|Dr. Couch, how were the OT believers progressively sanctified?|
ANSWER: To be sanctified means "to be holy." The Hebrew word is Ko'desh and all its variants have to do with being holy, to sanctify, or to be sanctified. The main Hebrew verses are in Leviticus 11:44; 19:2 which say "Be holy; for I am holy." In the context of 11:44 it has to do with staying clean from eating unclean animals. The verse before says "Do not render yourselves detestable" by eating unclean things. The reason is that it is God who brought the Jews "up from the land of Egypt, … thus you shall be holy for I am holy" (v. 45). Further, this is part of the Mosaic law. In other words, they were to keep the law in order to be clean or holy. Verse 46 says "This is the law regarding the animal and the bird, ..."
Verse 44 then is used by Peter to tell church saints that they are to be holy. Peter writes "As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, 'You shall be holy, for I am holy'" (1 Pet. 1:14-16).
Peter applies the Leviticus 11 passage on being holy and not eating unclean things to the believer to remind them to be morally holy in all things. If I said that this was progressive holiness for the OT saints, I meant it in the sense that no one can become instantly holy in their spiritual walk. We progressively walk toward holiness, and so did the OT saints. And even with this, no one becomes holy all at once, in fact, no one becomes completely holy in the spiritual walk. We grow in holiness, and so did the OT saints, but no one becomes completely perfect or holy in this life.
There were OT saints, or holy ones. "As for the holy ones (Ko'deshim) that are in the earth ..." (Psa. 16:3). There are saints in the dispensation of the law, saints in the church dispensation, and there are tribulation saints, those who are saved during the tribulation (Rev. 13:7). While all of these are sanctified or seen as holy, they are not of the same dispensation.
All believers are saints Positionally, and all saints are growing and learning to Walk in holiness Progressively. Position and Walk are different. Our POSITION before God is established because we are in Christ; our walk is PROGRESSIVE because we are growing in time.
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch (1/11)