What does “sanctify” mean?

It is always important for us to understand the definition of Bible words. Sometimes our English dictionaries do not help us, therefore it is important that we go back to the original languages for the correct answer. Thayer says the word means, (1) to render or acknowledge to be venerable, to hallow; (2) to separate from things profane and dedicate to God, to consecrate and so render safe from being corrupted; (3) to purify. One of the best ways to determine the meaning of a Bible word is to read it in its context.

1. Many Different Things Were Sanctified in the Old Testament. The first use of the word in the Bible is in:

Genesis 2:3
“Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.”

This means the day was set apart for service. The tabernacle was sanctified (consecrated for service) (Ex. 29:43); Aaron and his sons were sanctified for service (Lev. 8:30); the priests had to sufficiently sanctify themselves (2Chron. 30:3); Jeremiah was sanctified and ordained a prophet before he was born (Jer. 1:5).

2. Jesus Prayed That Disciples Would Be Sanctified in :

John 17:17
“Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth.”

In this place Jesus is giving instruction to his disciples to be separate from the world. In John 17 the word “world” is used 18 times. Eleven of these times “world” refers to the masses of unbelievers who are without Christ. By being “sanctified” to Christ and part of His body, we are separate in lifestyle and in hope from the world.

3. We Are Sanctified Through The Truth.

John 17:19
“And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.”

4. We Are Sanctified By Faith.

Acts 26:18
“to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, in order that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.”

5. We Are Sanctified By Bible Baptism.

Eph 5:26
“ that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word…”

6. We Are Sanctified With The Blood Of Jesus.

Heb 13:12
“Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate.”

7. The Sanctified Ones Will Go To Heaven.

Acts 20:32
“And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.”

8. Being Sanctified Demands Leaving Sin.

1Cor 6:9 – 11
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals,
10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
11 And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.”

9. Those Who Want To Live Right And Be Saved Will Work Toward Sanctification.

Our lives as Christians are sustained in Christ. For us to live is Christ.

1Cor 1:30
“But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption . . .”

1Thess 4:3
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality. . .”

1Pet 3:15
“but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence . . .”

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