John 17:17 – Sanctify them in your truth. Your word is truth.
The word “sanctification” is definitely not a word that we use every day. The Bible is really full of plain language, but sometimes, plain language doesn’t deliver the message that God is meaning to tell us. That’s why I think that it is important that this unusual word is used here.
To sanctify means to set apart as holy, or to set apart as sacred.
That is really an amazing thing to say about people like about you and I. We are always making mistakes, but it really is what Jesus wants for us.
You might naturally think that the way to be made holy is to work as hard as you can to be a good person so that you can be honored with holiness by God, but that isn’t what we read here. It is in God’s truth that we are made holy, but how can truth make us holy? That’s a great question, and I don’t know if I know all of the ways in which it makes us holy, but I do know of one way. When we believe the truth, we automatically change. Jesus has been saying over and over throughout the book of John that if we believe in Him we will be saved from the wrath to come. It’s important that we are saved from the wrath to come, but it is also important that we are to be made holy too. So, in a very practical way, God’s word brings holiness to us as well.
This isn’t to say that if we say we believe the truth we are holy. We will know when we really believe it because we will have true love in our hearts for each other just like Jesus has been saying. Jesus also points out that the source of truth is God’s word.
As we study the Bible, we hear God’s words and it is through the truth of these words that God sanctifies us. God uses these words to make us change the way we think and act. Just reading and knowing the Bible isn’t enough to make us holy, but it is by actually believing and doing what it says that holiness becomes possible for us.
You have probably heard of the “Dark Ages.” I believe that one of the reasons we had the “Dark Ages” was because common man had so little of the Bible available to them. At that time, even the priests seemed more interested in religious books other than the word of God. The people didn’t even know how to read Latin and that is what the Bible was written in.
I never want to see another dark age. That is one of the reasons why I am writing right now. I am very thankful for the freedom to read and know the words of God.
One last thing that I want to make very clear about holiness. We can’t be holy in practice without the power of God’s Holy Spirit. We may believe and still be unable to overcome sin in our lives. We know from the book of Romans and Galatians that we need the help of the Holy Spirit to overcome our fleshly desires, so don’t try to just believe in right and wrong. You need to also believe in what Jesus said about the Holy Spirit in order to actually live out what is in your heart. The Holy Spirit is called the “Spirit of Truth” and he also brings Jesus words to mind and gives us the strength to put it into practice.