John 17:17 - Sanctification
John 17:17 (EAV) Sanctify them [purify, consecrate, separate them for
Yourself, make them holy] by the Truth; Your Word is Truth.
Sanctify means "to set apart for God and His holy purposes". The means of
sanctification is God's Word. [Ryrie SB]
A follower of Christ becomes sanctified (set apart for sacred use, cleansed,
and made holy) through believing and obeying the Word of God. He or she has
already accepted forgiveness through Christ's sacrificial death. But daily
application of God's Word has a purifying effect on our minds and hearts.
[Life Application SB]
Sanctification does not mean sinless perfection, otherwise Christ could
never say, "I sanctify Myself" (v. 19), for He had no sin. A sanctified
Christian is someone who is daily growing in the Word and as a result is
separated more and more from the world unto the Father. [Wiersbe Expository
God's way is not to take us out of the world, but to take the world out of
us. [Victor Bible Reader's Companion]
The New Testament leaves no doubt that holiness is our responsibility. If
we are to pursue holiness, we must take some decisive action...
The action we are to take is to put to death the misdeeds of the body
(Rom.8:13). Paul uses the same expression in another book: "Put to death,
therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature" (Col.3:5)....To put to
death the misdeeds of the body, then, is to destroy the strength and
vitality of sin as it tries to reign in our bodies.
It must be clear to us that mortification, though it is something we do,
cannot be carried out in our own strength..... Mortification must be done
by the strength and under the direction of the Holy Spirit....
"How do we destroy the strength and vitality of sin?" If we are to work at
this difficult task, we must first have conviction. We must be persuaded
that a holy life of God's will for every Christian is important...
Not only must we develop conviction for living a holy life in general, but
we must also develop convictions in specific areas of obedience.
These convictions are developed through exposure to the Word of God....
Obedience is the pathway to holiness, but it is only as we have His commands
that we can obey them. God's Word must be so strongly fixed in our minds
that it becomes the dominant influence in our thoughts, our attitudes, and
our actions. [Jerry Bridges; Time with God devotional SB]
Sanctification begins in regeneration. The Spirit of God infuses into man
that new living principle by which he becomes "a new creature" in Christ
Jesus. This work, which begins in the new birth, is carried on in two
ways-mortification, whereby the lusts of the flesh are subdued and kept
under; and vivification, by which the life which God has put within us is
made to be a well of water springing up unto everlasting life. This is
carried on every day in what is called "perseverance," by which the
Christian is preserved and continued in a gracious state, and is made to
abound in good works unto the praise and glory of God; and it culminates or
comes to perfection, in "glory," when the soul, being thoroughly purged, is
caught up to dwell with holy beings at the right hand of the Majesty on
high. But while the Spirit of God is thus the author of sanctification, yet
there is a visible agency employed which must not be forgotten. "Sanctify
them," said Jesus, "through thy truth: thy word is truth." The passages of
Scripture which prove that the instrument of our sanctification is the Word
of God are very many. The Spirit of God brings to our minds the precepts and
doctrines of truth, and applies them with power. These are heard in the ear,
and being received in the heart, they work in us to will and to do of God's
good pleasure. The truth is the sanctifier, and if we do not hear or read
the truth, we shall not grow in sanctification. We only progress in sound
living as we progress in sound understanding. "Thy word is a lamp unto my
feet and a light unto my path." Do not say of any error, "It is a mere
matter of opinion." No man indulges an error of judgment, without sooner or
later tolerating an error in practice. Hold fast the truth, for by so
holding the truth shall you be sanctified by the Spirit of God. [Morning and
Evening by Charles H. Spurgeon]
The Scriptures are the great agency in the transformation of character.
Christ prayed, "Sanctify them through Thy truth; Thy word is truth." John
17:17. If studied and obeyed, the word of God works in the heart, subduing
every unholy attribute. The Holy Spirit comes to convict of sin, and the
faith that springs up in the heart works by love to Christ, conforming us in
body, soul, and spirit to His own image. Then God can use us to do His will.
Received into the heart, the leaven of truth will regulate the desires,
purify the thoughts, and sweeten the disposition. It quickens the faculties
of the mind and the energies of the soul. It enlarges the capacity for
feeling, for loving. COL99-102
These truths were not given so that we might debate, but that we might
surrender and worship. It is not a big head, but a burning heart, that
proves we have grasped something of the meaning of God's eternal plan. [The
Strategy of Satan by Warren W.Wiersbe]
The Bible is the seed of the new birth <1 Pet. 1:23>, and the food of the
new life, <1 Pet. 2:1-2>. (Matthew Henry's Commentary)
To be sanctified is to be set apart, or dedicated. It's not enough to "just
believe." God calls all who believe to complete dedication to Him and His
How does a believer become sanctified? By the working of God's Word in his
or her life. Scripture is not just a statement of standards by which we are
to live. It is a powerful, active agent God uses to call us closer to Him,
and to guide our steps.
Don't expect your life to change if your Bible gathers dust on some shelf.
[The 365-Day Devotional Commentary]