“What does it mean to be ‘sanctified?'”
You’re speaking theologically, of course?
“Yes. I have a friend who says he’s ‘saved, sanctified, and filled with the Holy Ghost.'”
Your friend probably attends some sort of Holiness or Pentecostal church where they teach that one can be wholly sanctified. That is to say, he can live in this present life without sinning.
“You’ve got it!”
Well, in the Scriptures, to be sanctified means “to be set apart” from sin to righteousness. The Bible teaches that anyone who says that he doesn’t sin is wrong and makes God a liar (1 John 1:7-10). So this is a serious matter.
“Sure looks that way.”
Indeed. Sanctification is a process, not a one-time act. Of course, one is instantaneously “set apart” from others as God’s child when he is justified, but that’s not what we’re talking about. He is only gradually being set apart from sin, over his entire lifespan. It’s only when he gets to heaven that he will be entirely sanctified.
Many who hold to the doctrine of entire sanctification, in order to do so, treat a number of sins as something less—mistakes, errors, lacks of judgment, and the like.
“That’s the sort of thing he talks about—rather than sin.”
Well, that’s a dangerous position to hold.
Because we must always recognize sin as “sin.” Otherwise, we probably won’t be so concerned to avoid it. If something is merely a lack of judgment rather than an offense against a holy God, that is a great difference which may directly or indirectly affect our motivation to change. And, don’t forget I John where such a claim challenges the veracity of God.
“Oh! I can see now that this issue is more important than I thought.”
It’s very important. Indeed, it’s important enough for you to attempt to convince your friend of the truth in the matter. If no one ever does, he may go on involved in sin without realizing it.