Desecration, sanctification and holiness

Desecration is the act of depriving something of its sacred character, or the disrespectful, contemptuous, or destructive treatment of that which is held to be sacred or holy by a group or individual.

Sanctification is “the work of God’s free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness.” - Westminster Shorter Catechism Q35

“Sanctification is a progressive work of God and man that makes us more and more free from sin and be like Christ in our actual lives.” - Wayne Grudem

“By sanctification we are saved from the power and root of sin, and restored to the image of God” - John Wesley

“Holiness is nothing else but the habitual and predominant devotion and dedication of soul, and body, and life, and all that we have to God; and esteeming, and loving, and serving, and seeking Him, before all the pleasures and prosperity of the flesh.” - Richard Baxter

“Most men hope to go to heaven when they die; but few, it may be feared, take the trouble to consider whether they would enjoy heaven if they got there. Heaven is essentially a holy place; its inhabitants are all holy; its occupations are all holy.” - J. C. Ryle

God, our creator has made all things holy for man sake. Generally, it is about protecting humankind from self-destruction and from destroying others, and it prepares us for our coming life with Christ Jesus when we leave our sinful bodies.

In the Holy Scriptures, we have it all. However, I am going to name some in this article. 

God sanctifies and make mankind holy:

  • In the Old Testament, both people and ordinary objects were sanctified for sacred purposes. Once they were set apart as instruments for God’s service, they were never to be used for mundane purposes again (Exodus 29-30). 
  • These cultic practices foreshadow the sanctification of the church. God sets people apart from the world to honor him through sacrificial service (John 17:15-18; Romans 12:1-2). People are purified from their sins by the blood of Jesus (Hebrews 9:11-14) and are conformed to the image of Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:29). As Christians submit to the life of the Holy Spirit, they grow in godliness reflecting God’s holy character more and more (Galatians 5:16-24; 1 Peter 1:14-16).
  • Those who have been sanctified are called saints, or “holy ones.” In the New Testament, the term “saint” applies to every follower of Jesus, not just exemplary Christians (Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2). 
  • God sanctifies people from their sins and sets them apart from the world to serve Him alone (Romans 6:5-14). God calls every Christian to set themselves apart from the world in order to honor God with their lives (2 Timothy 2:21; 1 Peter 2:9).
  • Consecration means setting something apart from the world to serve God. The nation of Israel was consecrated to honour God with their lives. Abraham, Israel’s first patriarch was set apart from his nation and his family to serve God in the land of Canaan (Genesis 12:1-3). His descendants became the nation of Israel. They were called out from among all the nations of the earth to worship God alone. 
  • The people of Israel were set apart as God’s special possession (Exodus 19:5-6; Deuteronomy 7:6). They were to represent God before the other nations of the earth, demonstrating God’s holiness by keeping the Sabbath and obeying God’s commands (Leviticus 22:31-33). God’s commandments revealed his ethical standards. The commands provided a practical way for God’s people to display His holiness to the world.
  • God was dishonoured by their disobedience. Instead of being glorified, God’s name was profaned among the nations (Ezekiel 20:1-32; 36:16-21). God promised to restore his good name by empowering his people to keep his commandments through the power of the Holy Spirit (Ezekiel 36:26-27). 
  • God fulfilled his promise through the new covenant. God wrote his commandments on people’s hearts (Jeremiah 31:31; Hebrews 10:16) and empowered them to overcome sin and temptation through the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). God renews his covenant with the church, once again calling people to represent his holiness before the nations of the earth. The church is set apart from the world to serve God.
  • God bless and sanctifies matrimony. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:28)
  • God sanctifies the unbeliever. For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise, your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. (I Corinthians 7: 14-15).
  • Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. (Genesis 2:3).
  • Also, I gave them my Sabbaths as a sign between us, so they would know that I the LORD made them holy. (Exodus 20:12)
  • "Tell the Israelites, 'Surely you must keep My Sabbaths, for this will be a sign between Me and you for the generations to come, so that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you. (Exodus 31:13)
  • Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (I Thessalonians 5:23).
  • But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the first fruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. (II Thessalonians 2:13-14).
  • Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God. (2 Corinthians 7:1)


Holiness is the gift of God through Christ Jesus for our salvation. Glory is to God in Jesus Holy Name. Amen and Amen.

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