1 Thessalonians 4:3 tells us that it is God’s will that we be sanctified. But what is sanctification? And not a long theological definition but a simple one.
If I were to give a simple definition of sanctification it would be two words, “ALL-IN”.
If you’ve ever seen a Texas Hold’em tournament on ESPN you know that ALL-IN means a guy has pushed all his chips in to bet on the hand. This is a picture of what it looks like to be sanctified, we are going ALL-IN.
When we are saved, we have repented of sin and have given our lives to Jesus. When we are sanctified however, we are giving our whole selves to Him, everything we are and everything we have.
Sanctification is both a moment and a progression. You are sanctified the moment you give your all but you grow in that sanctification every time you yield to the Holy Spirit, thus being “ALL-IN”.
Another way to put sanctification I guess would be to compare it to marriage and engagement. Being saved is the engagement and sanctification is taking the “full plunge” into marriage if you will.
Someone may have better illustrations and that is fine, but these are the two that have come to me as I have looked at the Scriptures.
Let’s look at 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 NIV “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God;”
Simply put sanctification is living in a way that shows love and honor to God.
Sanctification and holiness both mean to be set apart.
Yes there are deeper things we could get into on sanctification but that is not the purpose of this post.
I want to take the difficulty and perceived hinderances out of the way and just say sanctification is living an ALL-IN life for Jesus Christ.
That doesn’t mean that mistakes wont be made but that our heart is fully turned to Jesus and away from sin and we want to live a life completely pleasing to Him.
Completely devoted and ALL-IN, that is sanctification made simple.
What does a prayer for sanctification look like?
Read the words of David in Psalm 51:7-10 NIV “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
The words you use are not the main thing, it’s the cry of your heart to be pure in heart and live a life lead by the Spirit and submitted to Jesus.
If you want to go deeper in your understanding, I have some other posts on the blog and you can check out the books shelf.