May God himself . . . sanctify you through and through. (1 Thess. 5:23)

Like many households, we have good dishes and everyday dishes. The nice china, silverware, and sparkling glassware are set aside for special occasions, whereas the regular dishes are used daily. Setting something aside for special usage is one definition of the word sanctify. God commanded certain people, places, and things to be set aside or sanctified for his holy purposes (see Ex. 29:1, 29).

But there is a second definition for the word sanctify. It means to purify something, to cleanse something from impurities. The analogy that works best in my mind is the product that we use to clean out clogs in our sink.

Today’s Bible verse uses the word sanctify in this second sense: the purifying of our hearts. A person who has experienced the sanctifying influence of the Holy Spirit has had the sinful nature of his or her heart cleansed “through and through.” The sanctified person’s heart is no longer inclined to live in rebellion to God, but rather in loving surrender to the heavenly Father.

Is this type of heart condition even possible? The answer is found in the very words of Jesus, “Blessed are the pure in heart” (Matt. 5:8). Why would Jesus even talk about having a pure heart, if it were not possible in this life? We must depend daily on God and seek after a life marked by a sanctifying Savior.


Seek the purifying influence of God’s Holy Spirit.

Stephen Elliott serves as national superintendent of The Wesleyan Church of Canada and part-time teacher at Kingswood University. He is a happy grandfather of four girls.

© 2019 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.