1 Thessalonians 4:3 – For this is the will of God, even your sanctification…
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines sanctification as:
1. The act of making holy. In an evangelical sense, the act of God’s grace by which the affections of men are purified or alienated from sin and the world, and exalted to a supreme love to God.
God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth. 2Thess.2, 1Peter 1.
2. The act of consecrating or of setting apart for a sacred purpose; consecration.
The root [word] is found in the Old Testament in the Hebrew verb qadhash, in the New Testament in the Greek verb hagoazo. The noun “sanctification” (hagiasmos) does not occur in the Old Testament and is found but 10 times in the New Testament, but the roots noted above appear in a group of important words which are of very frequent occurrence. These words are “holy,” “hallow,” “hallowed,” “holiness,” “consecrate,” “saint,” “sanctify,” “sanctification.” It must be borne in mind that these words are all translations of the same root, and that therefore no one of them can be treated adequately without reference to the others. All have undergone a certain development. Broadly stated, this has been from the formal, or ritual, to the ethical, and these different meanings must be carefully distinguished.1
Okay, now that we have discussed the theological terms let us quickly look at the practical. There are three ways in which Sanctification and or its affiliated terms are used in the Bible.
First is a man being sanctified or set apart unto God, as in Justification through Christ Alone. Those chosen and redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb are sanctified unto the Father. 1 John 4:4-5 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. 5 They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.
Second, is our being obedient to the Word of God. You will hear some folks say they are New Testament Christians, NO SUCH THING!!!! You can not be truly born again and ignore the Law of God (Ten Commandments) Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. This is the most common reference in the NT, and the one folks most often speak of. It is the ongoing process from the day of a believer’s new birth until they are called home to glory. The text above 1 Thess 4:3 references this. Yes, I have not used it in direct context, as this verse refers directly to sexual immorality in overall context v.1-12, are dealing with sanctification. Here we see it is God’s will that (v.1-2) we obey the Law and walk worthy of the calling or instructions we have recieved.
Lastly, is the final or complete sanctification or glorification, when we are transformed into our personal glorified bodies. Paul speaks of this in 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. While John refers to this in 1 John 3:2, Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
The question is are we/others seeing a real change in our lives?