Sanctification. A “church” word that gets tossed around so much within church circles and amongst believers that the true power and prayer behind the term from our Lord Jesus Christ is lost. In addition, the term is usually used to portray self-righteousness amongst believers or even a foundation for legalistic behavior. The true Joy of Sanctification has been forgotten and is what we will consider this month during the 31-day writing challenge.
What better place to start than examining Christ’s own prayer to the Father on our behalf for sanctification.
“I have given them Your word. The world hated them because they are not of the world as I am not of the world.
I am not praying that You take them out of the world but that You protect them from the evil one.
They are not of the world, as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth.
As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. I sanctify Myself for them, so they also may be sanctified by the truth.” John 17:14-19
Such sweet, tender, powerful prayers coming from our Lord and Savior before His crucifixion. As Jesus prays, His heart for His disciples is clearly revealed. Jesus prays not for health and welfare for the disciples, but for their protection from the evil one and for their sanctification!! He doesn’t just leave them wondering what sanctification is or what it looks like either. Immediately after asking God to sanctify us, He defines sanctification. Sanctification is truth and the only truth is God’s word.
Christ doesn’t just ask this for His followers and then expect them to do something He Himself did not do. Christ clearly states He has sanctified Himself so that His followers would have a model to follow. Jesus was sanctified while on this earth not because He was God, but because He only did and said what the Father TOLD Him. Sanctification comes through the WORD. The word that Jesus heard from His Father and the word that Jesus says He has given to His disciples (John 17:14). While prayer draws us into communion with the Father, His Word is what penetrates our hearts and moves us to where we need to be. J.C. Ryle states the process this way in his book, Holiness.
Sanctification is that inward spiritual work which the Lord Jesus Christ works in a man by the Holy Ghost, when He calls him to be a true believer. He not only washes him from his sins in His own blood, but He also separates him from his natural love of sin and the world, puts a new principle in his heart, and makes him practically godly in life. The instrument by which the Spirit effects this work is generally the Word of God, though He sometimes uses afflictions and providential visitations “without the Word.” (1 Peter 3:1) The subject of this work of Christ by His Spirit is called in Scripture “sanctified” man” (Ryle, 16)
Jesus gave His disciples the word.
Jesus prayed His disciples would be sanctified.
Jesus sanctified Himself so that His disciples would have an example of sanctification.
Today may we heed the heart of our Lord and Savior and begin our journey for sanctification through the truth of God’s word. It will be through God’s Word that our sanctification process begins and we experience the joy that comes through it.
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