A Christian is set apart, different from the world. It has always been that way with God’s children. As Moses transformed a slave-minded people into a special people of God, he designated Levites to serve in temple worship, drawing clear distinctions “that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean” (Leviticus 10:10).
Sanctification is ever consistent, from God’s calling Abraham out of Ur to the present call for Christians to be unique (Genesis 12:1ff; 2 Corinthians 6:17). Ezekiel reinforced this differentiation during his vision of the temple when he commanded Israel “to make a separation between the sanctuary and the profane place” (Ezekiel 42:20). The author of Hebrews joins the Old Covenant concept to the New when he explains Christ’s role in our appointment to holiness: “Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:9-10).
The practical application of this lofty theological principle is simpler than many would like to admit. For the self-serving, self-centered “servant,” sanctification is restrictive, limiting freedoms. Corinth struggled with this, confusing liberty for license (1 Corinthians 8:9; 10:29, 33), so Paul clarified the distinction between the Christian and the world (6:9-11). The real issue was not what they were, but what they were willing to be.
Mixing the profane with that which is holy in worship, service, or life compromises the integrity of the Christian and does not escape divine notice (Hebrews 10:28-29). Authorized worship, divine service, and sacred living are part and parcel of the Christian’s life. You cannot be holy and common, “Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16).