“And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you” (Joshua 3 5).
Although this was an Old Testament command for a particular occasion, it can well be applied also to the New Testament Christian’s whole life in Christ. The words “sanctify” and “make holy” are the same. In both Testaments, the meaning is essentially to “set apart” unto God.
In one sense, the process of sanctification is a work that God does in us, for Christ “is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification” (I Corinthians 1:30). “We are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:10).
Yet in another (though similar) sense, we must sanctify ourselves, for the Scripture commands: “As He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation” (I Peter 1:15). This command to be sanctified, holy, set apart, has many very practical and physical implications. For example: “This is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication” (I Thessalonians 4:3).
Just how can we sanctify ourselves? In the upper room, Jesus prayed for His followers thus: “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17). In the same vein, Paul reminds us that Christ “loved the church, and gave Himself for it; That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word” (Ephesians 5:25,26). It is Christ who sanctifies us-positionally by His sacrificial death, then day-by-day through application of His word (the Holy Scriptures) to our lives. Our part in this sanctification process is simply to read, and believe, and obey His word.
Then, as sanctified believers, set apart to the Lord Jesus and His will, God can (as He did in the days of Joshua) “do wonders among you.” HMM