Complete Sanctification of the Spirit, Soul and body
Written by arkwriter   
Tuesday, 28 July 2009 16:51







“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thess. 5:23) 


The word “sanctification” means separation or set apart for God’s holy use. It is connected to the holiness of God. Man is composed of three elements; the spirit, soul and body. “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” (Gen. 2:7). “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Gen. 1:27) Every person on earth has a spirit, soul and body. After Adam and Eve sinned against God their image was lost. Their bodies continued to live but their spirits and souls had died. But God did not create man in vain. His purpose was not lost forever.



 Sanctification through the Lord Jesus Christ  

After the Fall God had promised to restore man to his original state by sending His own Son Jesus Christ who alone has his image. “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.” (Col. 1:15-17) The Lord Jesus Christ is the only Person who can restore man to the image of God. He can sanctify us completely - spirit, soul and body.  

“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone. For it is fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the author of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren.” (Heb. 2:9-11) 

By His suffering and death on the cross the Lord Jesus Christ completed the work necessary for our salvation. Our suffering can make us more sensitive servants of God. We who have been sanctified or set apart for God’s service, cleansed and made holy by Jesus now have the same Father He has, so He has made us His own brothers and sisters. 

After the Last Supper the Lord Jesus Christ began to wash His disciples’ feet. When He came to Simon Peter the disciple refused to let his Master wash his feet. “Jesus answered him, ‘If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” (Jn. 13:8) What did Jesus mean by having no part with Him? Jesus told Peter, “. . . and you are clean, but not all of you.” (Jn. 13:10)   So we know it is not Peter’s salvation that was in question. From the narrative we can see our Lord Jesus Christ was setting His apostles apart unto Himself (Jn. 13:12-17). That is the true meaning of sanctification – to be made holy and set apart for the service of God through Jesus Christ.


Sanctification by the Holy Spirit 

The apostle Peter wrote: “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.” (1 Pet. 1:2) Our Lord Jesus Christ said to His disciples: “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more.” (Jn. 16:7-10) 

The work of the Holy Spirit is to first convict the heart of the sinner so that he can come to repentance and accept the Gospel of Salvation. After that the Holy Spirit is the witness that the blood of Jesus Christ is present in water during the baptism (1 Jn. 5:6-8). The Holy Spirit continues to guide the believer into all truth. Our Lord said, “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.” (Jn. 16:13-15) 

The apostle Paul wrote: “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Do not be deceived, Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the Kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Cor.6:9-11) How does God wash, justify and sanctify the Christian in the name of the Lord Jesus and by His Spirit? Peter said, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38) Our Lord Jesus Christ declared: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.” Our Lord further explained the new birth of water and the Spirit is baptism of water and baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5; 11:16)


Sanctification by the Word of God  

Peter wrote: “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, . . . ” (1 Pet. 1:22-23)  The new birth includes purification of the soul when we obey the truth through the word of God.  The Lord Jesus loved the church and gave Himself for it, “that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish.” (Eph. 5:25-26)  Today we hear preachers call for the unity of Christians, citing the prayer of our Lord Jesus Christ for the church.  What they forget is that our Lord also prayed for the church’s sanctification by the truth.  “Sanctify them by Your truth.  Your word is truth.  As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.  And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.” (Jn. 17:17-19)  Why is it so important to be sanctified by the truth?  Jesus Christ Himself is the truth. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (Jn. 14:6)  There is no other way to reach our heavenly Father except through the Lord Jesus Christ.  He is the truth.  He told the woman at the well, ”But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.  God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (Jn. 4:23-24)   


Sanctification by Worshiping God in Spirit and Truth 

How do we worship the heavenly Father in spirit and truth?  God gave the Ten Commandments to mankind.  It may be divided into two parts.  The first four commandments describe man’s relationship with God and also gives mankind instructions on worship in Spirit and truth. The last six commandments describe man’s relationship to one another.  We can discover about worshipping the Father in the first four commandments.  The first commandment gives instructions on who to worship.    “I am the LORD your God. . . You shall have no other gods before me” (Ex. 20:1-3)  The second commandment gives instructions on how to worship.  “You shall not make for yourself any carved image, or any likeness of anything . . . you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. . .” (Ex. 20:3-6)  We must worship God in the Spirit because He is a Spiritual Being.  The third commandment gives instruction on the attitude of worship.  “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain . . .” (Ex. 20:7)  We must worship God in holiness and give glory to His Name YAHWEH.  The fourth commandment gives instructions on the time of worship.  “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. . For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day.  Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” (Ex. 20:8-11)          The first time that the word “sanctified” appears in the Bible is in connection with the Seventh day Sabbath.  “Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” (Gen. 2:3)  Through sanctification God had separated the seventh day from the other six days and created the Sabbath day.  Worshipping God on the Sabbath day would set His people apart from all the other people on the earth (Ex. 31:13).


 Sanctification by Eating Clean Foods 

When the children of Israel were in the wilderness God gave them manna and quail for food.  The people were fed up with eating the same things day after day. In order to set guidelines for what to eat God gave them the dietary laws.  The dietary laws were given not only for the sake of their health, but also to sanctify them.  “For I am the LORD your God.  You shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy.  Neither shall you defile yourselves . . .” (Lev. 11:44-47)   Daniel had determined not to defile himself with the king’s delicacies.   He invited the steward to test he and his friends by eating only vegetables and drinking water for ten days.  “And at the end of ten days their countenance appeared better and fatter in flesh than all the young men who ate the portion of the king’s delicacies (Dan. 1:8-16).  Today, medical science has confirmed that rich foods and red meat with high cholesterol is the main cause for heart diseases.  Most nutritionists agree that diets that include much fruit and vegetables will be helpful to maintain good health.   

There is a tendency for Christians to only place emphasis on holiness of the soul and the spirit but completely neglect on holiness of the body.  “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?  If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.”  (1 Cor. 3:16-17)  We are all shocked if someone brings junk and garbage inside the church.  The Bible tells us that our bodies are the temples or churches of God.  When we eat all kinds of junk food it is like putting them inside God’s temple.




Sanctification by Living a Holy Life

1. Man/Woman Relationships - Men and women, both married and unmarried must be completely virtuous in their relationships with one another. Familiarity and vulgarity, the unwise cultivation of close friendships and relationships with the opposite sex other than one’s spouses are inappropriate situations.  Unmarried couples in isolated enclosed environment constitute unwise practices that can lead to lasciviousness and sexual sins.  The call to holiness and sanctification demands fleeing temptation and all appearance of evil. This is among the greatest dangers confronting God’s people.

2.  Attending Socials and Parties  -  It is not objectionable to attend office parties but when such functions turn unruly, raucous and ugly Christians should leave them.  Rock concerts, Mardi Gras and Halloween parties must be avoided.  The apostle Paul wrote: “Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in licentiousness and lewdness, not in strife and envy.  But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” (Rom. 13:13-14)  “But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.  Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted.  And do not become idolaters as were some of them.  As it is written, the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.’  Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty three thousand fell;” (1 Cor. 10:5-8) 

3.  Modern dancing has absolutely no resemblance to the biblical dance unto the Lord which is a form of worship (Psm. 150:4).  When Paul wrote: “It is good for a man not to touch a woman” he meant between unmarried couples  (1 Cor. 7:1-3).  Modern dancing involves the body movements of men and women in the lascivious motions.  Unmarried people of the opposite sex clinging tightly to one another to the accompaniment of music is not what Christians should be doing. Young Christians who want to participate in dancing often rationalize and think ministers that preach against such activity are old-fashioned and fun-spoilers.  Why is it that the secular world recognizes the sensual, sexual nature of the dance, while Christians sometimes seek to deny it? God calls us to holiness!

4.   Social Drinking  The Holy Bible does not prohibit drinking wine but it does give us numerous warnings about the dangers of alcohol. "Wine is a mocker.  Intoxicating drink arouses brawling, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise." (Pro. 20:1).  "Be not mix with winebibbers. . ." (Pro. 23:20). "Do not look at the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup. . . at the last it bites like a serpent, and stings like a viper" (Pro. 23:31-32).

·    Without dispute, alcohol is the cause of great evil, but Christians are to abstain from the very appearance of evil (I Thess. 5:22).

·     Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. If we defile or destroy the temple of God (our bodies), God will destroy us ( I Cor. 3:16-17).

·     The danger of alcoholic addiction is real and large. Roughly 10 percent of those who use alcohol will eventually become problem drinkers. Paul wrote, "All things are lawful for me; but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any."  (1 Cor. 6:12).

·     Our influence on others should prohibit our drinking. "It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor to do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak." (Rom. 14:21).

·     Christians are to “abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul.” (1 Pet. 2:11). Intoxicating alcoholic beverage wars against the soul by numbing our senses to sin while we are in the company of worldly companions who turn our hearts away from God. 

·            Like other narcotics, alcohol has medicinal uses (1 Tim. 5:23). Some doctors prescribe its moderate use for neural and circulatory problems.  To justify social drinking by its medicinal use is the same as justifying social use of drugs by their use in medicines.  

5.  Modest Dress Code  Adam and Eve covered themselves with fig leaves after they sinned, but God found their efforts inadequate. By making clothing of animal skins for them, He not only made atonement for their sins but also provided modest clothing for them. The Bible instructs us to wear modest clothing, that is, clothing with a godly appearance. God instructed Israel's high priest to wear "holy garments," for he represented a holy God (Exodus 28:2). God also ordered the priests to wear clothing that covered their nakedness and forbad elevated altars upon which priests would walk and thereby expose their nakedness (Ex. 20:26; 28:42).

Deuteronomy 22:5 states the moral principle of a clear distinction between male and female in outward appearance: One sex must not wear styles of clothing associated with the other.

Proverbs 7:10 speaks of a woman who dressed like a harlot (prostitute) and is not suitable for godly people to wear.

1 Timothy 2:9 admonishes "that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly clothing."  1 Peter 3:3 gives similar instructions.

Revelation 16:15 uses clothing as a symbol to instruct the church to stay close to God: "Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame."

Clearly, God puts emphasis on the outward appearance of a person. To an extent, clothing reflects the condition of the heart, and it sends message to others about a person's values.

Preparation for the Lord’s Second Coming

We all know that our Lord Jesus Christ is coming soon.  In order to be alive when He returns we must be completely sanctified in the spirit, soul and the body.  There is no other way around it.  Holiness is the key to sanctification.  “But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Pet. 15-16)  “Pursue peace with all men, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.” (Heb. 12:14)  “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.  And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Heb. 10:23-25)  “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.” (Php. 3:20-21)      


May God bless you  

A sermon based on this article was preached by Paul Wong

to a Congregation in Houston, Texas on November 22, 2003

This article was published on this Website on July 28, 2009 

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 July 2009 17:41