Summary: Being Sanctified by the word that Jesus delivered to us means being removed from the common life in order to be used in high and holy purposes.
You can find the Scripture reading in your Bibles in the 17th chapter of the Gospel of John, or on the Scripture Reading insert in your bulletin.
These are the words of Jesus. He is praying for His disciples of every age. He is praying for us.
John 17:14 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. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.
THIS IS THE WORD OF THE LORD
I want to make the connection between Jesus requesting that His disciples be
15. KEPT FROM THE EVIL ONE and His giving us
the WORD OF THE LORD, and His request that we
be… 17. SANCTIFIED IN THE TRUTH.
Jesus tells us that for our sakes He has consecrated Himself so that we too might be sanctified in truth.
In verse 17 you see the word SANCTIFY, then in verse 19 you see the word CONSECRATE as well as the word SANCTIFY..
In all three cases they are translating from the same Greek word that sounds like hag-ee-ad’-zo, which means to take what is common and set it aside for high and holy purposes.
Example: The stone material we call Marble is so common that whole mountains of the stuff are scattered all over the face of the earth. It is usually quarried by breaking away large blocks weighing multiple tons, which can be sawn into smaller blocks, which can be chiseled into shapes and then polished to where it is no longer common at all, but comes to hold a sanctified, dedicated place such as the sculpture we now call Michelangelo’s “Pieta.”
So when Jesus is praying for us to be sanctified in the truth He is talking about common sinners like you and me, being cut away from the mountains of shapeless confusion and chaos, sawn, hammered, chiseled, shaped and polished by the sharp and living instrument called the truth (the word Jesus gave us)—shaped to where we are something so different that Jesus declares WE ARE NO LONGER OF THIS WORLD. WE ARE NEWLY CREATED BEINGS. We are now the work of His hands.
When Jesus prays that we be sanctified in the TRUTH He is speaking of God’s ETERNAL TRUTH, HIS WORD.
This word of truth is described in as Hebrews 4:12 … living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. ESV
You may not at first understand the reality of what I am about to say but you will. This reshaping puts us 180 ° out of phase with the world. That is what happens if we actually let His active and living word go to work in the matter of discerning the thoughts and intentions of our hearts and allow eternal truth to shape what we think as well as what we do. That is Jesus’ meaning in saying; John 17:14 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.
So in a sense of the word even as Michelangelo was able to see the Pieta in that block of marble and begin to chisel away everything that wasn’t the Pieta, so God is able to see the possibility of His glory buried somewhere in the lives we have been living. God’s confidence is not in our ability to change. God confidence is in the only tool with enough endurance, enough breaking, cutting and shaping power to chip us free from the lies we are trapped in and set us free to live the lives God made us for. John 8:31 "…the truth will set you free." ESV.
Without EMBRACING the sharp and power truth of God (though you may have said the sinner’s prayer, though you may say from time to time that Jesus is your Savior), you will still be living just like the world. The Gospel transforms as it is loved and embraced and its sharp edges are held close to your being. If you do not do that then the image of Christ remains trapped in the stone of your false life, and the “Pieta” that God sees in you remains unseen.