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
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
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
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
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. COL99-102
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 ways.
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]