Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He [God] for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. (Hebrews 12:9–10)
It is God’s desire that we might partake of His holiness. The author of Hebrews continued, “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord” (verse 14). First, we are to pursue holiness. Second, in order to achieve holiness, I believe we must pursue peace with all people. We are to attempt to live peaceably, avoiding quarrels or disagreements, if we are able. The writer of Hebrews also issued a solemn warning. He said that we will not see the Lord unless we become partakers of His holiness.
Another Scripture passage that expresses God’s desire for holiness in His people says, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification” (1 Thessalonians 4:3). What exactly is “sanctification”? To an extent, the English language obscures the words’ true meaning. An English word ending in the suffix “-ify” means to make something correspond to the quality indicated by whatever precedes the “-ify.” For example, purify means “to make pure”; clarify means “to make clear”; rectify means “to make right.” By extension, sanctify means “to make sanct.” But what is sanct? By derivation, it is the same as saint; and saint, in turn, is the same as holy. All three words—sanctify, saint, and holy—are derived from one basic Greek word, hagios, the root word for “holy.” Very simply, then, sanctification is the process of making something—or someone—holy.
Thus, we can accurately translate 1 Thessalonians 4:3 in this way: “For this is the will of God, that you be made holy.”