This is something dedicated, sanctified and consecrated for divine use as opposed to the profane, unholy and evil (Ex 30:25; Josh 6:19; Zeph 3:4; Mt 23:16,17).

The OT temple was to be a sacred place to offer sacrifices to God (2 Chr 2:5,6).  In the NT God’s Holy Spirit lives in the ‘temple’ of the believer’s body – this is the reason for keeping it holy (1 Cor 3:17, 6:15-20). All activities we

Do I continually lay my all on the altar?

undertake are to be regarded as spiritual sacrifices to God because of our surrender and sacrifice of our self, and this applies especially in honouring marriage and controlling our thought life (Mt 5:28, 15:19,20; Rom 12:1,2; Phil 4:18; Heb 13:4,15,16; 1 Pet 2:5). It is our responsibility to guard what has been entrusted to us (Prov 4:23; 1 Tim 6:20; 2 Tim 1:14).

What God has declared as sacred is not to be altered in any way or defiled by sin, but protected (Deut 12:32; Isa 5:20; Rev 22:19). If there has been defilement, repent and claim the cleansing of the blood of Jesus and walk uprightly. However, in areas where no direct instruction has been given each person is able to exercise their own conscience and judgement whether it is permissible or not (Rom 14:5). However, we often categorize things as either 'sacred' (religious, suitable for church use) or 'secular' (not Christian themed, but worldly).

Whatever legitimate occupation a Christian has should be considered sacred and spiritual; an avenue of working for the Lord by being a witness for God in action (and maybe words too) with everything done for the glory of God (1 Cor 10:31; Col 3:23,24). We are to love and serve Him all the time, bringing His presence onto the factory floor, into the office and kitchen as well as the 'spiritual church stuff'. We are to let our light shine and be an influence for Christ wherever we are – infusing the secular with the sacred (Mt 5:16).

Different entities in society have distinct roles to fulfill and there should be a demarcation between, with neither meddling in the affairs of the other. The church is tasked with spreading the gospel, discipling believers, and blessing the culture it is immersed in. National government is tasked among other things with restraining evil and promoting justice in society. Church and state operate in different spheres, and if both entities do their jobs well, each benefits from the input and support of the other. The church can and should be involved in society at large with the ability to articulate the biblical viewpoint on any given moral issue to the state who should be concerned with morality and other sacred or religious matters as to their impact on society.

When the state and the Roman Catholic church became too interconnected around AD 313 under the Emperor Constantine an unhealthy entanglement developed which continues in some countries today to some degree, yet conversely society suffers when there is a lack of interaction between state and Christianity. Each entity should concentrate on its core responsibilities and welcome input yet, without trying to control the other. Jesus recognised the two parallel streams when He said, "Give to Caesar (the secular authority) what is Caesar's and to God, what is God's" (Mk 12:17). There must be a wholesome balance between separation and interlinking.

See also: altar, consecrate, defile, holy, presence of God, pure/purity, sacrilege, sanctify/sanctification, secular.