6 I have revealed Your name to the men You gave Me from the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. 7 Now they know that all things You have given to Me are from You, 8 because the words that You gave Me, I have given them. They have received them and have known for certain that I came from You. They have believed that You sent Me. 9 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world but for those You have given Me, because they are Yours. 10 Everything I have is Yours, and everything You have is Mine, and I have been glorified in them. 11 I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, protect them by Your name that You have given Me, so that they may be one as We are one. 12 While I was with them, I was protecting them by Your name that You have given Me. I guarded them and not one of them is lost, except the son of destruction, so that the Scripture may be fulfilled. 13 Now I am coming to You, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have My joy completed in them. 14 I have given them Your word. The world hated them because they are not of the world, as I am not of the world. 15 I am not praying that You take them out of the world but that You protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 I sanctify Myself for them, so they also may be sanctified by the truth.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
In yesterday’s passage, we learned that salvation happens when we hear the message of Christ and put our faith in it. From the first moment we put our weight down on the truth of God’s work in Christ for us, we begin a new life with Him. The rest of that journey—our life that moves toward becoming fully like Him and being with Him face to face—is called sanctification. To sanctify is to set apart for a special use.
When Christ asks His Father to sanctify us, He is asking God to set us apart for God’s use, just as Jesus was. He is asking God to make us holy—literally, “other”—just as God is holy or other. He is asking God to give us His character, to move us in His ways toward His purposes. Jesus is asking God to transform us in a way that we stand out from the world as much as Christ did. And notice how this will happen: “Sanctify them by the truth. Your Word is truth.”
Do you believe that God’s Word is truth? That God knows how the world works, that He is in charge of it and is working toward its best future? Do you believe that God knows the human heart, knows best how to confront, convict, heal and empower? Do you believe that He knows best how to have healthy relationships? Do you believe that God’s values are the things that really matter, that His ways are the most effective to accomplish His good purposes? Are you willing to let God’s truth change you—make you as “other” as Jesus was? This is what Jesus wants for you. It is how He prayed for you.
We encounter God’s truth in two ways: through the Scriptures and through Jesus Christ, as He lives in us through the Holy Spirit. Thankfully, God has not saved us and then left us to “sanctify ourselves.” We don’t have to try hard to take on God’s character; we can’t! We don’t have to guess what God’s ways or purposes are; He has told us in His Word and shown us in Jesus Christ.
Just as we can’t gain salvation for ourselves, we can’t sanctify ourselves. But we can devote ourselves to God’s plan for sanctifying us: His Word and the work of the Spirit as our guide. This is why personal Bible study is so important for each of us. We don’t have to be a Bible scholar. We each have the Scriptures, and we each have the Holy Spirit to convict, convince and guide us.
We can learn something from Jesus’ prayer in today’s passage: when we are set apart by the truth, we become dangerous to the enemy. So expect opposition. The most likely opposition you’ll encounter is finding the time to study the Word. So you must protect the time you set aside for this. The second most likely way the enemy will oppose you: you’ll find excuses. “I don’t feel qualified to read the Bible on my own.” “I don’t understand the Bible.” “I don’t like studying.”
Henry Blackaby tells us in his study Experiencing God that Truth is a Person. When I come to the Bible, I am not coming to a book; I am coming to a Person. I am coming to the God who saved me, loves me, and wants to set me apart. He wants me to know Him—so much that He went to great lengths to see that I could have the Scriptures to read for myself. So much that He sent His Son to die and live again, so that He might live in me and make His Father known to me. Make a date to meet with God. Make a date with the One who loves you. Make a date to listen and get to know Him. And keep your date, every day!
Here are some ways to spend your time getting to know God and letting Him sanctify you with His truth:
- Follow a reading plan. Read the passages in JourneyOn Today, or read the passage for your LIFE Group study or the upcoming sermon. Create or choose from a reading plan in an app like The Open Bible or Logos. Read through one book of the Bible, just a few verses each day until you’ve completed it.
- Look for what you learn about God. What does He love? What does He hate? How does He work? What does He say? What does He do? What does He promise? What is He working toward? Keep a list of the names for God that you learn.
- Look for what you learn about people. What do they value? What do they fear? How do they work? What are they working toward? How do they react to God? To each other?
- As you read a passage, ask yourself these questions. Trust the Holy Spirit to guide you.
- In light of this, what am I thankful for?
- In light of this, what do I regret?
- In light of this, how do I need to pray?
- In light of this, what do I need to do?