Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies. 21 Test all things; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil. 23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-23 NKJV
Sanctification is major doctrine of Christianity that teaches that the believer is set apart to God from the world, sin, and self (Rom. 12:2). Sanctification begins the moment you accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and continues even after death while in the presence of the Lord (2 Cor. 5:8). It is initially positional, then progressive, and ultimately perfect (2 Cor. 3:18). In the text above, Paul’s prayer for the Thessalonians was that they would be sanctified wholly, i.e., through and through—not just in their spirit, but soul and body—not just on Sunday, but everyday of the week, regardless of the circumstance.
The word “sanctification” means to make holy, set apart and consecrated to God. It shares the same translation as the root words for holy, holiness, consecrate, saint, and sanctify. Sanctification, when understood, impacts all aspects of your life. It is not to be understood as a doctrine only, a tradition, or a denominational characteristic, but a new way of living for all believers which manifests in consistent joyfulness, prayerfulness, and thanksgiving in all things.
To live sanctified, you must be satisfied (content) with who you are in Christ, where you are in Him, and whose you are. It isn’t limited to what you do and don’t do, but it is who you are as result of your justification in Christ Jesus (Rom. 3:38; 5:1).
Your joy, prayers, and thankfulness should not fluctuate with your circumstances or feelings, even when it goes against your natural inclinations. When you are sanctified wholly, you make a conscious decision to be joyful, prayerful, and thankful regardless of varying circumstances. To be sanctified wholly is to be sanctified completely—spirit, soul, and body.