The Truth of Sanctification
We have a great High Priest who constantly intercedes on our behalf. The Son of God and Man loves you more deeply than you can fathom. He prays for you, that you might walk in the abundant life his death affords you. And in John 17 we get a glimpse into the fullness of his desire for all those who would believe in him. As we dive deeply into the riches of Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer this week, may your heart be awakened and your life be transformed by the riches of God’s love.
Scripture:“I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.” John 17:14-19
There is a level of freedom from sin in Christ that most of us in the body have yet to reach. Jesus prayed in John 17:14-19,
I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.
Jesus declares a truth about you and me that we have yet to walk in fully: that our sanctification is linked to his consecration. He declares that we are not of the world just as he is not, that he has sent us into the world as he was sent, and prays that we would be sanctified in the truth.
For too long we have sat idle with the incredible gift of freedom bought at the highest price by the blood of Christ and left it unwrapped and thereby not experienced. By the blood of Jesus, we are transformed from being of the world, or of the conditions and brokenness of the world, to being given a new nature and identity of righteousness and holiness. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” And later in verse 21 Paul writes, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” The gift of holiness is yours to be continually unwrapped and experienced day after day. Your portion is righteousness and peace in the Holy Spirit, not the weight and consequences of this sin-wrought world.
So how do we open this incredible gift of holiness? How do we pursue sanctification? What does it mean to be sanctified in the truth? It starts with renewing our mind every day to the truth of our new nature in Christ. We will never be able to live righteously if we continually believe we are sinners by nature. Christ has given us a new nature and filled us with the Holy Spirit who offers us freedom from sin in the midst of every temptation. But unless we spend time in the secret place renewing our mind and allowing God’s love to satisfy and transform us, righteousness will only ever be a lofty goal that feels unachievable.
Next, we must pursue obedience to the Holy Spirit every single time he guides us. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 says,
For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.
We must not disregard the leadership of the Holy Spirit toward purity. If you feel like you shouldn’t watch a TV show or movie, then don’t. If the Spirit takes away your peace about anything you are doing, follow his guidance. Whatever you are doing in that moment might not be sin, but it might lead you down a path to sin. Trust the guidance of the Spirit. Follow where his peace, presence, and word take you. And pursue obedience and freedom at all costs. May you experience sanctification in the truth today as you meditate and spend time fellowshipping with the Spirit in guided prayer.
1. Meditate on the truth of Scripture about your righteousness. Allow God’s word to transform the way you think about yourself and sin. Allow it to lay a foundation for your present pursuit of sanctification and break the bonds of past weaknesses and sin.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36
2. Ask for forgiveness for any sin you have in your life. Spend time receiving God’s forgiveness and allow him to lay a foundation for righteousness. Ask him why you struggle with certain temptations. Ask him what the path to freedom is for you.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers.” James 1:12-16
3. Spend time resting in the presence of God. Allow his love to fill you up, satisfy you, and transform you. Take note of how much more satisfying the presence of God is than anything of the world.
“Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus.” Acts 3:19-20
“But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.” Psalm 73:28
The God you serve loves you and longs to empower you and free you from every sin that entangles you to the brokenness of the world. Therefore, may you be filled with joy at the truth of who you are in Christ. May you pursue obedience and righteousness with fervor and devotion. And may you experience the abundant life available to you as you are continually sanctified in the truth.
Extended Reading: 1 Thessalonians 4
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