- To make holy; set apart as sacred; consecrate
- To purify or free from sin
Sanctification is the process of being set apart by God and transformed by the Holy Spirit to fulfill Christ’s purpose in us. Accepting Christ as Savior is an event, sanctification is a daily denial to self to become more Christ-like.
“Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you.” (Jeremiah 1:5, The Message Translation)
God placed each and every one of us on earth at a specific time for a specific purpose. Sanctification is a continual process of seeking what is holy and righteous.
So why is sanctification important? Isn’t just being saved enough?
Accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is step one in the sanctification process. We’re missing the point of salvation if our only purpose is a ‘get of out jail free’ card. Jesus is all about relationship, not religion. He’s most concerned with us reaching our full potential for the kingdom. Sanctification is crucial in our walk because it shapes and transforms our hearts.
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If you truly want to follow me, you should at once completely reject and disown your own life. And you must be willing to share my cross and experience it as your own, as you continually surrender to my ways. For if you choose self-sacrifice and lose your lives for my glory, you will continually discover true life. But if you choose to keep your lives for yourselves, you will forfeit what you try to keep. For even if you were to gain all the wealth and power of this world with everything it could offer you—at the cost of your own life—what good would that be? And what could be more valuable to you than your own soul?” (Matthew 16:24-26, The Passion Translation)
What exactly is sanctification and how does one become sanctified?
Sanctification starts with seeking God and building a relationship with him. Intimacy develops between us and God, causing us to want to become more like Jesus. When we seek the kingdom above all else, God begins to shift the desires of our hearts. Through our relationship with Christ, we discover our purpose and calling in the kingdom.
Like Jesus said in Matthew 16, every single day we must decide to die to ourselves and our fleshy desires. We must choose righteousness over sin. We cannot walk out our lives and calling in our own strength, but only by the grace of God.
Sanctification is not linear, we will sin and we will fall. A constant war rages inside each of us daily, to choose ourselves or to choose Jesus. The Holy Spirit is our guide to overcoming and defeating sin and destructive behaviors. The more we give to God, the more He reveals to us and in turn the greater impact we will have on the kingdom.
Only once I’ve gone through a hard or challenging season did I realize the sanctification that took place.
It isn’t something that hits you over the head. It’s praise or encouragement from a brother or sister in Christ for handling a tough situation. It’s unsolicited grace you offer others. It's saying “no” when everything in your body wants to scream “yes.” It’s praising Jesus when hell has broken loose. It’s pressing in when obedience hurts and you want nothing to do with this God walk. It’s believing in who God says you are and trusting He has equipped you with all the tools needed to complete your calling.
Our goal as followers of Christ is to be faithful with the gifts He’s placed inside of us to further the Kingdom. At the end of my life, when my eyes finally lock with His, I want Him to look at me and say “well done, good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:21, New International Version)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012.
The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. Jeremiah 1:5 in all English translations.
New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Matthew 25:21 in all English translations.
The Passion Translation (TPT) The Passion Translation®. Copyright © 2017 by BroadStreet Publishing® Group, LLC. Used by permission. All rights reserved. thePassionTranslation.com.