by Dr. Jack Hyles
That which is God’s is supposed to be kept separate- it is sanctified. The word “sanctified” (holy) is a very important word in the Bible. It means, “set apart for God’s use only. ” When something is set apart for a specific purpose, it is called “sanctified. ” The pulpit in the First Baptist Church of Hammond is sanctified. It is not a perfect pulpit; it has scratches and marks and is marred by much use, but it is sanctified. It is set apart for one thing-for the preaching and the teaching of the Word of God. It is used for nothing else. It is a sanctified pulpit. The chairs in the choir are sanctified, which means they are set apart for a specific purpose. The church pews are sanctified.
Some things in the Old Testament were sanctified to the service of the Lord. In such cases man could not touch it. For example, the ark of the covenant was that little piece of furniture inside the Holy of Holies. It was sanctified to the Lord and could not be touched by the hands of men. When Uzza steadied it while it was shaking, he was immediately taken by death because he touched that which was sanctified to God.
In the Old Testament, God sanctified the tithe. It was set apart to Him. It was His, and man could not touch or use it. The first tenth of all the increase was sanctified to the Lord. The firstborn of all animals was sanctified to the Lord. The firstborn child was sanctified to the Lord. Jesus Himself was sanctified. I Corinthians 15:23, “But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming.” The Word of God is sanctified. The very fact that we call it “Holy Bible” means “sanctified Bible.”
The firstfruits belong to God. The first ten percent of our increase is His. It is not something that we give to Him; it is already His. It is not ours to give. It is holy and sanctified to God.
1. The sin of Adam and Eve was taking that which was sanctified to God. God said to Adam and Eve,- “All but one of the trees in the garden are yours. You can use them; enjoy them, but one is Mine. It is sanctified. That one is not for your use.” When Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden tree they were taking that which was sanctified to the Lord. In other words, the sin of Adam and Eve was the sin of not tithing. That tree was God’s just like ten percent of our income is His. They took it for themselves, and when they did, a curse came upon the entire human race. An entire race fell because that which God had set apart was taken by the hands of man. They had touched that which was holy which is the same thing that the Christian does when he touches the firstfruits of his income.
I was teaching this in a service one night, and a man who has a great knowledge of botany and horticulture came to me with a startling statement. He told me that all the trees in the world originated from nine trees that were in the Garden of Eden. He listed these trees as the pomegranate, the mulberry, the berry, the rose, the palm, the ebony, the rue, the nut and the vine. If this be true, then there were ten species of trees in the Garden of Eden- nine were for man and one was for God. One of the ten was sanctified. Whether or not the statement from this expert on botany is true, one thing is true for sure, and that is, the one tree that was set apart and sanctified as holy to God was taken by man! This is the same sin committed every Sunday in thousands of churches around the world when God’s people walk out of the church building with the tithe in their pockets. Malachi 3:8-10, “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed Me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed Thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed Me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine house, and prove Me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” I Corinthians 16:1, 2, “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.”
The first money that I ever made was as a ten-year-old boy when I had a Dallas morning newspaper route. The first week I made $3. As soon as I got home, my mother told me to change one of the dollars. I did. She took three dimes and set them apart and said, “Son, these are God’s. This is the tithe. It is not yours.” I confess that 1 did not quite understand it, for God did not throw my papers for me nor get up at three o’clock in the morning to fold them and deliver them, but I believed Mother, and the next Sunday morning I placed my 30 cents in the offering plate. From that moment until this, the first ten percent has always been God’s.
2. The sin of Cain was the sin of not tithing. Genesis 4:1-4, “And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord. And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering.” Hebrews 11:4, “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.” Notice that Abel brought of the firstlings of his flock. This was that which God had set apart to Himself. Nothing is said about Cain bringing the firstlings of his flock. Oh, yes, it was a sin for Cain not to bring a blood sacrifice, but it was also a sin for him not to let God have that which was holy. The firstling of the flock was holy. Abel brought to God that which was sanctified to Him. Cain did not. Cain’s sin was that of not tithing. An entire civilization was destroyed because of this wicked sin. Just as a race fell because Adam and Eve did not let God have that which was sanctified wholly unto Him, even so an entire civilization was destroyed because Cain did not let God have that which was set apart.
3. The sin of Achan was the sin of not tithing. When the Israelites came into the Promised Land, God wanted the firstfruits for Himself. The first city was Jericho, so God said that Jericho was a holy and sanctified city, set apart to God Himself. When Achan took the Babylonish garment for his wife, the wedge of gold and 200 shekels of silver, in a sense he was taking the tithe. This was the first city of the land, the firstfruits of the land, and it was God’s! It was set apart unto God. Because Achan took that which was sanctified unto the Lord, he was stoned to death, as were his wife, children and animals. It makes one get the idea that not tithing is a pretty wicked thing.
4. The body of the believer is sanctified. I Corinthians 6:18-20, “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost Which is in you, Which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” The very word “saints” comes from the word “sanctified” and means “sanctified ones.” Your body is the Lord’s; it is not yours. You are bought with a price and your body belongs to Him. He sanctified it and made it so.
5. Jesus is sanctified. I Corinthians 15:23, “But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming.” Notice especially the words, “Christ the firstfruits. ” Here we go back to the tithe. The firstfruits are God’s. The first tenth is God’s, and Jesus is called the firstfruits. He was set apart, holy and sanctified to be our Substitute.
THEN THERE ARE THINGS THAT WE SET ASIDE AS HOLY !
The tithe is already set aside as the Lord’s, but there are times when we make promises and vows to God to give more than the tithe. When this vow is made, then the amount of money that is pledged becomes sanctified, just as the tithe is sanctified, and it becomes as holy as the tithe.
This was the sin of Ananias and Sapphira. Barnabas had sold a piece of ground in Cyprus and had given to God all of the money received for the ground. Ananias and Sapphira also had a piece of ground. They made a vow to God that they would sell it and give all the money to Him. When they made that vow, their pledge joined the tithe as being sacred and holy. When they did not give it all to God, their lives were taken. They had done the same thing that Uzza did. Uzza touched that which was sanctified, which was the ark of the covenant. Ananias and Sapphira touched that which was sanctified, which was a vow that they had made to God. Had they not made that vow, they would not have been killed. Suppose, for example, they had promised God half of the sale. Then that half would be sanctified and they could be at liberty to use the other half. If they had kept all of it for themselves except the tithe, they still would have continued to live if they had not made God a promise to give more than the tithe. When that vow was made, God transferred that money into the treasury of the Lord, and it became holy just as the tithe is holy.
When a person makes a promise to give so much to a building program or a pledge to a special offering at his church, the amount of that pledge and promise becomes holy and sanctified to God. It is a serious mistake and tragic sin to use it for one’s self. Only eternity will reveal how many people have been taken to Heaven prematurely because they used that which was God’s.
Not only does our money belong to God when it is pledged, but have you, dear reader, ever promised God soul-winning time? Perhaps you have promised God a certain time of the week. It is His. When you made that promise, that time became sanctified! It is dangerous to touch that or use that which is set apart to God.
There are others who have promised God a life in full-time service. Romans 12:1, 2, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” When they surrendered their life to full-time service, their life became sanctified or set apart, just as the life of the high priest in the Old Testament. A person who has given his life to full-time service has set it apart as holy and sanctified to the Lord. Not to keep that promise is to take that which is God’s. It is the same sin which Adam and Eve committed in the Garden of Eden, which Cain committed, which Achan committed and which Uzza committed-the sin of taking that which has been set aside as sacred to God and using it for one’s self.
Many years ago God spoke to me and told me that He wanted my life full time in His service. Just a bit before midnight at a watch night service at the Hillcrest Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas, I gave Him my life. At that moment it became sanctified. Then I preached my first sermon. I was so disappointed. I spoke for only three minutes, sat down in embarrassment and failure. That night I said that I would not be a preacher, but God said, “Your life is not yours. You gave it to Me.” I had no choice. I had to let God keep that which was set aside and sanctified to Himself or commit the awful sin of being sacrilegious by profaning that which was holy unto God.
Have you promised God a time when you would pray? It is His. Have you promised God a certain time for Bible study? It is His. Have you promised God that you would be faithful to certain services of the church? Then those times are holy. I believe that Sunday is God’s day and that God’s people should go to church on Sunday. It is a holy day, a sanctified day and should be treated as such. However, for me Wednesday night has equal sanctity with Sunday because years ago I set aside Wednesday night and gave it to God. God said He wanted Sunday. I said I would add Wednesday night. When I did, Wednesday night became as holy as Sunday. It is His. This is the reason I would never think of missing church on Sunday morning or Sunday night or Wednesday night, regardless of the circumstances. Many Christians have some catching up to do. They are holding in their hands sanctified time and sanctified money. Some of these sanctified things are things sanctified by God Himself, and others have been sanctified by a believer’s vow.
by Jack Hyles