Copyright Rev. Stanley L. Derickson Ph.D. 1992



"If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, [who is] our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory." Col. 3:1-4

Thiessen suggests: "we may define sanctification as a separation to God, an imputation of Christ as our holiness, purification from moral evil, and conformation to the image of Christ. This statement needs further elaboration." He takes over a page to do so. (Thiessen, Henry C.; "LECTURES IN SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY"; Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1949)

The terms for holiness and sanctification in the New Testament are very similar. The terms translated sanctify and sanctification are of the same family as terms translated holy.

The Greek term translated sanctify, sanctified and sanctifieth is Strong's number 37. This is the word "hagiazo." It is translated holy in Rev 22:1 (speaking of holy living), and hallowed in the Lord's prayer (hallowed by thy name, Mat 6:9; Lu. 11:2).

A related term (Strong's 38) is the term translated sanctification. It is "hagiasmos." It is also translated holiness at times. (Rom. 6:19; Rom. 6:22) The word seems to relate to something being set apart.

Another related term is "hagion" which is translated "sanctuary" or "holy place." It is only used in the book of Hebrews. All of the related terms refer to holiness or sanctification.

WE GOT IT. WE GET IT. WE'LL GET IT. Sanctification is both an event and a process.

We are set apart for the Lord's purposes. He should direct us into that which He desires for us. This is dependent upon our willingness to follow.

We need to mention two terms which have been covered in detail elsewhere. Standing and state relate to this study. Standing is that which we have in Christ before God. These are things which we have automatically when we are converted. Our state is the way we are living. We can live in a sinful state, or we can live in a state of relative holiness. So, standing is what we are before God and state is what we are living like before God.

As an event sanctification is an event of standing, something which happens at the moment of salvation. Believers are sanctified no mater what their state is. You can be submerged in sin (state), yet you are sanctified in God's eyes (standing). We are set apart whether we act like it or not. If we are living for God, then we are sanctified in both our standing and state.

I Cor. 1:2 mentions, "Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called [to be] saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:" This pictures the sanctification before God. It is something that is a done deal.

Sanctification as a process is the process by which we make ourselves, with God's help, sanctified. Col. 3:4-13 mentions things that we as believer are to do. Take a moment to read this passage.

In this passage we are encouraged to "Mortify" our members. Verse 8 tells us to put off the works of our former life. Verses 10-12 tell us to put on the new man - the works of the sanctified person, as opposed to the works of the lost life.

We are sanctified in God's eyes, yet this is not complete. We still have that state in which we sin. There is a day in the future, when we will reside in our glorified bodies when we will be finally and completely sanctified for all of eternity. God will see to this event for all that have accepted His Son's work on the cross.

Let me list some references and comments which will cover the sanctification of the believer.


GOD SANCTIFIED US: Jude 1; I Thess. 5:23.

CHRIST PROVIDED FOR IT: Eph. 5:26; Heb. 2:11; Heb. 13:12. With his blood (Heb. 13:12) and His body (Heb. 10:10). Righteousness and redemption are also linked to sanctification, in relation to Christ's provision. I cor. 1:30.

THE HOLY SPIRIT ENACTED IT: Rom. 15:16; I Cor. 6:11; I Pet. 1:2.


GOD DESIRES SANCTIFICATION: Sanctification is God's will. I Thess. 4:3 "For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication;" It should be our desire as well. We need to see to it that our mental faculties bring about decisions which keep us in a state of sanctification. (In our state. We have nothing to do with our standing sanctification. It is complete and set by God.)

WE ARE TO SET GOD APART IN OUR LIVES: The Lord's prayer (Matt. 6:9) uses the term of God's name. "Hallowed be thy name" This relates to using the Lord's name improperly. His name should be something that we set apart for only Him.

He should be uppermost in our lives. I Pet. 3:15 "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts" He should rule our lives. This is our decision. Either we allow him to or we rule ourselves.

WE ARE TO SET OURSELVES APART FOR GOD: II Tim. 2:21 "If a man, therefore, purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and fit for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work." That seems to be self explanatory!

WE CAN SET OBJECTS APART FOR GOD'S USE: This was done in the Old Testament. II Chron. 29:17 "So they sanctified the house of the Lord" This might relate to building dedications. As long as the service is centered on God, and the buildings use for Him, it would be quite appropriate to dedicate a building. (Or possibly an airplane for missionary service, etc.)

Sanctification for food is mentioned in I Tim. 4:4,5 "For every creature of god is good, and nothing is to be refused, if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer."

A question might have come to your mind. Just how does sanctification relate to salvation. We have seen that it is something which takes place at salvation. We have seen that it is a provision of God through Christ. We have also seen that it has other aspects, but how does it relate to salvation? Let us consider this for a moment.

1. We, at salvation, are set apart for God, or should we maybe say unto Christ. John 6:39-40 "And this is the Father's will who hath sent me, that of all that he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day." This text seems to show two things. First, God has given the believer to Christ, and secondly, He will take care of those given Him unto eternity.

2. Romans 8:28 and following indicate that there was a setting apart in eternity past. It is related to the predestination of some unto salvation. I Pet. 1:2 also relates to this train of thought. "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God, the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:"

3. We are a peculiar people. Eph. 1:14 "Who is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession unto the praise of his glory." ("purchased possession" is the same term translated a peculiar people in I Pet 2:9)

Notice here that we have redemption tied to possession. Christ bought us to be a possession. The term redemption has the idea of "buy out of the market." This idea of sanctification seems to be the setting apart of the believer after the price has been paid. The taking home of the product, or the servant if you will.

Eph. 1:4 may well be the clincher to this thinking. "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him, in love." Chosen to stand before him without blame!

Another passage which ties in well with this is I Pet. 1:20, "Who [Christ] verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you," Christ was foreordained to die for those that were predestinated to be His peculiar people or His possession! He purchased us (redemption).

Sanctification is an event which takes place at salvation. It is also a process as we attempt to maintain holy lives. We are set apart in standing before God, but we are to be set apart in our state as we live before Him.


"Once there lived another man within me,

Child of earth and slave of Satan he;

But I nailed him to the cross of Jesus,

And that man is nothing now to me.

Now Another Man is living in me,

And I count His blessed life as mine;

I have died with Him to all my own life;

I have ris'n to all His life divine."

 Rev. A. B. Simpson.

We are to be holy people, or set apart for His purposes. I Pet. 1:16 "Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am Holy." A simple instruction! God is Holy and that is the example that we are to follow!

We must make the decision as to how we live this life that we have been given.


"An eminent Eastern divine was riding, some years ago, on one of two railways which ran side by side for a mile or two, and then diverged, ending at points far distant from each other. Sitting with him was a clergyman of 'liberal' views, who had what he supposed to be an unanswerable question to ask.

"'You orthodox have among you regenerate souls, as you call them, who are proud, and penurious, and uncomfortable to others, as husbands, fathers, and friends. Then, too, you have unregenerate sinners who are amiable and genial, public spirited, and, in short, make for the present, at least, a better show than the saints. Now, I want to know the real difference between the worst Christian and the best sinner.'

"Just then, his friend, looking out the car window, saw another train moving by their side, and said, 'You see that other train?'


"'With the same number of cars as ours?'


"'And the two engines are alike?'

"' Yes.'

"'Not much difference as to looks between them?'


"'But, my dear friend, they are running on different tracks!'"

Lorenz, (Stuber, Stanley I. and Clark, Thomas Curtis; "TREASURY OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH"; New York: Association Press, 1949)

Many years ago I picked up a quote from somewhere, I know not where. It is great for our thoughts so I would like to share it. "Sow a THOUGHT, and you reap an ACT. Sow an ACT, and you reap a HABIT. Sow a HABIT, and you reap a CHARACTER. Sow a CHARACTER, and you reap a DESTINY."

So it is with the life of holiness. A thought moves to being an act, which if repeated becomes a habit, which becomes part of your character, and that becomes part of your destiny. You will become a holy person.