Sanctification, or to sanctify, literally means “to set apart for special use or purpose”; that is, to make holy or sacred. Therefore, sanctification refers to the state or process of being set apart, i.e., “made holy”, as a vessel, full of the Holy Spirit of God. There are two other words used in the Scriptures, and depending on the context, have a similar meaning; consecrate – indicating to dedicate; and anoint – also indicating to consecrate. Let us examine the institution of sanctification as it is taught in the Holy Scriptures.

At the inception of the nation of Israel, while they were encamped at Mount Sinai, God called Moses to the top of the mountain, gave him specific instructions to go back down and warn the people not to force their way in an attempt to see the Lord which would cause many to perish. The reason was (and is) that God is Holy, and nothing or no unholy person can enter His presence or look upon Him without meeting their death, and this was the fear of individuals as recorded in the Old Testament <see Gen.32:30; Judg.13:22>. God’s instruction to Moses at Sinai was the basis of what it means to be sanctified: “Even the priests, who approach the Lord, must consecrate themselves” <Ex.19:22 (NIV); cf 1 Pet.1:15-16>. God further instructed Moses on this occasion to; “’Put limits around the mountain and set it apart as holy.'” <Ex.19:23 (NIV)> because God’s presence was on the mountain. So, here we see that God sets the standard for any person that desires to come into His presence or desires to serve Him.

This standard was established at the dedication of the Tabernacle (Tent of Meeting) by Moses; the Tabernacle and all its furnishings were anointed and consecrated; Aaron and his sons were dressed in their sacred garments, anointed and consecrated, forming a priesthood that was designed to continue “for all generations” <see Ex.40:9-15>. In this we see a pattern for all believers in Christ outlining the way that God expects each one of us in living the Christian life; the importance of this is also emphasized in the New Testament: “…without holiness no one will see the Lord.” <Heb.12:14 (NIV)>; furthermore, we are instructed that “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified” <1 Thess.4:3 (NIV); 1 Pet.2:9>. Thus, sanctification is a very important subject for all believers in Christ.

Since the basic meaning of sanctification is separation, the Scriptures teach that each believer in Christ is separated or set apart unto God for Him to use us in His service as He pleases. This was true of the priests in the Old Testament <Ex.40:12-15>, and is also true of believers in the New Testament. But here we see that it has a twofold meaning; separation from evil from the example given in the Old Testament <see 2 Chron.29:5, 15-16>; and separation unto God as instructed in the New Testament <see 2 Cor.6:14-17>; “…let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God” <2 Cor.7:1 (NIV)>. In recognition of the holiness of God, each and every believer in Christ must be separate from all that is evil and be separated unto God.

Our Sanctification is originated in three ways: first by God the Father <see 1 Thess.5:23-24>; secondly by God the Son <Eph.5:26; cf Jn.3:5; Tit.3:5; 1 Pet.1:23>; and third, by the Holy Spirit <see 2 Thess.2:13>; all three Persons of the Godhead participates in out sanctification. The methods of sanctification include: spending much time in reading and studying the Scriptures; “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” <Jn.17:17 (NIV)>, the Word of God not only brings us to salvation, it also keeps us, purifies us, and keeps us sanctified. We are also kept sanctified by the shed blood of Christ, “And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood.” <Heb.13:12 (NIV)>, as the Word of God reveals sin in our lives the blood of Christ cleanses us <see 1 Jn.1:9>. We are also disciplined through the Word of God so that we can continue in our sanctification, “…… God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.” <Heb.12:10 (NIV)>. Reading and studying the Word of God also teaches us to surrender ourselves to God’s holy way of living, “I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness.” <Rom.6:19 (NIV)>. Each individual believer therefore, plays a part in their sanctification by searching for the sin in their life, judging it, putting it out of their life, and praying for the help of the Holy Spirit to live a holy life <2 Cor.7:1>.

“When I was a child, my minister father brought home a 12-year-old boy named Roger, whose parents had died from a drug overdose. There was no one to care for Roger, so my folks decided they’d just raise him as if he were one of their own sons. At first it was quite difficult for Roger to adjust to his new home–an environment free of heroin-addicted adults! Every day, several times a day, I heard my parents saying to Roger: “No, no. That’s not how we behave in this family.” “No, no. You don’t have to scream or fight or hurt other people to get what you want.” “No, no, Roger, we expect you to show respect in this family.” And in time Roger began to change. Now, did Roger have to make all those changes in order to become a part of the family? No. He was made a part of the family simply by the grace of my father. But did he then have to do a lot of hard work because he was in the family? You bet he did. It was tough for him to change, and he had to work at it. But he was motivated by gratitude for the incredible love he had received. Do you have a lot of hard work to do now that the Spirit has adopted you into God’s family? Certainly. But not in order to become a son or a daughter of the heavenly Father. No, you make those changes because you are a son or daughter. And every time you start to revert back to the old addictions to sin, the Holy Spirit will say to you, “No, no. That’s not how we act in this family.”[Source: Perfect Illustrations. Citation: Craig Barnes, author and pastor of National Presbyterian Church; Washington, D.C.; from sermon “The Blessed Trinity” (5-30-99)]. The assurance then to a sanctified life is the continuous appropriation of our Saviour’s holy life, and the measure of our sanctification is in relation to that appropriation.

The question that could be asked is: When, or at what time are we sanctified? Here we find that there are many opinions, but as we study the Scriptures, we find that there are at least three phases. First, we find that sanctification is instantaneous with our conversion; in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians addressing their conversion he states; “…But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” <1 Cor.6:11 (NIV)> where sanctification is seen as a past experience. Secondly, we find that it is a progressive undertaking, the instant that some sin is revealed to us we need to take action by confession to God and seek His cleansing; “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it — he will be blessed in what he does.” <Jas.1:22-25 (NIV)>, and we find that this is a continuous task. Thirdly, our sanctification will one day be complete and final, for we know that Christ will return to fulfill His promise <Jn.14:1-3>, at which time we will be forever completely sanctified – made fully perfect, for we know that we will be changed to be like Him; “But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.” <1 Jn.3:2-3 (NIV); cf Phil.3:12-14; 1 Thess.4:15-17>.

What then is the reason why we should be sanctified? The simple answer is that our Lord Jesus Christ has set the example for us to follow; “For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message”” <Jn.17:19-20 (NIV)>, and we further read that “even Christ did not please himself…” <Rom.15:3a> because He came to obey and do His Father’s will, so it is appropriate for all His followers to keep endeavouring for holiness. And so, we find that our sanctification will result in our perfection through Christ, so where there is a longing for holiness, we need to be always confessing our sins to God, for this is how we attain the perfection that we need to have in and through Christ; “because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” <Heb.10:14 (NIV)>; and in so doing we can be sanctified for His use and service; “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.” <Rom.6:22 (NIV)>.

Similar to everything else that is godly, sanctification has a cost, we as believers in Christ need to break away from the sin and uncleanness in our lives, and maintain a sanctified lifestyle in complete obedience to the Word of God; there must be immediate confession of sin to God; there must be a conscious submission to God and resistance to Satan, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” <Jas.4:7 (NIV)>; and be a regular and faithful student of God’s Word.

“People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated.”  [Source: Perfect Illustrations-Compromise. Citation: D. A. Carson, quoted in “Reflections,” Christianity Today (7-31-00)]. “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” <1 Cor.10:12 (NIV)>.

Therefore, let us remember the words of our Saviour that the preaching of His gospel is: “…to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’” <Acts 26:18 (NIV)> and we are sure of this because: “The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.” <1 Thess.5:24 (NIV)>.


Conversion or the new birth, and regeneration, are one and the same. Conversion is the act of turning from sin to Christ; and regeneration is to be made a new human being by the power of The Holy Spirit. The New birth or Regeneration is the means that brings us into the family of God and the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, it is the door to salvation and to a heavenly home. The one and only way to become a Christian is to be born again by the power of The Holy Spirit <see Jn.3:3; 14:6>. Regeneration is the creation of a new life in a person, and is referred to as “a new creation”, it is an event and not a process, it occurs in a second as the individual passes from the darkness of sin to the light of the gospel.

What does it mean to be “born again”? If a search is done on the internet there will be many links on the subject; movies, games, religious movements, and many others. But the important question is: Who needs to be born again? Biblically, the Scriptures teach that every individual on this earth needs to be born again. The next question will be: Why do I need to be born again? The answer to this question will depend upon the individual that asks the question, their life situation, their lifestyle and so on; but the real reason is that the Scriptures teach that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” <Rom.3:23 (NIV)>; and the result of this condition is: “the wages of sin is death” <Rom.6:23 (NIV)>; the Law of God demands the death of the sinner; in this life this death is experienced as a total disregard for God and a life of rebellion against God, and after death it is a total separation from God, His heaven and His kingdom. This type of lifestyle leads each individual to seek spiritual satisfaction in everything that life has to offer except that which is of God. “Oscar-winning actor Gary Busey has starred in over 60 films, including such hits as Lethal Weapon and The Firm, but Busey’s off-screen party-boy reputation and arrest record is center stage. After attending a Promise Keepers conference, his life changed dramatically. When asked if he thought about God when he was sinking into depravity, Busey states: “Of course not. There’s no way to think about God. There’s no reason to . . . ’cause your number-one relationship is with the dark side of you. . .. I learned that addiction is a failed search for spirituality.”” (Perfect Illustrations – Citation: ADDICTION-Melissa Park; Des Plaines, Illinois; source: The 700 Club, CBN). This type of lifestyle is repeated many times each day by other individuals searching for spiritually; but there are those that live a so called “clean lifestyle”; they never become involved with drugs or criminal offences, they are the faithful church attendees and social “good workers” always citing their good works as their ticket to heaven; but this is not what God requires. Christ said this to Nicodemus; “Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”” <Jn.3:3 (NIV)>. Later on, in His teaching Christ also said: ““I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” <Jn.14:6 (NIV)>, indicating that there is only one way to be born again which is through acceptance of His sacrificial death and resurrection, and there are no exceptions or substitutions to this.

“Isn’t it grossly arrogant for Christians to claim Jesus is the one and only way to God? Why do Christians think they’re justified in asserting that they’re right and that everybody else in the world is wrong?” [Source: Lee Strobel – The Case For Faith; Objection #5: There’s Only One Way to God.] Without delving into too much of the details of this article by Lee Strobel, let us examine the source of this statement: the claim is not made by Christians, the claim has been made by Jesus Christ Himself, Christians are only repeating the claim as the gospel message is shared; so, I will end this quotation by another of Strobel’s statements: “But sometimes it’s not the manner in which the Christians try to spread their faith that’s offensive. Sometimes people are simply reacting to the message itself.” When one desires to enter and reside in the home of a neighbour or some important citizen, such entrance must be at the home-owner’s decree. Thus, entrance to God’s dwelling must be at God’s decree.

The fact is that there is nothing that any individual can personally do to be born again <see Gal.6:15; Jer.13:23; 17:9>. The universal sinful condition of mankind demands a new birth, and the holiness of God demands that all be born again <Heb.12:14>; such holiness is foreign to the sinful individual and can only be attained through the new birth; to live the life that God expects we must have the new nature of God within us – God’s own holy nature.

The New Birth (Regeneration) is not baptism. Baptism is simply a Church ordinance signifying that the individual is a Christian who identifies with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection, and wishes to live a Christ directed life. Neither is the New Birth a reformation; for reformation is the act of turning from certain evils while regeneration is the supernatural act of God, it is a complete turning about-face from all evil. Previously stated, all humankind have been born with the sin-nature, and there is nothing that we can do to alter or reform the old sinful nature, so there has to be a spiritual rebirth – a new creation; we need God’s Holy Nature within us; our first birth was physical, our second birth is spiritual: “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world” <Eph.2:1-2; (NIV)>; “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” <2 Cor.5:17 (NIV)>.

How then, is the New Birth accomplished? First, one hears and responds to the Word of God <see Jas.1:18; 1 Pet.1:23; Gal.3:2>; the New Birth is faith created – by hearing and acknowledging the Word of God. Secondly, The Holy Spirit convicts and then converts the individual, which is the act of bringing the individual into the kingdom of God, spiritual life is precipitated by the Holy Spirit <see Jn.3:5-6, 8>. Regeneration is a creative act of God and not a reformative act of mankind; God is the source, Christ is the means, the administrator is the Holy Spirit, and the method is by believing the Word of God and receiving Christ as Saviour: “He [Christ] came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” <Jn.1:11-13 (NIV); see Rom.1:16; 1 Pet.1:25>.

The New Birth is evidenced in the life of the believer by the fact that the person who is born again endeavors to live a righteous life, since the new nature of God within us cannot sin <1 Jn.2:29; 3:9; 5:18a>. The individual will also make every effort to fulfill Christ’s command to love <Lk.10:27; Jn.13:34-35; 1 Jn.4:7>; and most important, believes that Jesus is the Christ <1 Jn.5:1a>. Thus, the New Life exhibits a change in attitude, mind and actions; sin is hated and Christ is loved; a total change of life!

Therefore, without Regeneration; “Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”” <Jn.3:3 (NIV)>, which means that the New Life is required for all who expect and desire to entre God’s heaven; and those who have accepted Christ’s invitation through The Word of God are a “new creation” and will enter God’s heaven for this is Christ’s promise and our hope: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” <2 Cor.5:17 (NIV)>; “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” <Jn.14:2-3 (NIV)>.

There are many who live and die in this world who have not experienced the New Birth, they die with no hope: “Philip Yancey describes a unique funeral custom conducted by African Muslims. Close family and friends circle the casket and quietly gaze at the corpse. No singing. No flowers. No tears. A peppermint candy is passed to everyone. At a signal, each one puts the candy in his or her mouth. When the candy is gone, each participant is reminded that life for this person is over. They believe life simply dissolves. No eternal life. No hope.” (Perfect Illustrations – DEATH WITHOUT HOPE Citation: Philip Yancey, Where Is God When It Hurts? (Zondervan, 1997); submitted by Van Morris; Mount Washington, Kentucky)

In who or what is your hope? Will your life just dissolve? Do you hope for heaven? You can only attain everlasting life in heaven through the New Birth.

COLOSSIANS 2-2 (c) (2, 3) [4/12/20]

(c) Personal Commands for Holiness <3:18-4:6>

(2). Holiness in Work Life    <3:22—4:1>

“Slaves, obey your earthly masters” <3:22 (NIV)> Just as we are called upon to be obedient to our “Heavenly Master”, Paul urges us to be obedient to our “earthly masters”; and we should be obedient “in everything”. Here again, he is not suggesting that if we are called upon to break the law of God or country that we should do so when requested by our employer, rather, what he is suggesting is that we display the love that we have for God in our willingness to please the request of our employer. Furthermore, we should show our respect “not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.” (NIV), understanding that a good employer allows us to carry out our duties, doing so with the ability and knowledge of our job, for we know that in the end we will have to account for our actions whether good or bad. So, our willingness to be obedient should be “a sincere expression of your devotion to God” (J.B. Phillips). The goal of all our obedience should be sincerity and reverence for The Lord, and “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” <3:23 (NIV)>, knowing that your real reward, “a heavenly one, will come from God” (J.B. Phillips), for in our obedience to our earthly masters we display our respect and reverence to God, “It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” <3:24 (NIV)>.

“Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven.” <4:1 (NIV)>. Paul reminds all employers of their responsibilities – “be fair and just towards those whom you employ, never forgetting that you yourselves have a heavenly employer” (J.B. Phillips). So often employees decide to stand for their rights for unreasonable demands and lack of fair compensation from their employer, but believers in Christ should continue to serve God and understand that God will command everyone to give an account for our motivations and actions towards one another and to His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ <see Rom.14:10b-12; Matt12:36-37>, so, whether or not our earthly employer believes or does not believe, there will be a day of accountability.

(3). Holiness in Public Life   <4:2-6>

Here Paul describes what the Christian’s prayer life should be like; “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” <4:2 (NIV)> We need to dedicate ourselves to a life of prayer in which we do not “give up”, for our hope is in the Lord our God; we need to be faithful in prayer, praying at all times and in all circumstances Lk.18:1; Isa.40:31; Rom.1:10a; 12:12; Eph.6:18>. We should also remember to praise and thank God for ways in which He responds to our prayer. When this is our mind-set, God will open ways for us to share the gospel.

He also addresses the Christian behaviour in his statement “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders” <4:5 (NIV)>, meaning that we should “be wise in our behaviour toward non-Christians” (J.B. Phillips), especially in what we say to them in conversation. In his translation, J.B. Phillips expresses it “Speak pleasantly to them, but never sentimentally, and learn how to give a proper answer to every question.” <4:6>; and when we consider this, the only way that we can give a proper answer to their questions is for us to know what the Scriptures teach. Let us all consider that hurried formal devotions, thoughtless disregard for others and idle words, too often are characteristic of our lives; far removed from the ideal expressed in this segment; “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” <Eph.4:29 (NIV)>


COLOSSIANS 2-2 (c)(1) [4/3/20]


(c).  Personal Commands for Holiness <3:18—4:6>

             (1). Holiness in Family Life  <3:18-21>

Holiness, sanctity, or godliness is necessary in the families of all believers in Christ since we are to allow the teachings of Christ to guide us in every aspect of our lives; so here Paul addresses each member of the family.

“Wives, submit” <3:18 (NIV)>. What does he mean by “submit”? A check of the word in the Webster’s Dictionary gives the following meanings: to give over or yield; to subject to; to defer to; and if these are applied directly to the context of what Paul is teaching here it may give an incorrect concept. In his letter to the Ephesian Church he uses the same word in relation to how believers are to conduct themselves: “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” <Eph.5:21 (NIV)>, and we should notice here that submission should be due to our respect for Christ in the sense of what He has done for us individually. We respect Him because of His great mercy that He has shown to us in forgiving and accepting us in kind-heartedness considering what we were, and this should be the attitude that we show to each other as we read earlier <see Col.3:14, 16-17>. Paul also indicates that this is a direct result of The Holy Spirit working in and through us <Eph.5:18b>. Paul also teaches the reason for submission: “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church” <Eph.5:22 (NIV)>; so here we see that submission is more of a peace-making attitude that should be seen in “wives“, as they recognize the spiritual position of their husband in the home – “head of his wife as Christ is head of the Church”, and the truth that Christ was in submission to His Father <see Heb.5:7-8>. It should also be observed and understood that the Scriptures use the word submit and not obey in respect to wives; also that Christ is not  to be replaced by the husband but the wife should submit as an act of submission to Christ <Eph.5:24>.

“Husbands, love your wives” <3:19 (NIV)>; again Paul expands on this statement in his letter to the Ephesian Church: “just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” <Eph.5:25 (NIV)>; a higher expression of devotion than what the wife is called to do – “give himself up”, the example is what Christ has done for The Church. Husbands are further encouraged to “love their wives as their own bodies” <Eph.5:28 (NIV)> for he says that no one ever hated his own body but feeds and cares for it as Christ has done for the Church.

“Children, obey your parents in everything” <3:30 (NIV)>; he expresses it to the Ephesians “obey your parents in the Lord” <Eph.6:1 (NIV); cf Acts 5:29> which suggests that such obedience should be in accordance with what is taught by Scripture. Respect of parents is taught by Scripture and was the first command with a promise “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth” <Eph.6:3; cf Deut.5:16>.

“Fathers, do not embitter your children” <3:21 (NIV); Eph.6:4>; Fathers are not to corrupt or frustrate their children in forcing them to be obedient in sinful actions in consideration that the command is that they should obey their parents; “instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” <Eph.6:4 (NIV); cf Deut.6:5-9>; the duty of every believing parent is to offer continual Scriptural instruction and example to their children, for it is in the home that they will see the influence of Scripture; but when there are conflicting or questionable instructions the children become cynical about our Christianity. The responsibility of parental instruction should not be left entirely to the Church leaders.

Unfortunately, hurried devotions, thoughtless disregard for others, and idle and unkind words often characterize our lives. So godliness begins with the family, and when each family abides by Paul’s, and Scriptural teaching, the Church as a whole becomes a godly institution and spreads the gospel by example.