“Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then 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 Corinthians 6:17

Being GREEN is a phenomenon that has captured politicians, scientists, ecologists, manufacturers, and builders with the attempt to create environmentally safe products. In the medical community, we are cautioned to be “bacterially safe” with sterilization, antibacterial soaps and lotions, mouthwashes, protective clothing, etc. Our society seems to have readily accepted this idea of putting away and removing things that are harmful, unsafe, or deadly.  

Our world is not ready to do the same when it comes to moral, ethical, and religious values.

Setting people apart is not acceptable. There was a push a few years ago in education called “No Child Left Behind” to bring children up to a better educational level and not left behind by their peers. The effort was to prevent a narrowing of a class of people and racial gaps in school performance by creating common expectations for all.

Social exclusions are blocked in our societies. To polarize people into segments where people are led to believe they are not wanted, are criticized, marked, or plagued is met with all types of “ANTI” slogans. Therefore, we are told to include rather than exclude.

In religion, the thought is the same: “One church is as good as another.” “We disagree and attend a different church, but we’re going to the same place.” “Worship where you feel comfortable.” “We don’t judge anybody here.” “Come as you are.” The true term is pluralism - “a society in which different cultures or ethnic groups live together in harmony and mutual respect. There is cooperation of the various groups in the civic and economic institutions of the society and a peaceful coexistence of diverse lifestyles, folkways, manners, language patterns, religious beliefs and practices, and family structures” (Bitters).

In view of all these “ANTI” initiatives, SANCTiFICATION is a timely subject.

Sanctification is both an Old Testament and a New Testament term. It means separation - a form of ANTI; exclusion. It means set apart from the common place to be used for a special service for deity. The Greek word “hagiazo” (sanctify) means “to render or declare sacred or holy, consecrate; (2) to separate from things profane and dedicate to God to consecrate” (Thayer). The use of the word “hagiasmos” (sanctification) is used of “(a) separation to God; (b) the course of life befitting to those so separated” (Vine).

The definition of the word gives us two meanings to consider: (1) An absolute sense, as a completed activity. A Christian is sanctified, or set apart. (2) A relative sense, as a process that continues with a view to service. Number 2 comes as a result of a completed activity of sanctifying by the blood of Christ. It is an effort of being “ANTI” - separate from the world as a Christian. Therefore, a disciple of Christ’s life must be an example of sanctification as found in 2 Corinthians 7:1.

Since “ANTI is IN” within other parts of our society, why not consider the true biblical idea of “ANTI” in the word SANCTIFICATION

Separation was not a novel thing in the Old Testament, the New Testament, nor today.

The call of God to be separate is witnessed first in the Garden of Eden with the command of God to Adam and Eve in Genesis 2:16-17 to eat of certain trees, not all of them. Touch all others, but not the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

There were certain animals known as clean or unclean, certain places, services, days, and items (i.e., vessels, etc.) which were called holy unto Jehovah. There was even the word “Israel” - a word which meant sanctification or separation. It was the name God desired to call His people (Exodus 19:5-6). 

The conditions of our holiness or separation were based upon following “my covenant.” This sanctification was fulfilled by cleansing (Exodus 19:10-11). Cleansing/sanctifying became a necessity in many instances of service to God (Ex: Exodus 30:21). Cleansing was the means of bringing holiness to the service about to be given. It was the responsibility of the nation of Israel to keep the name sanctified/clean/holy. God wanted His people free from the defilement of other nations. He was their God. They were His people. They were to be separate, “ANTI,” because of holiness. They were not to make a covenant with, nor marry, those of another nation. Failure to do so would result in their unholiness/uncleanness (Deuteronomy 7:1-8).

Sanctification/holiness in the Old Testament was what set the stage for the same in the New Testament. In the New Testament, the word “Christian” means sanctification or separation. If you read 2 Peter 1:3, you will understand the process is from a sovereign God and His holiness encouraging believers in HIm to holiness. His divine power gives the believer the motive to exercise obedience. Through a process of cleansing, washing, and justification, we can be saved (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). As 2 Timothy 2:19-21 says, Christians are vessels chosen for a work in the kingdom of God and in the world as a result of removing themselves from the defilements of the world.

We understand readily what the concept of sanctification means. We have items in our houses used only for separate purposes. Certain salt/pepper shakers are for guests, not every day meals, towels for decorations not for every day use, fishing poles for big fish vs. poles for little fish, and hunting clothes vs. formal clothes. We often “sanctify” our possessions for a separate use. Therefore, sanctification in the Biblical sense should not be a foreign idea of “ANTI.” We have already adopted its form in many areas of our lives. It is time we reconciled our self to adopt the Biblical form which saves us and keeps us saved.

If we are going to say we love God, need God, want God to save us, bless us, and that we want to be where He is, sanctification must be understood as a special purpose of service. A service calling for ceasing of one thing to do another, turning from one direction to another, from living one way to another, leaving one relationship for another, putting off something to put on something else. It may be considered “ANTI,” but it is truly called sanctification.