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Bible Dictionaries

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary


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Very much hath been said in the christian church respecting sanctification some making it the work of the creature, as if a man that is a polluted creature could sanctify himself; and others referring the whole work into the sovereignty and grace of the Lord. It may not be improper in a work of this kind to examine the doctrine by the standard of Scripture, which, is the only unerring standard, in order to form a right judgment upon a point of such infinite consequence.

It will be a sure plan in forming just conceptions of sanctification, if we bring all that is said of it in Scripture under these two distinct branches, namely, the sanctification which means setting apart, consecrating, or appointing to solemn and holy purposes—and the sanctification which means making that holy which before was polluted and defiled. I venture to believe that under one or other of these distinct particulars every thing in Scripture relating to sanctification may be included.

Concerning the first mentioned, the sanctification which means to set apart, to consecrate, or appropriate, to solemn and holy purposes, we meet with expressions in Scripture leading to this in both Testaments. Thus it is said that when JEHOVAH had finished the works of creation, he blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it—that is, set it apart for his more immediate honor. (Genesis 2:3) So again, holy places were set apart and sanctified in their separation from ordinary things: thus the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry under the law were sanctified. In like manner the first-born were all set apart as the Lord's right—"The Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Sanctify unto me all the first-born, whatsoever openeth the womb, among the children of Israel both of man and beast, it is mine," (Exodus 13:1-2) When the Lord thus claims it for his own, and saith, it is mine, it means not that this sanctifying it to the Lord's use made the first-born holy, but that it set it apart for his service. In like manner, when the Lord Jesus Christ saith, "for their sakes I sanctity myself," (John 17:19) surely he did not mean to say that he made himself more holy, for that was impossible, but that for the sake of his church and people he set himself apart in dedicating himself to God as their Surety and Saviour. Thus much may serve to explain the former sense of sanctification of persons and things dedicated to God

The other sense of sanctification in making that holy which before was polluted and defiled, is by much the most general sense of the term sanctifying, in Scripture. Thus the church of the Corinthians, when regenerated and brought into fellowship with Christ's mystical body, are said to have been cleansed and purified thereby: And such, saith the apostle, (speaking to characters notoriously known to have been once in the filth and under the dominion of sin, but now brought nigh by the blood of Christ) "and such were some of you; 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)

But the most essential point, in sanctification is to enquire concerning the source and fountain of it, not being founded in creature-power, or creature-holiness, but wholly in the Lord; and this will very fully appear from what the Scripture saith concerning it. All the persons of the GODHEAD, concur and co-operate in the work. That God the Father is the author and giver of it, is plain from what the apostles Paul and Jude have said. The former in his First Epistle to the Thessalonians, prays that the God of peace may sanctify them wholly; (1 Thessalonians 5:23) —and the latter expressly addresseth his Epistle to them that are sanctified by God the Father. (Jude 1:1:1) And that God the Son is no less the author of sanctification is evident, because the very purpose for which he gave himself for his church was that he might sactify and cleanse it. (Ephesians 5:23) And concerning God the Holy Ghost it is said, by the apostle to the Thessalonians, that we are bound to give thanks always to God, because from the beginning the church is chosen to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit. (2 Thessalonians 2:13)

It is most blessed and refreshing to a soul thus to trace the doctrine to its source, and behold all the glorious persons, of the GODHEAD as the united authors of it; and while we are justified freely by the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, to see also that all our sanctification is of him, and that "he is made of God to us wisdom and righteousness, sanctification and redemption, that he that glorieth may glory in the Lord." (1 Corinthians 1:30-31)

And were it not for trespassing too largely in this article, it would be blessed to trace sanctification through all its branches, and to discover the Lord's hand in every one. The beginning of it is of the Lord. "He" saith Paul, "that hath begun the good work in you, will perform it unto the day of Jesus Christ." (Philippians 1:6) The keeping it alive in the soul is of the Lord, for he saith, "The path of the just is as a shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day." (Proverbs 4:18) The restoration of it when at any time under decaying circumstances is of the Lord. "They shall revive (saith the Lord) as the corn, and grow as the vine." (Hosea 14:7) "Because I live, ye shall live also." (John 14:19) The final perseverance of it is of the Lord; for in the covenant of grace the charter runs thus—"I will not turn away from them to do them good, but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me." (Jeremiah 32:40) Most blessedly, therefore, and graciously the Lord undertakes for both—I will not, saith God, and they shall not. Glorious Security! And finally to add no more—as the commencement of all grace and sanctification is in God, so the consummation of all glory is in him also. Jesus, who justifies and sanctifies his people freely, hath engaged to complete the whole for JEHOVAH'S glory and his people's happiness. It is said that the whole purport of redemption is that he might finally and fully, and completely, present his church to himself "a glorious church not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish." Oh, the unspeakable felicity of being clothed in his garments of righteousness, and presented by Jesus, and to Jesus, in that day before JEHOVAH and a congregated world, holy, and sanctified in his holiness and sanctity, and made so for ever!

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Hawker, Robert D.D. Entry for 'Sanctification'. Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance and Dictionary. London. 1828.

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