When our Lord was praying for His disciples on the night before His Cross, He identified for us the means and manner of God’s ultimate protection for every believer. That protection is found in the Greek word HAGIAZO – ἁγιάζω (hag-ee-ad’-zo) which is translated here as, “sanctify.”
HAGIAZO means, “to cleanse, purify, consecrate, make holy, or sanctify,” that also means, “to be set apart as sacred to God, or to be separated from profane things and dedicated to God.”
HAGIAZO not only is used for “sanctify,” but it is used for “holy” and “saint,” especially in its root word HAGIOS – ἅγιος (hag’-ee-os).
L.S. Chafer defines “sanctify” with its various forms (i.e., holy and saint) as such.
“This word, which is used 106 times in the Old Testament and 31 times in the New, means, ‘to set apart,’ and then the state of being set apart. It indicates classification in matters of position and relationship. The basis of the classification is usually that the sanctified person (or thing) has been set apart, or separated, from others in his position and relationship before God, that is, from that which proves unholy.” (Systematic Theology, Volume 7.)
The Bible tells us that, at the moment of our salvation, we have been sanctified or set apart by God from sin and the sinner forever.
It also tells us that from the moment of our salvation until our death or rapture, (i.e., our lives here on planet earth), God wants us to walk in that sanctification or holiness that He has given to us.
In addition, the Bible tells us that when God takes us home to heaven, either by death or the Rapture, we will, for the rest of eternity, be living in that sanctification.
Therefore, we see that there are three categories of sanctification in the Plan of God for every believer; Positional, Experiential, and Ultimate.
Likewise, your Experiential Sanctification does not determine your Positional or Ultimate Sanctification; they are mutually exclusive, albeit, to experience your sanctification, you must possess it positionally.
Therefore, in the case of the positionally sanctified person, the moral change in that person’s life may not be the result of sanctification; but no person or thing is sanctified without being set apart or classified as positionally sanctified.
First and foremost, any true sanctification that man receives comes from, and is made possible by, the completed work of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ upon the Cross of Calvary.
John 17:19, “For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.”
Heb 10:10, 14, “By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all…. 14For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.”
Heb 13:12, “Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate.”
1 Cor 1:2. “To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.”
When John 17:17 tells us that we are “sanctified” by “truth, God’s Word” there are two things in view.
- Our Positional and Ultimate Sanctification Comes by Faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is Found in the Word of God.
Eph 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word.”
2 Thes 2:13, “But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.”
- Our Experiential Sanctification Comes by Our Faith Application of the Mystery Doctrines for the Church Age when Filled with God the Holy Spirit.
John 17:17, 19, “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. … For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.”
1 Cor 6:11, “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.”
As John 17 indicates, each type of sanctification gives us protection.
- Positional Sanctification says that we have been purchased with the blood of Christ from the slave market of sin, and therefore are protected from the penalty of our own sins (i.e., the Eternal Lake of Fire).
Acts 26:18, “To open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.”
Gal 3:13, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law (sin), having become a curse for us—for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE”.”
1 Peter 1:18-19, “Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers (human works), 19but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.”
Acts 20:28, “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.”
Rev 5:9, “And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation”.”
- Experiential Sanctification protects us from the schemes of the devil, John 17:15-17. This protection is the result of being filled with the Holy Spirit, 1 John 1:9 with Eph 5:18, and having the Word of God resident within our soul and applied in faith.
John 17:15-17, “I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep (TEREO – Protect), them from the evil one. 16They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.”
1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Eph 5:26, “That He might both sanctify her (Church – Experientially), having cleansed (LOUO – Positionally) her by means of the washing from the water of the Word (Bible doctrine).”
1 Peter 1:22, “Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart.”
- Ultimate Sanctification protects us for all of eternity from having anything to do whatsoever with sin or evil and their results, 1 Cor 15:54-57; Rev 21:4, 27; 22:3.
1 Cor 15:54-57, “But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory. 55“O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?” 56The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; 57but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Rev 21:4, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”
Rev 21:27, “And nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”
Rev 22:3, “And there shall no longer be any curse.”
1 Thes 5:23 incorporates all three as protection provided for us by God.
1 Thes 5:23-24, “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you in every part, (i.e., Positionally, Experientially and Ultimately); and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved (TEREO – protected) complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.
Therefore, because of our Sanctification made possible by our Lord Jesus Christ and His Work upon the Cross, death is not just a hopeless thought of loss or the end of things, actually it is a new beginning.
That is why Paul states in 1 Thes 4:13-18, “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep (have died), so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. 14For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 15For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 18Therefore comfort one another with these words.”
John 11:25-26, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, 26and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”
1 John 4:9-10 tells us, “By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation, (perfectly satisfactory sacrifice), for our sins.”
1 John 2:2, “And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.”
John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
John 4:14 15 says, “We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. 15Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.”
Therefore, we should:
1 Peter 3:15, “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.”