And this is the thing which you shall do to them, to sanctify them to minister as priest to Me Exodus 29:1
Sanctify – What kind of picture do we see with the word “sanctify”? Most of us are thoroughly Greek when it comes to describing this word. We think about holiness in word, thought and deed. We think about becoming better people, disciplining ourselves to be more like Christ or attaining godly characteristics. In other words, we think of moving from worldly motivations to divine motivations. We think of sanctification as the effort to become sinless.
All of those ideas are useful, but they don’t uncover the deeper truth about God’s view of sanctification. The Hebrew word kadash paints a fascinating picture that has very little to do with personal discipline. Of course, we know that kadash means to be set apart. That’s the basic idea behind the Hebrew translation of this word. We are set apart from the profane for the exclusive use of God. That’s why sanctification can be applied to tools, animals and even land. Whatever is set apart for God’s exclusive use is kadash (sanctified). But there is a pictograph here that shows us more than this linguistic meaning.
The consonants that make up the verb kadash are qof-daleth-shin (Q-D-S). The Qof consonant is a picture of the setting sun. It displays the idea of something that is in the past. It looks back in order to see where something originated. The consonants D-S paint a picture of threshing (literally, the door to eating). In a culture where grain had to be separated from chaff by threshing before you could make flour and bread, this event was a daily occurrence. So, sanctification becomes the visual imagery of something that comes after threshing. What comes after threshing? Useable grain, grain removed from its useless husk.
Now we can see that there is more in this image than simply setting something apart for God’s use. The process of sanctification is the removal of what is not useable and the retention of what is useable. It’s the stripping process. Sanctification removes what God cannot use. And here’s the deepest insight. I don’t make this happen. The harvest from the field doesn’t thresh itself. It has to be sifted, tossed, crushed, broken and sorted by the thresher. Sanctification is the way that God gets rid of all the stuff that keeps us from being optimally useful to Him. That process is usually not very comfortable. It’s hard to have the husk stripped away, but it’s absolutely necessary if God is going to have the pure grain to work with. You might have thought of sanctification as your effort to make yourself into a better Christian, but you would have missed the point. Sanctification is God’s effort to sift you. Your role in this process is to let Him do it. Too often we resist the stripping process because we think that sanctification can only be a good thing. It is a good thing, but it usually arrives when we are tossed up in the air. No grain was ever threshed while it lay undisturbed on the floor.
Do you want to become set apart for God? Do you want to experience sanctification? Then be ready to be tossed about, stripped and crushed. Not destroyed, just purified. When all the sifting is finished, God will make great bread from your life, bread that others will eat and be filled.
Topical Index: Sanctification