Literature Ministries International
- By Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
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THE PRIMARY MEANING OF“SANCTIFY”
But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
1 Corinthians 6:11
You will find that the primary meaning of the word sanctify is often applied to Christian people. Read, for instance, 1 Corinthians 6:11, where Paul tells the Corinthians that there was a time when some of them were guilty of terrible sin—drinking, adultery, etc. “But,” he says, “ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” You notice he says they are “sanctified” before he says they are “justified.” Now with our superficial and glib ideas about sanctification, we always say, “Justification first and sanctification afterward.” But Paul puts sanctification first, which means that they have been set apart by God and taken out of the world. That is the primary meaning of sanctification, and in that sense it comes before justification.
Or take 1 Peter 1:2: “…elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.” Sanctification comes before believing and sprinkling with the blood and justification. So in its primary meaning this word is a description of our position. It means that as Christians we are separated from the world. Our Lord has already said that in John 17:16: “They are not of the world.” Now He says, “Sanctify them through thy truth” (John17:17). “They have been set apart,” He says in effect; “set them still more apart.” It means separation from the world. In 1 Peter2:9 this is applied to the Christian church: “Ye are . . . a peculiar people,”a special possession for the Lord. The same is true of all Christian people. We are a holy people, set apart for God and for His service and for His purpose. That is the primary meaning.
A Thought to Ponder
Notice that Paul says they are sanctified before he says they are justified.
From Sanctified Through the Truth, pp. 9-10.
Today’s devo is taken from Walking with God Day by Day © 2003 by Good News Publishers. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
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