrying on to perfection the work begun in regeneration, and it extends to the whole man (Ro 6:13; 2Co 4:6; Col 3:10; 1Jo 4:7; 1Co 6:19). It is the special office of the Holy Spirit in the plan of redemption to carry on this work (1Co 6:11; 2Th 2:13). Faith is instrumental in securing sanctification, inasmuch as it (1) secures union to Christ (Ga 2:20), and (2) brings the believer into living contact with the truth, whereby he is led to yield obedience "to the commands, trembling at the threatenings, and embracing the promises of God for this life and that which is to come."
Perfect sanctification is not attainable in this life (1Ki 8:46; Pr 20:9; Ec 7:20; Jas 3:2; 1Jo 1:8). See Paul's account of himself in Ro 7:14-25; Php 3:12-14; 1Ti 1:15; also the confessions of David (Ps 19:12-13; 51), of Moses (Ps 90:8), of Job (Job 42:5-6), and of Daniel (Da 9:3-20). "The more holy a man is, the more humble, self-renouncing, self-abhorring, and the more sensitive to every sin he becomes, and the more closely he clings to Christ. The moral imperfections which cling to him he feels to be sins, which he laments and strives to overcome. Believers find that their life is a constant warfare, and they need to take the kingdom of heaven by storm, and watch while they pray. They are always subject to the constant chastisement of their Father's loving hand, which can only be designed to correct their imperfections and to confirm their graces. And it has been notoriously the fact that the best Christians have been those who have been the least prone to claim the attainment of perfection for themselves.", Hodge's Outlines.
This term is from qadesh, ??????, 'to set apart to sacred purposes, consecrate.' It has various applications in the O.T.
As to persons: The whole of the Israelites were sanctified to God. Ex 19:10,14. The firstborn were further sanctified to God, to be redeemed by the Levites. Ex 13:2. The priests and Levites were sanctified to the service of God.
As to the place and vessels of divine service: The tabernacle and temple, and all the vessels used therein, were devoted to sacred use in the worship of God. Ex 30:29. We have thus what was suitable in view of God: there was also what was obligatory on the part of those that approached.
The priests, Levites, and people were often called upon to sanctify themselves, to be ceremonially fit to approach God and His sanctuary. Le 20:7; Nu 11:18; etc. God declared, "I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me," Le 10:3; God must be approached with reverence and in separation from what is unsuited to Him.
In the N.T. sanctification has many applications.
1. The thought is twice expressed by the Lord Jesus as to Himself. He spoke of Himself as one "whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world." Joh 10:36. He was set apart by the Father for the accomplishment of the purposes of His will. In His prayer for His disciples in John 17 the Lord also says, "For their sakes I sanctify myself." He set Himself apart in heaven from rights that belonged to Him as man, that His own might be sanctified by the truth. He was sanctified on earth for the Father, He has sanctified Himself in heaven for the saints.
2. Believers are said to be "sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." Ro 15:16; 1Co 1:2; Heb 10:10. They are thus 'saints,' 'sanctified ones' before God, apart from the life of flesh, a class of persons set apart to God for priestly service. Ac 20:32; 26:18; Ro 1:7; etc. In this there is no progress: in effect it implies the most intimate identification with Christ. Such are His brethren. "He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one," Heb 2:11; the sanctified are "perfected for ever" by one offering. Heb 10:14.
3. But believers are viewed also on the side of obligation and are exhorted to yield their members "servants to righteousness unto holiness" (????????). Ro 6:19. God chastens them that they may be partakers of His holiness. Heb 12:10. Without sanctification no one will see the Lord. In this there is progress: a growing up into Christ in all things. Eph 4:15. The apostle Paul prayed that the God of peace would sanctify the Thessalonians wholly. 1Th 5:23.
4. Sanctification appears to refer to change of association, for the possibility is contemplated of some who had been sanctified treading under foot the Son of God, and treating the blood of the covenant as an unholy or common thing, thus becoming apostates from Christ, and departing from the association in which they had been sanctified. Heb 10:29.
5. In the existing mixed and corrupt state of Christendom (viewed as a great house, in which are vessels, some to honour and some to dishonour), the obligation to sanctification from evil within the sphere of profession has become obligatory in order that a man may be "a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work." 2Ti 2:21.
6. An unbelieving husband or wife is said to be sanctified in the believing partner, and their children are holy (?????). They can thus dwell together in peace, instead of having to separate from an unbelieving partner, as in Old Testament times. 1Co 7:14: cf. Ezra 9, Ezra 10.
7. Food is "sanctified by the word of God and prayer." Hence "every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving." 1Ti 4:4-5. This is altogether opposed to restrictions prescribed by the law, or which man may impose on the use of what God in His goodness has created for man's use.
SANCTIFICATION, that work of God's grace by which we are renewed after the image of God, set apart for his service, and enabled to die unto sin and live unto righteousness. Sanctification is either of nature, whereby we are renewed after the image of God, in knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness, Eph 4:24; Col 3:19, or of practice, whereby we die unto sin, have its power destroyed in us, cease from the love and practice of it, hate it as abominable, and live unto righteousness, loving and studying good works, Tit 2:11-12. Sanctification comprehends all the graces of knowledge, faith, repentance, love, humility, zeal, patience, &c, and the exercise of them in our conduct toward God or man: Ga 5:22-24; 1Pe 1:15-16; Mt 6:7. Sanctification in this world must be complete; the whole nature must be sanctified, all sin must be utterly abolished, or the soul can never be admitted into the glorious presence of God, Heb 12:14; 1Pe 1:15; Re 21:27; yet the saints, while here, are in a state of spiritual warfare with Satan and his temptations, with the world and its influence, 2Co 2:11; Ga 5:17,24; Ro 7:23; 1Jo 2:15-16.