Monday Musings – What Does Sanctification Mean?

I remember the first time I heard the word sanctification and thinking to myself, ‘I have no idea what you are talking about right now.’

Admittedly, I am not an intelligent gal, and my word vocabulary is minuscule at best. As a result, I tend to shy away from big words. But it is vital for me and you to know the definition of the word  ‘sanctification.’

The simple definition is “being holy or becoming holy; a growing in holiness; the process of becoming sanctified, holy, consecrated to God; set apart from sin.”

When I read that, I think of action.

I should be growing in holiness, becoming more holy because God is holy.

1 Peter 1:16, “Be holy, because I am holy.”

Let’s look at some background for sanctification from the Bible.

1 Corinthians 1:2, “To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours,”

The footnote says, “sanctified in Christ Jesus – consecrated to the service of God through Christ’s saving action in their lives – as Jesus had “sanctified” himself. Such consecration to God’s service marks them as “holy” (set apart for God, and requires that they be morally “holy.”

Produced by:

  • God  – 1 Thessalonians 5:23
  • Jesus Christ – Hebrews 2:11
  • Holy Spirit – 1 Peter 1:2
  • Truth – John 17:17-19
  • Christ’s blood – Hebrews 9:14
  • Prayer – 1Timothy 4:4-5

Holiness of Christians

In their calling:

  • Elected to – Romans 8:29
  • Called to – 1 Thessalonians 4:7
  • Created in – Ephesians 4:24
  • Possessed by – 1 Corinthians 3:16-17

In their lives:

  • Bodies- Romans 8:29
  • Manner of life – 1 Peter 1:15
  • Fruitfulness – John 15:8

Reasons for sanctification:

  • God’s holiness – 1 Peter 1:15-16
  • Christ’s love – 2 Corinthians 5:14-15
  • Inheritance in the kingdom – Ephesians 5:5

Let’s look at some passages from 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 to illustrate what sanctification looks like. 

“Finally, then brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus.

For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you.

For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who goes his Holy Spirit to you.”


My Bible commentary says, “The main concept or theme in these verses is sanctification. The term occurs three times in the above passages. This sanctification is to be understood as the process of being separated from sin and set apart to God’s holiness…God wants believers to separate from all that is evil, flesh, and impure.

The Apostle Paul notes three aspects of sanctification.

First, he gave a general idea related to sanctification. To walk is a well-known metaphor for “living the Christian life.” It is the verb peripateo, which literally means to “walk around” used figuratively of the way believers or anyone behaves or conducts daily life.

Second, he gave a negative idea about sanctification. They must abstain from sexual immorality. The term abstain means “do not practice or engage in at all. In this case, it means staying completely away from any thought or behavior that violates the principles of God’s word and results in any form of illicit sexual behavior.

Third, regarding sanctification, Paul gave a positive idea. Each person was to possess his own vessel. This is an individual responsibility.

In the passages above from 1 Thessalonians, Paul is encouraging the Thessalonians who were experiencing severe temptation to immorality to get married as a way to fend off sexual sin.


“Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16

Why is sanctification important?

  1. It pleases the Lord.
  2. Being set apart is God’s will.
  3. Being set apart is proof that believers know God and know better than the unbelievers who do not know God. 
  4. Being set apart is the only way to avoid the Lord’s judgment since the Lord is the avenger in all things.
  5. Being set apart is the position to which God has called us.

Let’s wrap it up. 

The Lord calls us to be holy as He is holy. Ephesians 4:22-24 says that we are to put off the old self, which belongs to our former life and be renewed in the spirit of our minds, putting on the new self, created after the likeness of God. 

I hope you enjoyed today’s lesson on sanctification. 

Focus questions.

Are you living your life to please the Lord?

Can you say that you are setting the old you aside and growing in your relationship with Christ?

Are you walking by the Spirit or being led by your fleshly desires?

What about pursuing things that are displeasing to the Lord? Are you pursuing righteousness?

Pray and ask the Lord to show you if there is any way in you that is not pleasing to him. Don’t be afraid of the answer. 


Bible Gateway – Scriptures

30 Days to Understanding the Bible

Be Holy, not unholy!



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