WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
JANUARY 31, 2022
TOPIC: SANCTIFY YOURSELF
BY T. O. BANSO
“Get up, sanctify the people, and say, ‘Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow, because thus says the LORD God of Israel: There is an accursed thing in your midst, O Israel; you cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the accursed thing from among you” (Joshua 7:13 New King James Version).
To sanctify means to make holy or to set apart for God. In other words, to keep yourself from defilement, purify yourself, or separate yourself for a special and holy purpose. In the Old Testament, human beings, things, and days were sanctified, consecrated, dedicated, or devoted to God (Leviticus 27:16-28; Deuteronomy 5:12, 15:19; Exodus 29:27; 32:29, 30:23-29; 40:10). Aaron and his sons were sanctified or consecrated to minister to the LORD (Exodus 28:41). Sanctification in the Old Testament often involved ceremonial or ritual consecration.
The LORD said to the children of Israel in Leviticus 11:45, “For I am the LORD who brings you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy” (New King James Version). In Leviticus 20:7, He told them, “Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am the LORD your God” (New King James Version). Verse 26 also records a similar command, “And you shall be holy to Me, for I the LORD am holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be Mine” ( New King James Version).
Despite God’s command to the Israelites to be holy, they, many times, lived contrary to His command. They lived in rebellion against God until the Southern and Northern kingdoms fell and the people were taken into captivity. Before then, God would sometimes, ask them to sanctify themselves.
For instance, before the Israelites crossed River Jordan, Joshua instructed the Israelites to sanctify themselves. “And Joshua said to the people, ‘Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you’” (Joshua 3:5 New King James Version).
What wonder did God do? God dried up River Jordan and the Israelites crossed over to Jericho on dry ground.“So it was, when the people set out from their camp to cross over the Jordan, with the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people, and as those who bore the ark came to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests who bore the ark dipped in the edge of the water (for the Jordan overflows all its banks during the whole time of harvest), that the waters which came down from upstream stood still, and rose in a heap very far away at Adam, the city that is beside Zaretan. So the waters that went down into the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, failed, and were cut off; and the people crossed over opposite Jericho” (Joshua 3:14-16. New King James Version).
Take note that the passage says in verse 15 that River Jordan overflowed all its banks during the harvest season, which was the time the Israelites crossed over to Jericho. There was usually a flood at this time and God chose the period to perform a miracle to show the greatness of His power. He has the power not only over human beings but also nature – all are the work of His hand. But before this miracle, Joshua, speaking for God, told the Israelites to sanctify themselves because He would do wonders among them.
Are you experiencing a flood situation in your life – a crisis of high proportion? Separate yourself unto God; trust in Him. He will bring everything under control. “Then the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan; and all Israel crossed over on dry ground, until all the people had crossed completely over the Jordan” (Joshua 3:17 New King James Version).
At each time the Israelites were asked to sanctify themselves, God did something significant. Suppose they sanctified themselves every time! In Exodus 19:14, Moses sanctified the people based on God’s command, and on the third day, Mount Sinai was completely in smoke because the LORD descended upon it in fire. He came down on the top of Mount Sinai, called Moses to the top of the mountain, and he went up (Exodus 19:18, 20).
In Joshua 7:13, in order to expose the cause of the defeat of the Israelites by the people of Ai, God told Joshua, “Get up, sanctify the people, and say, ‘Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow, because thus says the LORD God of Israel: There is an accursed thing in your midst, O Israel; you cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the accursed thing from among you” (New King James Version). The Israelites did and Achan was exposed and the judgment of God was executed on him and his household.
When Samuel went to the house of Jesse to anoint one of his children as the king instead of Saul, he answered the elders of Bethlehem, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the LORD. Sanctify yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice” (1 Samuel 16:5a New King James Version). Samuel consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice. At that meeting, David who was not originally in attendance was brought and anointed as king.
As King David prepared to bring the ark of God to Jerusalem, after his previous failed attempt, he called for Zadok and Abiathar the priests and the Levites: Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shemaiah, Eliel, and Amminadab. He told them, “You are the heads of the fathers’ houses of the Levites; sanctify yourselves, you and your brethren, that you may bring up the ark of the LORD God of Israel to the place I have prepared for it. For because you did not do it the first time, the LORD our God broke out against us, because we did not consult Him about the proper order” (1 Chronicles 15:12-13 New King James Version). The second attempt was successful. The ark was brought to Jerusalem without any unfortunate incident.
Holman Bible Dictionary says sanctification is the process of being made holy resulting in a changed lifestyle for the believer. The English word sanctification is derived from the Latin santificatio, which means the act/process of making holy, consecrated. According to Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, the Greek word translated “sanctification” (hagiasmos [aJgiasmov]) means “holiness.”
In the New Testament, there are mainly two types of sanctification: the sanctification of the believers by Christ through His crucifixion and the sanctification to be pursued by the believers in their lives. Jesus is the sanctification of Christians (1 Corinthians 1:30). We have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 10:10; 13:12). We are also sanctified by the truth – His Word (John 17:17; Ephesians 5:26).
God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are involved in the sanctification of Christians. As a Christian, know that Jude 1 says you are sanctified by God the Father. Also, Acts 26:18 says you are sanctified by faith in Jesus. Furthermore, 2 Thessalonians 2:13b says God, from the beginning, chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. 1 Peter 1:2 also talks about the sanctification of the Spirit.
After being sanctified, each Christian has a responsibility to continually sanctify himself. “But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy’” (1 Peter 1:15-16 New King James Version). Being holy is the same as being sanctified. Even in the Old Testament, God asked the Israelites to sanctify themselves and He said He would sanctify them (Leviticus 11:44; 21:8; 15, 23; 22:9).
Sanctify yourself, not occasionally as in the case of the Israelites. Keep yourself from defilement; purify yourself. Separate yourself unto God. Not because of a miracle but as a lifestyle. Present your body to God as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service (Romans 12:1). Glorify God in your body and spirit, which are God’s (1 Corinthians 6:20).
Your sanctification is the will of God. “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 New King James Version).
Cooperate with the work of the Holy Spirit in your life. By the Spirit, you must put to death the deeds of the body (Romans 8:13). Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16). Sanctify yourself by exposing your mind daily to the Word of God and obeying (John 17:17; Ephesians 5:22-26). Abstain from every form of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22). Sanctification is God’s progressive work to make His children more like Jesus Christ. You must seek to be like Jesus. Sanctify yourself. Let the Holy Spirit control your life and produce the fruit of the Spirit in you (Galatians 5:22-23).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, I thank You for my sanctification through the blood of Jesus, Your Word, and the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit, help me to sanctify myself continually and abstain from evil. I shall live a victorious and Christ-honouring life in Jesus’ name. Sin shall not have dominion over me. Those who are currently slaves of sin shall be delivered; they will surrender their lives to Jesus in Jesus’ name.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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