Sanctified by the
Word of God
Jesus tells us in John 17:16-19 that we have a practical progressive
sanctification of our present life by the application of the truth of Gods Word.
The word sanctify in verse seventeen means to
consecrate, or to set apart persons or things to God (Ex. 28:41; 29:1, 36; 40:13; 1
Thess. 5:23, etc).
The Holy Spirit uses the Word to do His work within the believer.
Lets distinguish between the sanctification by the Holy Spirit within us at the
beginning of Gods work of salvation in our souls, and the everyday application of
Gods word in the Christians life. We are in the need of daily sanctification
by the truth of Gods Word. This is a progressive work that will go on in our lives
until we are presented perfect in Christ at His second coming.
Sanctification is not the eradication of our sinful nature, or of the
old man in a once and for all experience.
However, God takes His Word, not human speculation or opinions, and
sets us apart from the world to Himself. We are set apart for Gods special use.
Therefore, our values, goals and behaviors are distinct from the worlds.
The Word of God sanctifies us as we study, meditate, memorize and
apply its truths to our daily life. The Holy Spirit uses it to make us aware of sin,
confess it and repent. He takes the Word and reveals Gods perfect will for our
lives. We grow in His grace through the knowledge of His truth. As we yield in obedience
to His truth we are sanctified by the truth.
Jesus prayed to His Father, For this sake I sanctify Myself,
that they also may be sanctified in truth (John 17:19). Jesus was already set apart
to God. Indeed, He was sinless. However, the night before His death on the cross He was
dedicating Himself that they too may be truly sanctified. Literally, He said,
sanctified in truth. Jesus death eternally separated believers to God
and His kingdom, and Gods truth is the means of their daily sanctification.
Sanctify them in truth; Your Word is truth (v. 17). Just
as Jesus was set apart for special use, so are the believers. The truth is
communicated in the Word. As we hear the Word, we comprehend the truth and
obey it. This changes our values, our lifestyle, and a behavioral change takes place. We
are changed in our everyday practice.
As we daily appropriate Gods Word we are sanctified by it. We
are set apart to God and changed in the way we live so that we bring honor and glory to
True daily sanctification in this life comes through the ministry of
the Word of God. Jesus told His disciples, Now are you clean through the word which
I have spoken unto you (John 15:3). God set us apart to Himself when He saved us. As
we grow in Christ we experience more and more sanctification. We are progressively set
apart to God as we grow in our faith, and love for God more than the desire of the world.
This being set apart daily comes as the Holy Spirit applies Gods word to our
everyday experiences. The Holy Spirit enables us to obey Gods Word. He is the author
of the Word and He uses it to enlighten our minds, enable our will and encourage our
We were made clean through the Word at the new birth. As we obey the
Word of God daily the defilement is washed out of our lives. When we sin we do not need to
be saved all over again. We will never be regenerated a second or third time. After you
bathe, you do not need to bathe again when you get your hands dirty. You wash them off and
you are clean once more. God has given us a bar of soap. It is found in 1 John 1:9. Use it
This is the practical and progressive sanctification that is seen in
Ephesians 5:25-27 as Jesus sanctifies and cleanses His church. As the
believer makes himself available to the Holy Spirit he is changed from
the inside out. The Word of God has the liberty in the heart of the
Spirit-controlled Christian to displace sin and replace in its place the
righteousness of God. The blood of Christ cleanses the believer from actual sin.
Every born again Christian does pursue holiness until the second
coming of Christ. At that time He will change these bodies of humiliation and make them
like His glorious body. When that happens we shall have reached our goal and become
absolutely, perfectly holy and sinless forever.
It is our responsibility to apply the word of God daily in the power
of the Holy Spirit. It does not come automatically. For example, to abstain from sexual
immorality requires the exercise of self-discipline enabled by the Holy Spirit.
Gods perfect will is that His people be holy (1 Thess. 3:13).
For this is the will of God, your sanctification (1 Thess. 4:3). The context
deals with sexual immorality; however, the truth can be applied to any area of our lives.
For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification
(v. 7). Paul has in mind the progressive sanctification of his readers whereby they are
conformed to the image of Christ in daily experiences.
Gods purpose is for the Christian to live separated lives in
purity of mind and body. This is practical sanctification.
A holy life demonstrates Gods supernatural power at work in a
believers life. A holy walk involves a right relationship with God.
Do you have an appetite for Gods pure Word? Let the Holy Spirit
empower you to walk in holiness as you search the Scriptures and obey His Word.
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
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