John 17:17 - Sanctification, What Does It Mean?

John 17:17 - Sanctification, What Does It Mean?

John 17:17 (KJV)  Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is

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 Outlines]

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
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
"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
These convictions are developed through exposure to the Word of
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]

"Sanctify them through thy truth." -- John 17:17
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]