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Jesus had a lot to say about sanctification in the Book of John,
chapter 17. In verse 16 the Lord says, “They are not of the world,
even as I am not of the world,” and this is before His request:
“Sanctify them in the truth: Thy word is truth.” Sanctification is a
state of separation unto God; all believers enter into this state
when they are born of God: “But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who
became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification
and redemption” (1
Corinthians 1:30). This is a once-for-ever separation, eternally
unto God. It is an intricate part of our salvation, our connection
with Christ (Hebrews

Sanctification also refers to the practical experience of this
separation unto God, being the effect of obedience to the Word of
God in one’s life, and is to be pursued by the believer earnestly (1
Peter 1:15;

Hebrews 12:14). Just as the Lord prayed in John 17, it has in
view the setting apart of believers for the purpose for which they
are sent into the world: “As Thou didst send Me into the world, even
so send I them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify
Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth” (v.
18, 19). That He set Himself apart for the purpose for which He was
sent is both the basis and the condition of our being set apart for
that for which we are sent (John
10:36). His sanctification is the pattern of, and the power for,
ours. The sending and the sanctifying are inseparable. On this
account they are called saints, hagioi in the Greek; “sanctified
ones.” Whereas previously their behavior bore witness to their
standing in the world in separation from God, now their behavior
should bear witness to their standing before God in separation from
the world.

There is one more sense that the word sanctification is referred to
in Scripture. Paul prayed in

1 Thessalonians 5:23, “The God of peace Himself sanctify you
wholly; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved entire,
without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Paul also
wrote in Colossians of “the hope which is laid up for you in the
heavens, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the
Gospel” (Colossians
1:5). He later speaks of Christ Himself as “the hope of glory” (Colossians
1:27) and then mentions the fact of that hope when he says,
“When Christ, who is our Life, shall be manifested, then shall ye
also with Him be manifested in glory” (Colossians
3:4). This glorified state will be our ultimate separation from
sin, total sanctification in every aspect. “Beloved, now we are
children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be,
but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we
shall see Him as He is” (1
John 3:2).

To summarize, sanctification is the same Greek word as holiness, “hagios,”
meaning a separation. First, a once-for-all positional separation
unto Christ at our salvation. Second, a practical progressive
holiness in a believer’s life while awaiting the return of Christ.
Third, we will be changed into His perfect likeness—holy,
sanctified, and completely separated from the presence of evil.

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