Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

September “Sanctified” Study: a Good Diet for Growth

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It’s a promising year of personal growth for me as I begin reading the great Text with an eye for the passages that call people and places and things from the realm of the mundane to the realm of the sanctified, the “set apart” for purposes specified by God. I’m thrilled to be hearing from women who are making this trek with me, both in groups and in personal Bible study. I’m most amazed by His providence in giving us the technical and logistic tools to be studying this rich topic together from California to New Zealand to DC to South America. I do not know all of you, but He does and I marvel that He listens to all of us as we ask Him to bless this study and strengthen us in sanctification as His holy people. I pray for all of you as you try to be better, more like Him, holier– even as He is holy (I Peter 1:15).

I know all of our Genesis lists will not be identical. Sometimes it’s a little difficult to decide if a particular instance was a calling of God (sanctification) or a merely a circumstance that God used. As we go through the study, I hope we can offer each other insights as to the meaning of sanctification. We get a glimpse of how the Holy Spirit used the word even from Genesis two.

Near the beginning of this chapter, God sanctified the seventh day. The word translated “sanctified” in that passage is “qadesh” and here is the meaning of the word according to Strongs:

qadash kaw-dash’ a primitive root; to be (causatively, make, pronounce or observe as) clean (ceremonially or morally):–appoint, bid, consecrate, dedicate, defile, hallow, (be, keep) holy(-er, place), keep, prepare, proclaim, purify, sanctify(-ied one, self), X wholly.

In this instance, the sanctified day was pronounced as a dedicated day, a holy day, a ceremonially “kept” day. It was appointed and dedicated as the holy sabbath from this moment and throughout the Patriarchal and Mosaic ages. Some instances of sanctification are not quite as obvious, but still, we can see God designating something that otherwise would be “regular”–just something of this earthly world. God’s designation, though, makes the “regular” extraordinary. He gives the mundane a spiritual significance. That’s sanctification. That’s what God did to Saturdays in the Old Testament.

Here are my notes on chapters one through three. Yours may be different. Be sure, as you study, to keep in mind or even post your thoughts and questions that may challenge the rest of us.

1:3–I considered beginning my list with “light” in this passage. I thought a lot about how that God did not call the darkness “good”. It was the light that He called good. And, from this moment in time until Jesus sprang up as the “light” (Mt. 4:16), light has represented good and righteousness.  It was darkness that was the plague of Exodus 10. Mount Sinai was covered with darkness before the commandments were issued in Deuteronomy 4, but Moses’ face shone so the people could not look on it when he descended with the tablets of stone in Exodus 34. It is the works of darkness that damn us (Ephesians 5:11) and it is the light in which we are to walk (I John 1:7) even as we are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14) as is Christ (John 8:12). Just as the light came from darkness on Mount Sinai and shone on the face of Moses, so light came from darkness in the face of Jesus Christ (II Corinthians 4:6). (Hmmm…maybe next year’s study should be about light and darkness throughout the Word. Actually, as we study sanctification, that is very much what we ARE studying. When people are sanctified, they are called from darkness to light [Acts 26:18]). God is severe when He speaks about  those who confuse the two. [Isaiah 5:20, II Cor. 6:14].) Fascinating study. Big study. But I am going to say that light was created and used as a spiritual symbol by an infinitely creative God, but, for our purposes, I am not going to call the light a sanctified entity.

2:3 This is one of the most easily identifiable sanctified things in the book of Genesis, because the Spirit plainly tells us it was sanctified. The Sabbath. God meant business about keeping it holy, too. In Exodus 31, we find that the penalty for defiling the sabbath was death. Does God mean business when he sets something apart for His holy purposes? Does he expect us to revere what is holy? It’s interesting to notice here in this act of sanctification, God gave the first of many arbitrary commands. An arbitrary command is one that is not based on morality.  Moral commands involve things we would know are right or wrong even if God had not spoken. But who would have known God wanted him to revere the sabbath  had God not expressly spoken? No one. Is Immersion in water today a sanctified act? Is it sanctified for Olympic divers in the competition? Is it sanctified for penitent believers who are obeying God’s command in Acts 2:38? Which is mundane and which is sanctified?

2:17-18, 3:5, 3:22–Here,there are two trees. Trees are trees. We see them everywhere. Thus they are “regular”–normal parts of our world. They were everywhere in Adam’s world, too. But God sanctified two particular trees in the garden. Are things sometimes sanctified in such a way that God does not allow us to approach them or partake of them? Let’s watch for that kind of sanctification in this study.

2:24-We hear a lot about the sanctity of marriage these days, so once again, I was tempted to list marriage as a sanctified institution from this passage. I know good marriage is God-ordained and valuable. “Valuable” is what the descriptive term “honorable” means in Hebrews 13:4. But there are marriages, recognized by God as such that are not holy. He even commanded the dissolution of some of them. (Notice Ezra 10:3.) Once again, though marriage was instituted by God and individual marriages can be sanctified (My husband and I have sanctified our own marriage for His purposes), marriage, as an institution, is not necessarily “sanctified” according to the parameters of this study.

3:24–I believe the cherubim and the sword were sanctified by God in verse 24. There is nothing necessarily holy about a cherubim or a sword. But God set this particular sword and cherubim (likely the first sword and cherubim) apart for His holy purpose expressed in 3:24.

There you go. Not the definitive list, but my list. Keep studying. Keep listing. Keep growing. I’m trying to ingest lots of spiritual nutrients this month and refrain from excessive amounts of the mundane kind of caloric intake. Good diet.

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