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Being Different

John 17:19- 

        “And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by truth.”

Here our Lord Jesus is praying to the Father just prior to His arrest in Gethsemane. He makes the statement that He sanctifies Himself so that we might be sanctified by truth. To understand how impactful this statement is, we must understand what sanctification is. This is a word that is thrown around in Christian circles that most people have no knowledge of and therefore have no intention of engaging in sanctification.  In its most basic definition, sanctification means to set aside and cleanse for God’s purposes. It means to cordon off something hallowed for the use of the Lord. Essentially Jesus stated here in John 17:19 that He “cordoned Himself off” so that we - His disciples might be “cordoned off” by the truth. 

    This sounds very special and esoteric but in terms of everyday life, it is very telling and significant. The truth is, without question, the Word of God. Jesus is the Word of God. Thus, when He sequestered Himself He did not mean that He restricted Himself from being accessed by humanity. Instead, He was expressing that He, the Word of God would be separate, untainted by the world. Because He maintained purity, the Word remains pure. Further, anyone who is a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ and continues in His word will be cordoned off with this same Word. 

    In effect, the disciple of Jesus will have the Word of God bubbling up from the rivers of living water within himself and this internal conversation will inform all of his attitudes, reactions, beliefs, paradigms, etc. When this is manifest in the life of the disciple, the world is repelled by it. In the world remains, by and large, natural man and natural man is at enmity with God and cannot receive the things of God because they see them as foolishness. {Romans 8:7 & 1 Corinthians 2:14} By virtue of the fact that the new creation  thinks, speaks, and acts differently, not only from their former methodologies but from the world at large, there is created a schism. This natural divide is the sanctification to which Jesus was referring. It does not inhibit the disciple from interacting with the world, but it forces differences to be evident if not poignant. 1 Peter 4:4 indicates that the disciple’s former circle of relations will think it strange when the disciple no longer engages in moral decadence. It will be unbelievable to them and they will fade into the background of the past life of the disciple until which time they are drawn by the Holy One to step into the light. This is the sanctifying of the disciple by the word. 

    The sanctification of the believer once administered at salvation is never removed nor can it ever be removed. As well, it is a perpetually changing landscape becoming more and more solid and substantial as the believer yields to its supernatural and life-giving effect on their lives. Practically this means that the closer a disciple walks with God, the smaller their circle of relationships becomes. 

    Finally, the disciple of Jesus has the word of God at their disposal when they are unable to restrict their minds, wills, and emotions from behaving in the former manner. They are able to search the scriptures for the wisdom, truth, and relevance they need, apply it to their lives and the truth itself will sanctify and set them apart. The effort then exists only in searching for and submitting to the truth for the word is where sanctification is found and perfected. 

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