To make holy, or to set apart for God, Genesis 2:3 Exodus 19:23. Ub the Old Testament, sanctification frequently denotes the ceremonial or ritual consecration of any person or thing to God: thus the Hebrews as a people were holy unto the Lord, through the covenant with its rites and atoning sacrifices, Exodus 31:13; and the Jewish tabernacle, altar, priest, etc., were solemnly set apart for the divine service, Leviticus 8:10-12. In the similar sense, men, "sanctified themselves" who made special preparation for the presence and worship of God, Exodus 19:10,11 Numbers 11:18; a day was sanctified when set apart for fasting and prayer, Joel 1:14; and the Sabbath was sanctified when regarded and treated as holy unto the Lord, Deuteronomy 5:12. All such sanctifications were testimonials to the holiness of God, and signified menís need of moral sanctification, or the devotion of purified and obedient souls to his love and service.
In a doctrinal sense, sanctification is the making truly and perfectly holy what was before defiled and sinful. It is a progressive work of divine grace upon the soul justified by the love of Christ. The believer is gradually cleansed from the corruption of his nature, and is at length presented "unspotted before the throne of God with exceeding joy." The Holy Spirit performs this work in connection with the providence and word of God, John 14:26 17:17 2 Thessalonians 2:13 1 Peter 1:2 and the highest motives urge every Christian not to resist him, and seek to be holy even as God is holy. The ultimate sanctification of every believer in Christ is a covenant mercy purchased on the cross. He, who saves us from the penalty of sin, also saves us from its power; and in promising to bring a believer into heaven, engages also to prepare for heaven.