Process of Sanctification

Sanctification is the process in which God develops the new life of a believer and gradually brings it to perfection.


Webster’s Dictionary: (1)  an act of sanctifying; (2) a : the state of being sanctified; b: the state of growing in divine grace as a result of Christian commitment after baptism or conversion.

Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary: The process of being made holy resulting in a changed lifestyle for the believer. The English word “sanctification” comes from the Latin sanctification, meaning the act or process of making holy or consecrated.

The Old Testament thought and focus is that holiness is upon God. He is holy (Pss. 99:9). His name is holy (Pss. 99:3; 111:9) and may not be profaned (Lev. 20:3 Since God exists in the realm of the holy rather than the profane, all that pertains to Him must come into that same realm of holiness. This involves time, space, objects, and people.

Certain times are sanctified in that they are set apart especially to the Lord: the Sabbath (Gen. 2:3, the various festivals (Lev. 23:4-44), and the year of Jubilee (Lev. 25:12). By strictly observing the regulations governing each, Israel sanctified (or treated as holy) these special times of the year. Also the land of Canaan (Exod. 15:13), as well as Jerusalem (Isa. 11:9), was holy to the Lord and was not to be polluted by sinful conduct (Lev. 18:27-28). The tabernacle/temple and all the objects related to it were holy (Exod. 28:38; Ezek. 40-48). The various gifts brought in worship were sanctified. These fall into three groupings: those whose sanctity was inherent (e.g., firstborn males of female animals and human beings, Exod. 13:2, 11-13; Lev. 27:26); objects whose sanctification was required (e.g., tithes of crops and pure animals, Lev. 27:30-33; Deut. 26:13); and gifts whose sanctification was voluntary. The dedication of these objects mostly occurred not at some ritual in the sanctuary but at a prior declaration of dedication (Judg. 17:3; Lev. 27:30-33).

Of course, the priests and Levites who functioned in the sanctuary, beginning with Aaron, were sanctified to the Lord by the anointing of oil (Exod. 30:30-32; 40:12-15). Additionally the Nazirite was consecrated (Numbers 6:8), although only for a specified period of time. Finally the nation of Israel was sanctified to the Lord as a holy people (Exod. 19:6; Deut. 7:6; 14:2, 21; 26:19). This holiness was closely identified with obedience to the Law of Holiness in Lev. 17-26,which includes both  ritual and ethical commands. In the prophets especially, the ethical responsibility of being holy in conduct came to the forefront (Isa. 5; Jer. 5-7; Amos 4-5; Hos. 11).


New Testament: The same range of meanings reflected by the Septuagint usage is preserved in the NT but with extension of meaning in certain cases. Objects may be made holy (Matt. 23:17, 19; 1 Tim. 4:4-5) or treated as holy (Matt. 6:9; Luke 11:2), but, mostly, the word group stresses the personal dimension of holiness. Here the two streams of OT meaning are significant: the cultic and the ethical. Sanctification is vitally linked to the salvation experience and is concerned with the moral/spiritual obligations assumed in that experience. We were set apart to God in conversion, and we are living out that dedication to God in holiness.

The link of NT thought to OT antecedents in the cultic aspect of sanctification is most clearly seen in Hebrews. Christ’s Crucifixation makes possible the moving of the sinner from the profane to the holy (that is, sanctifies, makes holy) so that the believer can become a part of the temple where God dwells and is worshiped (Heb. 13:11-16; 2:9-11; 10:10, 14, 29). Paul (Rom. 15:16; 1 Cor. 1:2; 6:11, Eph. 5:26-27; 2 Thess. 2:13) and Peter (1 Pet. 1:2) both affirmed the work of the Holy Spirit in conversion as a sanctification, making the believer holy so as to come before God in acceptance. Especially in Paul, justification and sanctification are closely related concepts.

Hebrews also emphasizes the critical aspect of sanctification. Sanctification/holiness is to be pursued as an essential aspect of the believer’s life (Heb. 12:14); the blood of sanctification must not be defiled by sinful conduct (Heb. 10:26-31). Paul stressed both the individual’s commitment to holy living (Rom. 6:19-22; 1 Thess. 4:3-8; 2 Cor. 7:1) and the enabling power of God for it (1 Thess. 3:13; 4:8). The summation of the ethical imperative is seen in Peter’s use (1 Pet. 1:15-16) of Lev. 11:44; 19:2; 20:7: “Be holy, because I am holy” (HCSB).


Romans 6:4      Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

God is testing us every day and has given us the right to make our own choices. Do you know which ones are the right choices in Gods mind?

Fear God, love God, honor God, and trust God with all your heart, mind and soul and you will receive and experience the joy of the promises of God’s blessings in His time.


Prayer:   Father in heaven, I praise You for Your Son and the Holy Spirit. I praise You for Your grace in sending us Your wisdom about “Sanctification.”  Please bless all those who have read this article for they too are seeking Your righteous truth, love, wisdom and understanding. May they read, learn, proclaim and live out Your Word.

May God, Jesus, The Holy Spirit and Christianity be our guiding lights, our safety nets and our inspiration for loving happiness in all of Your kingdom. Father into your hands I commend my spirit. Not my will, but Yours be done. Please come Lord Jesus.

I pray in Jesus sweet name and to His glory through the power of the Holy Spirit,