A Series on What is Sanctification
In contrast to the Old Testament where God designates time, space, objects and people as holy, the New
Testament places a more personal focus of holiness: on Jesus Christ and the people whom the Holy Spirit is
The book of Hebrews uses the Greek verb "hagiazō," which means to "make holy, consecrate",
or "sanctify," to depict Jesus Christ as the Old Testament High Priest involved with the Levitical sacrificial
Jesus Christ is the High Priest, who enters the Holy of Holies and sanctifies His people
by making the ultimate and absolute sacrifice (Heb 9:13-14;
Continuing this imagery of Levitical worship practices and as the result of being perfectly
sanctified and free of the guilt of sin, Believers now have access to the Holy of Holies and can come into the
presence of God (Heb 10:19-20).
This Old Testament imagery of gaining access to the Holy of Holies becomes a reality with the fulfillment of
the New Covenant. Because the Believer has been sanctified, the Spirit of God can now indwell the Believer just
as the Spirit of God indwelt the Holy of Holies (Ex 25:21-22;
The Believer is metaphorically the Temple of the living God
(1 Cor 3:16;
6:19-20) and should live a life befitting as a holy vessel
(1 Thess 4:3-7).
This is the very concept that the apostle Paul speaks of to the Corinthians:
"Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness
and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what
has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are
the temple of the living God; just as God said, 'I will dwell in them and walk among them; And I will be their
God, and they shall be My people. "Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,' says the Lord. 'And
do not touch what is unclean; And I will welcome you. And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and
daughters to Me,' Says the Lord Almighty." (2 Cor 6:14-18)
Paul is exhorting Believers to sanctification: separate yourselves from your former pagan way
of life, because you are now holy, devoted and dedicated to God
(1 Cor 3:16-17). A reference to
Leviticus 26:11-12 places an emphasis of God's promise, "I will
be their God, and they will be My people."
Thus the gift of the Holy Spirit, as God promised in the New Covenant
becomes an agent of sanctification. The Holy Spirit is "another Counselor" and the "Spirit of truth"
(John 14:16-16, 25-26;
The Holy Spirit sanctifies by washing the heart and renewing the mind
The Holy Spirit sanctifies by assuring the Believer of the indwelling presence of Jesus Christ
1 Pet 1:11).
The Holy Spirit sanctifies by helping the Believer understand the Scriptures
(1 Cor 2:10-16;
The Holy Spirit sanctifies by attesting to the reality of Believer's faith, brands the Believer
as a property of God's, and guarantees his inheritance in the future completion of salvation
(2 Cor 1:21-22;
How does the Holy Spirit help the Believer live a sanctified life devoted and dedicated to God?
1. Formerly alienated, blind and deaf to God, the Believer with the Holy Spirit realizes
the reality of God's presence and reality of his relationship to God
2. While a Believer's sinful nature remains, the Holy Spirit provides the power that enables
the Believer freedom from the obligation to live according to his sinful nature
3. The Holy Spirit provides the possibility of salvation from the power of sin; but, it is
limited by the degree that the Believer "lives by the Spirit" or "led by the Spirit"
For example, the "fruit of the Spirit" is the natural product of the Holy Spirit when there
is a living relationship between God and the Believer
The nine different qualities of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and
self-control are considered a singular unit and pertain to one's relationship with God, his fellow man and
Because It produced the Bible (1 Pet 1:21),
the Holy Spirit helps one understand God's word (1 Cor 2:10-16;
Eph 3:3-6) and educates
(Tit 3:4-7) or confronts
(Eph 6:18); however, it is through one's efforts of "living
by the Spirit" and "following the lead of the Spirit" whether the fruit of the Spirit is achieved
4. The Holy Spirit helps sustain Believers during burdens and disappointments through
intercession and prayer (Rom 8:26-27). It is why Believers
are exhorted to pray "in the Sprit" (Eph 6:18).
||God the Father
||God the Son
||God the Spirit
|Fulfills the Mosaic Covenant
Mediates the New Covenant
|Agent of the New Covenant
|How does He work on Non-Believers?
||Provides the possibility and means for sanctification
Demonstrates the historical
reality that Jesus is the Son of God
|Provides the possibility and means for sanctification
||With the commencement of the New Covenant, the Holy Spirit's work is confined to the Believer;
thus, there is no work on the non-Believer
|How does He work on Believers?
Teaches what sin is
Provides an example
of what it means to be holy
Works through His word the Bible
Motives Believers to be
children without fault and pleasing to His sight
Disciplines by rebuking and educating the Believer
what holy behavior is
|Spiritual union with Jesus
Provides the power for the Believer to live a sanctified
Provides an example of what it means to be holy and a goal for full development
Provides a community of Believers who could encourage and help in the process of sanctification and be
responsible for each other
|Indwells permanently, washes the heart and renews the mind
Is the assurance of the
indwelling presence of Jesus Christ
Marks the Believer as the property of God’s and guarantees
his inheritance in the future completion of salvation
Helps the Believer understand the Bible
and provides the power to resist the power of sin
Helps in times of trouble by intercession
Provides a community of Believers to help him grow in spiritual maturity and service of God
1. Brown C ed., Dictionary of New Testament Theology Vol. 2, Grand Rapids: Zondervan
Publishing House (1979).
2. Brand C, Draper C and England A, eds., Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Nashville:
Holman Bible Publishers, (1998).
3. Youngblood RF, Bruce FF and Harrison, RK, eds., Nelson's New Illustrated Bible
Dictionary, Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers (1996).
4. Gaebelein FE, ed., The Expositor's Bible Commentary, vols. 8, 10, 11, 12, Grand
Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, (1976).
5. Swindoll CR, Zuck RB, eds., Understanding Christian Theology, Nashville: Thomas
Nelson Publishers, (2003).
6. Grudem W, Systematic Theology, Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, (1994).