Sanctification as Set Forth in God’s Word


As Set Forth in God’s Word

Eld. C. H. Brunner

This is a beautiful subject, one about which much is preached and written in these days. It is so variously understood and so differently taught however, that it is not likely that all will believe everything set forth in this paper. Theories, creeds and opinions change, but “The Word of God standeth sure.”


Dr. Young’s analysis sets for the verb sanctify in its [text missing] form translated from five different words in the original Hebrew, [text missing] Greek 28 times, while in its active form it is translated from [text missing] words in the original 105 times. In each case it indicates

First — A separation from Evil, and

Second — A Setting Apart or Dedication to a Holy Purpose. The Hebrew root word Kadesh is translated sanctify, sanctuary, dedicate and consecrate.


The Scriptures apply the term,

First — To Days. “God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it.” Gen. 2:3

Second — To Animals. “Sanctify unto me all the firstborn. Whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and beast, it is Mine.” Ex. 13:2

The first fruits of harvest were also to be set apart as an offering for Him, showing that He desires and deserves the first and best of whatever we hold in possession as His stewards.

Third — To Places. When Moses was on Mt. Horeb God said to him “Put off thy shoes from off thy feet for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.” Ex. 3:5. The presence of [text missing] sanctified the mountain. Again when God called Moses up [text missing] Sinai He told him to “set bounds about the mount and sanctify it” Ex. 19:23. Sinful man could not enter into the presence of a holy God until the Mediator came, when the veil was rent and the bounds were removed. Again, Peter calls the Mount of Transfiguration “the holy mount,” II Pet. 1:18, by reason of the divine glory and the heavenly assembly.

Fourth — To Worship. In Lev. 8:10 we read that Moses “anointed the tabernacle and sanctified it,” it badger skin covering as well as its golden interior. The badger skins retained their plain, coarse, aspect. The gold, silver, blue and fine twined linen given by the people was not changed, but set apart for God only. It was not the people’s anymore but the Lord’s. To use it for any other purpose than the worship of Jehovah would have desecrated it, and the offender were counted guilty of sacrilege and punished with sudden and awful destruction, as we see in the case of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram who offered strange fire before the Lord, when the earth opened and swallowed them up with their families, tents and possessions.

Those people who to-day are making “a house of merchandise” of what they have solemnly professed to have built and dedicated as the “House of the Lord” can be thankful that they are not living in the days of Korah. Many of those places, if the Lord has ever accepted them instead of being holy places where the glory and honor [text missing] Lord dwell and Hallelujahs and Amens echo with its walls, [text missing] to-day nothing more than lecture halls, art galleries for the display of statuary, horticultural halls, and museums exhibiting the lifeless, antiquated mummies of a dead formal worship.

In Lev. 8:11 it is stated that Moses “anointed the altar and all its vessels and the laver and its base to sanctify them.” Now the sanctified altar “sanctifies the gift” laid upon it. Matt. 23:19.

Again, “Moses poured of the anointing oil upon Aaron’s head and anointed him to sanctify him.” Lev. 8:12. Aaron the High Priest, being the representative of God’s people, was first anointed alone and with oil only, without, blood. So Christ, our High Priest, was filled with the Holy Ghost before His passion.


Here were have,

First — The Sanctification of God.

God said, “I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me before the people.” Lev. 10:1-3; Num. 20:12,13. Thus He is not to be classed with common people or unclean persons or objects. When the priests ignored this command fire came forth from the Lord and consumed them. When Moses and Aaron believed not, to sanctify the Lord before Israel they were not allowed to enter the promised land.

Second — The Sanctification of Christ.

When Jesus said that His Father had sanctified Him, John 10:36, we must not think that He was made holier, purer or better, but that His Father had “set apart” His Son “to be, first, the propitiation for our sins” and second, “the Savior of the world.” 1 John 4:10,14. When He says, “For their sakes I sanctify Myself,” John 17:19, He refers to His setting Himself apart for us as the Servant in life and the Sacrifice in death.


This is two-fold, viz: That which was wrought for us, and that which is being wrought in us.

The first is once forever, the second is continuous.

The first is judicial, the second is practical.

The first was finished on the cross, the second is going on in the believer’s life.

The first is the work of God the Father, Jude 1, and Christ the Son, Heb. 2:11: Eph. 5:26. The second is the work of the Holy Spirit.

The instrumentality in the first case is the blood, Heb. 9:12, while in the second case it is the Word. John 17:17.

We Will, therefore, first consider

The Judicial side of our Sanctification which is past and perfect. Rom. 1:7 we read that our calling is to be “saints,” or, as another translation has it, “saints by calling.”

The word saint means “Holy One,” and is so translated by Luther. We are, therefore, not saints by attainment, but by calling. Solomon says, Eccl. 3:14, “Whatsoever God doeth, it shall be forever; nothing can be put to it, nor anything taken from it.” Therefore, as we are “in Christ Jesus who is made unto us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification,” 1 Cor. 1:30, R. V., “we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” Heb.10:10. “For by one offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.” Heb. 10:14. Can God use any stronger language to set forth the assurance of our complete acceptance in Christ? When the Goliath of doubt and unbelief tries to make us doubt our conversion or our acceptance “in the Beloved” why not take a few of these smooth stones from the clear brook of God’s immutable Word and overcome him every time. Again, through our union with our living Head, Christ, “both He that sanctifieth and they that are sanctified are all of one; for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren.” Heb. 2:11. “Because as He is, even so are we in this world.” 1 John 4:17, R. V.

We must not omit that beautiful passage in John 20:17, where Jesus said to Mary “Go unto my brethren,” including poor Peter who denied me and despondent Thomas who doubted me, and all the rest who slept when I was in agony, forsook me and fled when I was friendless, “and say to them, I ascend unto My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.” Truly He sanctified Himself and came down where we were, that He might sanctify us and bring

us up to where He is. What wondrous condescension! All of grace! Therefore, apart from Christ we could be neither justified nor sanctified while in Him we are both. As a certain writer says so beautifully, “Justified by blood the believing sinner can lift up his head to a righteous God in the courts of His justice without fear of condemnation. Sanctified by the blood, he can raise his spirit in worship to a holy God in His temple, assured that the sacrifice of his praise is acceptable.” Heb. 13:15.

In the second place we will consider

The Practical Side, or experimental sanctification. When we refer to ourselves as believers we include all regenerated persons who believe in Christ as being all that the Word claims Him to be, and who believe every word of God whether they understand it or not. Taking this for granted we assert that our sanctification in relation to God rests upon the fact that we are “in Christ” and consequently secures our eternal life, while our practical sanctification in our relation to our fellow men rests upon our abiding in Him and determines our holy walk and our final reward.

Paul writes to those Corinthians who were “Sanctified in Christ Jesus,” 1 Cor. 1:2, but their walk was unholy. They were not sancti-or or eradicated. [Misprints in text] How discouraging and hopeless is this plan, and yet which of us has not tried it?

The Scriptures teach us plainly that “That which is born of the flesh is flesh” and will never be anything else. “All flesh is as grass.” 1 Pet. 1:24. The believer’s flesh, the preacher’s flesh, the bishop’s flesh, yea, “all flesh is grass.” Is. 40:6. It is wholly unmendable. It is not commended to sanctification but sentenced to crucifixion and mortification. “But I say, Walk by the Spirit and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” and “If ye be led by the Spirit ye are not under the law.” Gal. 5:16, 18, R. V.

Alas, how many like the Galatians begin in the Spirit, (3:3) run well for a while, but hope to be perfected by the flesh. God certainly has “a more excellent way” for us. Too many people make allowances for defeat, and excuses for their failures because of the flesh, hoping to triumph and overcome in death or the end of their earthly lives. Say, the believer’s privilege is a present victorious life as well as a triumphant end as is evident from the following passages:-

“Thanks be unto God which always leadeth us in triumph in Christ.” II Cor. 2:14: “And this is the victory that hath overcome the world, even our faith.” I John 5:4, R. V. “Ye have overcome the wicked one.” 1 John 2:13, 4:4. “In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.” Rom. 8:37.

In older to attain unto such a state of victory in our daily life and unhindered service we are to sanctify or set apart ourselves. The instrumentality of our practical sanctification is the Word of God under the operation of the Holy Ghost. Jesus prayed for His disciples to “Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth.” John 17:17. This necessarily follows justification. Hence, in the arrangement of the tabernacle and temple the altar of burnt offering always stood first and then the laver, The priests, justified by the blood of the slain lamb on the altar, washed their hands and feet in this laver (signifying the cleansing of their works and their walk) to maintain them in a clean condition. So we cleanse our ways “by taking heed thereto according to His word,” Ps. 119:9, “and purify our souls by obeying the truth.” I Pet. 1:22. In no case was the oil to be applied before the blood, in the Mosaic ritual, except in cases referring directly to Christ, who having never sinned, needed no blood, as it is written “It is the blood that maketh atonement for the soul. Lev. 17:11. Therefore, the blood stands for our justification while the oil refers to our sanctification.

The secret of our power for a holy life and fruitful service is the indwelling of the Holy Ghost as we read, Acts 1:8, “Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you and ye shall be my witnesses.” The world cannot receive Him, but such who, after they are born again, are fed and nourished by the sincere milk of the word, till they can choose for themselves and say like Rebecca, “I shall go with Him.” He will thus occupy and fill all we give to Him and use all He possesses. As “we are not our own” we are mean and miserable if we withold anything from Him who has bought us with a price.

Our Practical Sanctification, therefore, depends greatly upon our


The sinner is expected to surrender, lay down the arms of rebellion like a man under arrest or a conquered enemy. The believer is to dedicate and consecrate his life to God. Consecrate means “filling of hands.” We are to fill our hands with all our possessions, reputation, talents, and possibilities, and lay all upon the altar together with ourselves, and the altar will sanctify the gift.

How often people weary of God by attempting to consecrate their idols and petty trash, their pride, tobacco, etc. God does not want such filthy trash. From such we are to cleanse ourselves and like the sin offering, carry them on the ash heap without the courts of His holiness, and burn them up. We shall separate ourselves from all


worldly associations, secret organizations, and oathbound societies. They are works of the flesh, the fruits of which Paul specifies, Gal. 5:20. 21, and which we are told to separate ourselves from, crucify and hang up in derision and disgust. Then we shall be “vessels unto honor sanctified and meet for the Master’s use.” II Tim. 2:21. It is not enough to say my soul is saved and sanctified, but we are also to present, not lend, a “living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable unto God.”

Dead sacrifices must necessarily remain on the altar but living sacrifices, like Isaac, must be bound. This may mean many painful experiences but will bring forth the “peaceful fruits of righteous ness.”

Thus ends, therefore, the catering to the wishes of self, our carnal friends and relatives. The body thus presented to the Lord must now be used only to His glory. We


not to please our carnal relatives or associates, but Him who has purchased us with His own blood. It is altogether unbecoming to decorate the body of a child of God thus sanctified for the indwelling of Christ, in the flippant, gaudy attire of the harlot after the latest Parisian fashion plate, like so many professors of to-day do. It is equally unbecoming to sanctified believers to wear heavy fashionable mourning attire, borrowed often at that, to make a display of their sorrow and grief as though they had neither hope nor Bible and believed neither in a loving, all wise Father nor in a resurrection and a life to come. As


are signs of the apostasy we are told to eat and drink to the glory of God. I Cor. 10:31. Living beyond people’s means has become so prevalent these days, bringing much trouble in families and business life, as well as disgrace upon the cause of Christ, that it cannot be too severely censured. Living on a level with our means is yet a low standard for most people, as we are told to work with our hands, not to live in gluttony and luxury, but to deny ourselves that we may be able to give to the needy. Sanctified people, therefore, eat to live, not live to eat and permit their belly to become their god. Yes, even the natural lawful passions have to be sanctified and guarded against abuses and excesses. Sanctification goes further than this. Israel was even to


Lev. 27:14. Many holiness teachers and professors apparently never thought about this. A sanctified home is not decorated with sensual pictures, nude statuary, extravagant furniture, etc. The center tables and cabinets are not filled with novels, story papers, obscene literature, cards and -dominoes. The evening hours are not devoted to idle gossip. The popular birthday parties, euchre parties, gold and silver wedding anniversaries, together with the fashionable worldly weddings are out of the question in a sanctified home.

More than this. We read, Lev. 27:17, that they were even to


A sanctified person sanctifies his farm and crops, his shop, his store, his office, his income, his all. All set apart for God. God owns and runs the business and is acknowledged as the senior

Partner, while we are only stewards. Such a life will never result from the mere experience of a second blessing.

We go still further. As both He that sanctifieth and they that are sanctified are all of one, so the Holy Ghost baptizes all the sanctified into one body, thus making us “fellow citizens with the saints and of the household of God.” Eph. 2:19. Such then have their family reunions with “their own company,” Acts 4:23, in prayer meetings, fellowship meetings, conventions, camp meetings, and not in union with the world and the enemies of Christ their Head. Thus refusing and avoiding endless genealogies, I Tim. 1:4, the sanguine ties gradually grow weaker while the heavenly grow stronger. If the Sanctifier and the sanctified are one, how can any such oppose Divine Healing and the Second Coming of Christ?

No sanctified person will refuse, much less antagonize or ridicule any doctrine or ordinance taught in the Bible, and will not accept any that can be refuted by the Bible. How can such a one reject the scriptural immersion of the believer and accept the unscriptural sprinkling of infants and the unregenerate.

Thus being sanctified in spirit, soul and body and presented to God for service, one of the special characteristics of such a life is an intense

[misprint in text] fied before the world. Some people may say to-day “Why don’t you preach more holiness?” Let us explain. Paul did not come around dressed up in style and preach a series of sermons on “The blessings of Holiness,” and ask people to get the blessing. No, he tells them that in everything they are enriched by Christ in all utterance and in all knowledge, v. 5, but he knows their condition, so he writes chapter after chapter, telling them that they are carnal, had divisions among themselves, failed to discipline immoral members, fighting with their brethren before heathen magistrates, women leaving their place of modest subjection, abusing the Lord’s supper, displaying pride in the pulpit, and even denying the resurrection of the dead, practical teaching which stirs up the devil more than the popular holiness preaching of to-day. He finishes his letter with the assurance of his love for them, pronouncing the anathema, not upon those who love not Paul or his letter, but those who love not the Lord Jesus Christ.

He commences his second letter in a milder form but it is not until he comes to the seventh chapter that he says, “Dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” Here He strikes at the very root of the matter by attributing the unholy walk to the activity of the flesh. How then can we account for such a condition in the life of the believer? Let us again turn to the word. The believer, justified by faith, has peace with God. A new life is born into him. The life is born of the Spirit and, therefore, must be a spiritual life, born of God and therefore cannot sin. Hence the believer is said to be a “partaker of the Divine nature.” II Pet. 1:4. He is no more “in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in him. But if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ he is none of His.” Rom. 8:9, R. V.

He is no more in the flesh but the flesh is still in him, for Paul says again “I know that in me that is in my flesh dwelleth no good thing,” Rom. 7:18, and again, “The flesh lusteth against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are contrary, the one to the other,” Gal. 5:17, hence the conflict. John says in his first Epistle, chapter 1, verse 8, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves.” But Paul tells us, Rom. 8:3, that “God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and as an offering for sin condemned sin in the flesh.” Therefore, we must distinguish between sin in us and sin on us, sin in the flesh and sin on the conscience. “Let not sin, therefore, reign in your mortal body.” “For sin shall not have dominion over you.” Rom. 6:12,14.

Every believer will become conscious of these facts sooner or later after his conversion, whether they agree with his theory or not. Now the fact of the two natures dwelling in the believer being settled, the question arises, how shall this conflict be carried on and what shall be the result? Some teach, do the best you can, improve the flesh little by little, inch by inch, until it becomes either absorbed


Where this is wanting there is something greatly wrong. We now count all things loss for Christ. We forget the things behind, relatives, friends, homes, comforts, and as “the love of Christ constraineth us” our heart says “Amen” to the call of the Lord of the harvest, even if it means the jungles of India, the deadly plains of Africa or the lonely Isles of the Sea.

Neither country nor life is dear to ourselves. Whether at home or in the “region beyond” we are ready to lay down our lives upon the altar of service or sacrifice until finally, when He comes, our travel stained garments all laid down, we shall enter upon the glorious reward of the “inheritance among them that are sanctified.”

The Ministerial Convention of the Mennonite Brethren in Christ, held at Bethlehern, Pa., October 11, 1905, ordered the publication of the above essay.

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