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Bible Dictionaries

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary

Sanctify

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In the Old Testament, to sanctify often denotes to separate from a common to a holy purpose; to set apart or consecrate to God as his special property, and for his service. Our Lord also uses this term, when he says, "For their sakes I sanctify myself," John 17:19 ; that is, I separate and dedicate myself to be a sacrifice to God for them, "that they also may be sanctified through the truth;" that is, that they may be cleansed from the guilt of sin. Under the law of Moses, there was a church purity, or ceremonial sanctification, which might be obtained by the observance of external rites and ordinances, while persons were destitute of internal purity or holiness. Every defiled person was made "common," and excluded from the privilege of a right to draw nigh to God in his solemn worship; but in his purification he was again separated to him, and restored to his sacred right. Hence St. Paul speaks of "the blood of bulls and goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, as sanctifying unto the purifying of the flesh," Hebrews 9:13 . These things were in reality of no moral worth or value; they were merely typical institutions, intended to represent the blessings of the new and better covenant, those "good things that were to come;" and therefore God is frequently spoken of in the prophets as despising them, namely, in any other view than that for which his wisdom had ordained them, Isaiah 1:11-15 ; Psalms 50:8-9 ; Psalms 51:16 . But that dispensation is now at an end; under the New Testament, the state of things is changed, for now "neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature." The thing signified, namely, internal purity and holiness, is no less necessary to a right to the privileges of the Gospel, than the observance of those external rites was unto the privileges of the law.


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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Sanctify'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/wtd/s/sanctify.html. 1831-2.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, October 18th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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