Dear brothers in the Lord, this book of mine deals with sanctification (or holiness), which I consider a very important subject to us who are children of God.

First of all, you must understand that when you were born again (that is, when you were regenerated by God) you were sanctified, that is to say, you were made holy. For the Scriptures teach that at the new birth God performs an act of sanctification on believers, through which they are declared holy. Here is how Paul and Peter expressed this concept in their epistles. Paul said to the Corinthians: “Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are [were] washed, but ye are [were] sanctified, but ye are [were] justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11); and to the Thessalonians: “But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of [by] the Spirit and belief of [in] the truth” (2 Thessalonians 2:13); while Peter said to God’s elect: “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied” (1 Peter 1:1-2). That’s why the apostles in their epistles called the believers ‘saints’ (1 Corinthians 1:2; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:2), ‘holy nation’ (1 Peter 2:9), and ‘holy brethren’ (Hebrews 3:1 - NKJV).

Secondly, beloved, you must understand that you are holy because of the obedience showed by Jesus Christ, for it was through His atoning sacrifice that you were sanctified, as it is written: “By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:10 – NKJV). It follows that you don’t have anything to boast about before God, for - as Paul says - Christ became for us sanctification from God (1 Corinthians 1:30).

When I say that you were sanctified in Jesus Christ I mean these things.

● You attained the perfection in regard to the conscience through the blood of Christ, as it is written: “For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified” (Hebrews 10:14). The perfection in regard to the conscience could not be obtained under the Old Covenant because the gifts and the sacrifices which were offered according to the law were a shadow of the things which were to come and in them there was a reminder of sins every year (Hebrews 9:9-10; 10:1-4), while under the New Covenant it can be obtained because Christ offered Himself as a sacrifice for our sins once for all and His blood makes those who believe in Him perfect in regard to the conscience (Hebrews 9:13-14).

● God separated you from the world, so that you might serve righteousness. In other words, God separated you from those who live in darkness so that you might be a holy people to the Lord for the rest of your earthly life. In ancient times God chose the Israelites so that they might serve Him, for He said to them: “For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth” (Deuteronomy 7:6), and again: “For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth” (Deuteronomy 14:2). Now, in these last days God has set apart for Himself a people (His Church) which is formed of all those Jews and Gentiles whom He has rescued from this present evil age so that they might serve Him. This concept is expressed by Paul in his epistle to Titus when he says that Christ Jesus “gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works” (Titus 2:14 - NKJV).

Therefore, brethren, you were set apart by God so that you might pursue sanctification, as Paul said to the saints in Rome: “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness ….” (Romans 6:22), and to the saints of Thessalonica: “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification …. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness” (1 Thessalonians 4:3,7); and as the author of the epistle to the Hebrews says: “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14), and as Peter says to the elect (whom he called holy nation); “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 - NKJV).

As you can see, the Scriptures clearly state that we were called to be holy, that is to say, to perfect our sanctification before God. Therefore the pursuit of sanctification (or the perfecting of sanctification) is a divine command, and it is so important that the Scripture states that without sanctification no one will see the Lord. I say this because I know that today among many Churches many despise sanctification, making light of it and not considering it so important (for they consider it a human option).

Now, brethren, we have our fruit to sanctification, but how can we bear this fruit? We can bear this fruit by abiding in Christ, for Jesus Christ said: “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5). In other words, we can bear this fruit by keeping the commandments of God, for John said: “He who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him” (1 John 3:24 - NKJV). Therefore, we must keep the commandments of God in order to have a holy conduct before God and men. And obviously to keep the commandments of God means that on the one hand we must not do certain things and on the other hand we must do some other things.

Before I go on, however, I would like to point out that we can perfect our sanctification (which is a process that involves a separation unto God, a purification of flesh and spirit, and a conformation to the image of Christ) only by the power of God, who works in us what is well pleasing to Him. In other words, we are able to perfect our sanctification because God works in us. However, it is very important to note that God will work in us if we allow Him to work. This principle that recognizes both God’s initiative and man’s responsibility is expressed by Paul in the epistle to the Philippians when he gives them this command: “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12-13 – NKJV). So, God enables us to perfect our sanctification, but we MUST respond.

Let us now look closely at the things from which we, as believers, must abstain in order to live a holy life.