An open Bible and a cup of coffee.

Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.”
John 17:17-19

In our Lord’s remarkable High Priestly prayer, He made request that His people would be sanctified by the word of God. We know that our Lord’s prayers are always heard by His Father (John 1:41-42) and that “the desire of the righteous shall be granted” (Proverbs 10:24). We may be certain therefore that we are indeed being sanctified by the word of God, but what exactly does this mean? The word sanctified means “to be set apart.” Searching the Scriptures, we understand that this blessing entails at least two distinct but complementary things. Firstly, the word of God has irresistible and incontestable declarative power. That is to say, as the final authority and the ultimate court of appeal, God’s word assigns identity to all things in the created order as they relate to God’s plan. In short, things are what God says there are; His assessment is the final word on the matter. God’s word declares His Son to be “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners” (Hebrews 7:26). Those who have received Christ for salvation are said to be “in Christ” (Romans 8:1; 9:1; 12:5; 16:7; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 15:22, 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 3:28). As He is therefore declared sanctified by the word, we in Him are likewise sanctified. Paul’s address to the believers in Corinth, and by extension all believers everywhere, is very instructive. “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth,” wrote the great apostle, “to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:” (1 Corinthians 1:2). Secondly, the word acts as a sanctifying agent in our lives when we apply its teachings to our everyday thought, attitude, speech and conduct. The Bible is replete with references to the great chasm that exists between the wisdom of God and the foolishness of unregenerate man (1 Corinthians 1-2; Ephesians 4:17-24). Believing and obeying the word of God will cause us to stand out as strange in the word. In his first epistle, the apostle Peter noted the amazing contrast between the conduct of believers and unbelievers (1 Peter 3:3). Concerning the attitude of the unregenerate towards us, he wrote that “they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you” (1 Peter 3:4). Unintimidated by such things, may we “be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom [we]shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life” (Philippians 2:15-16). Whatever the cost, may it be so O Lord!

God bless you, dear saints,

Pastor John