What is Sanctification in the Bible?
We recently covered the Biblical translated meaning of salvation and discovered an amazing fact about our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. But how do we know that we are saved? How can we be sure that we are covered under the blessings of Jesus’ sacrifice and are washed clean of our sins? To answer that question, you have to ask yourself, “what is sanctification in the Bible”?
First things First- Salvation
Your actions do not result in your salvation. There is nothing you can do to “earn” salvation, it is a gift you choose to accept. But once saved, something happens inside you when you let Jesus in. You begin to change from the inside out as long as you don’t fight the process. That process is sanctification. If you are saved, God is invited into your heart and begins a process of purification to prepare you for your intended purpose. This process begins to set you apart from the world and the closer you grow to Him the further you grow away from worldly things. Although only God can purify us, we can pray, study, worship and control our actions and thoughts to help us better align with God’s pure will for our lives.
Everyone goes through this process at different rates, but if you can see Jesus working in your life you know He is a part of you. That is evidence of your salvation. If you feel the Holy Spirit’s pull toward new directions you know that God fulfilled His promise, the Spirit is with you and this is evidence of sanctification.
In English, our generic meaning is the “state of proper functioning.” Basically, God has a purpose for every person and He is the one that granted that meaning for your life. Once you accept His gift of salvation, we are accepting our proper functions. We are all designed to love and serve God.
Before Christ, our Hebrew ancestors referred to this cleansing process as oadash (pronounced Kaw-dash). That word is translated in the old testament as sanctify or sanctified. Although they didn’t have the cleansing blood of Christ, it was a ceremonial or mental process to be clean, holy, purified, dedicated or to consecrate. So, not only sacrificing for purification but also cleansing the mind to be more in line with God.
The new testament uses hagiazo (hag-ee-ad’-zo) for sanctify or sanctified similar to Hebrew. But now we also find the Greek word hagiasmos (hag-ee-as-mos’) meaning sanctification. Where sanctify translated still means to make holy ceremonially and to purify, sanctification translated (hagiasmos) is to be “proper purification, a state of purity.” Instead of this ceremonial process of old, we now see an ongoing process following our salvation where God is constantly changing us through our personal relationship with Him.
Dedicating our Life to Sanctification
Perhaps it is God’s very presence in our lives that slowly changes us and purifies us. But I do know that the closer we grow toward Him, the more we experience sanctification. We lose a desire for evil because our focus is on God. If you are certain of your salvation but do not feel a process of purification happening in your life, perhaps you need to refocus on God.
We all know if you are shooting an arrow, you look at the target. If you want to hit a baseball you keep your eye on the ball. So, perhaps if we are sinning, we are looking away from God and putting our eyes on the world. If we are falling, our gaze is on the wrong target and we need to step back and travel the path of sanctification.
“Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.” 2 Timothy 2:21