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. 15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.
In my last post, we discussed the meaning of holiness and how we begin to walk in character consistently growing in the holiness of Christ. This progressive action, being more and more holy, is what we call sanctification.
Our passage above reveals a little known truth about Jesus our Savior. Although He was, is and always will be the epitome of the word holy (being the fullness of God in bodily form), He still sanctified Himself so that His disciples (and we through their lives and ministries) would know how we are to sanctify ourselves.
Remembering that we are vessels, for God’s purpose alone, we must keep ourselves in the process God ordained to make us more and more holy. From the passage above, a good beginning in defining sanctification, is revealed in Jesus praying, “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world“.
In this we understand, that the follower of Christ, by faith and the power of the Spirit, are born into the kingdom of heaven and no longer fit within the world system. Therefore, sanctification is to separate ourselves from that which is evil and worldly; the world, the flesh and the devil.
Secondly Jesus says, “Sanctify them by Your truth“. This is not just reading the word of God, but the word of God being illuminated and assimilated into our souls by the Holy Spirit. This is the second part of the meaning of sanctification, which is to be separated unto God and dedicated to His purpose, as revealed by the word of God (as illuminated by the Holy Spirit).
In Jesus life we see five practices, which detail how He sanctified Himself, even though He was and is the definition of holiness. He shows us how to be and stay separate from the world, the flesh and the devil. He also shows us how to be set apart for the Father’s will.
THE BEST EXAMPLE OF THE BEST LIFE
1) (JESUS REFUSED TO EXERCISE ANY SELF-WILL) In John 5:30 Jesus declared that He did not seek His own will, but that of His Father only. This is very important to understand right from the start, for it dictates every and all decisions. We see the Lord’s absolute commitment to His Father’s will in Philippians 2:5-8.
Philippians 2:5-8 5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bond-servant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
Make no mistake about it, to be a bond servant means one has no will of their own, but lives a life in servitude to another. So great was Jesus’ commitment, He who is God the Living and eternal Word, emptied Himself of reputation, will and prerogative (for a time), in order to accomplish his Father’s plan. This means Jesus exercised self denial as a character trait. Therefore, we must learn to do the same in order to live our best life now.
Luke 9:23-24 “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. 24 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.
In prayer ask the Lord to lead you to begin a practice of self-denial when it comes to your will. The next two points will give you some hints.
2) (JESUS SPOKE ONLY WHEN THE FATHER DIRECTED HIM) Controlling our tongues may be one of the most impossible tasks on the planet (James 3). Yet in Jesus we see how a person, who is filled with the Spirit, does control their tongue.
John 12:49 For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak.
Jesus only spoke what He was commanded to speak. No wasted words, no idle talk, no course jesting, every word seasoned with grace (even the necessary harsh ones), all spoken with intentional purpose. To be set apart for God’s purpose, we, like our Master, must learn to speak only for the purpose of God. In the family, in which I grew up, everyone believed they were entitled to an opinion. This is also the way of the world, but the Christian understands that only speaking as led by the Spirit, is necessary and good. Ministers are especially responsible for this.
2 Corinthians 3:5-6 5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, 6 who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
Here we see that speaking the word of God, without the unction of the Spirit, can be detrimental. By this account many of us should really consider whether or not we are ministering under the unction of the Spirit–whether we are preaching the truth, or our option of it.
3) (JESUS DID ONLY WHAT HE WAS COMMANDED TO DO) In line with Jesus only speaking what He was commanded too, we also know that He only did the things he was commanded to do; once more never moving to express what He thought was the right thing to do.
John 5:19 19 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.
This is a most remarkable statement, but plainly seen. Recall some of the miracles Jesus performed. Now consider one He did not. In Acts chapter three we meet a man who was lame from His mother’s womb, who had been daily laid at the Temple Gate called Beautiful. We know, due to the age of this man, that Jesus would have passed Him many times on His treks through the temple, over His ministry years.
Why would He not heal this man? Because He was not commanded to do so. We know God’s day of visitation for healing would come thoroughfare faithfulness ministry of the apostles.
There is an old adage that we like to repeat in dealing with the evil of this world “The only thing necessary for evil to win, is for good men to do nothing”. I like this statement, but it is not biblical. There are no good men born into the world, but sinners; and sinners and the redeemed have done lots of good things, yet it still looks like evil is winning. This is also a fallacy for we know that God is the VICTOR and He will set all things right at Christ’s return.
The point is we need to stop doing good things and do what the Holy Spirit commands. This is what it means to be set apart for His purpose. We ought to rather do the one thing He commands and provides power for, than five or five-thousand good things, which will never make an eternal impact upon humanity, nor further God’s will.
4) (JESUS’ JOY AND EMPOWERMENT CAME FROM DOING ONLY GOD’S WILL) As is often the case when we get hooked into a conveyor of good things we ought to do, we begin to lose the vitality of the Spirit, for we are not ministering or living under His leadership. We ought to challenge ourselves often to endeavor to apply Proverbs 3:5-, literally. The reason for this need, is that true ministry for Christ, beyond our human capcity and strength. It will wear is down, for sure, when not led by the Spirit.
For Jesus, being tired or hungry was never a hindrance to ministry, for His being set apart perfectly for his Father’s purpose (Sanctify Myself), was what gave him sustenance.
John 4:34 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.
Jesus sanctified Himself, by being concerned with intentionally finding His joy and sustaining power, in completing the work God sent Him into the world to do. This jibes well with what we know of the power of God’s Spirit in us.
The work of God is beyond our human ability to accomplish, for it is supernatural. This work will tax our physical, emotional and spiritual frame (I Thessalonians 5:23). Yet in this, so long as we rejoice in our infirmities, the power of Christ will rest upon us (II Corinthians 12:9).
Our common humanity lines up more with the world, which wants to bank and add more strength, skill, ability, degrees, and any other thing to call upon, in accomplishing what we want, rather than learn to be led by the Spirit. Will we wait on the Lord until we know He is leading and empowering?
5) (REMEMBER LIKE JESUS OUR LIFE IS NOT OUR OWN, WE’RE BOUGHT) When looking once more at Philippians 2:5-8, we will see one more aspect of how He “sanctified” Himself.
Jesus “made Himself of no reputation“, “took upon himself the form of a bond-servant“, and “became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross“. Jesus Christ, the eternal Word of God, in human flesh, loved a life that was not His own; He lived a as will-less bond servant.
In this, let us be reminded, OUR LIVES ARE NOT OUR OWN!
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
Wow! Did you read that? Your life does not belong to you, nor does mine belong to me. If we are in Christ, we are His bond-slaves! For some this may seem too high a price to pay, but remember the price with which you were bought… HIS Blood was the purchase price (Colossians 1:13).
Re-read Philippians 2:5-8 and understand that His death on the cross was 20 hours of a blood letting that began the prior night, when He prayed in agony, concerning the price He would pay.
His suffering would culminate in the excruciating agony of the cross as detailed in Isaiah 53:5... “He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement for our peace was upon Him and by His wounds we are healed“.
When reading this passage it is easy to forget, that each of the above words, “wounded’, “bruised”, “chastisement” and “wounds” (more correct rendering is”stripes”), came from blows which makes blood flow, either beneath the surface of the skin or through open wounds. The cost of our redemption of every drop of life, which poured, forth from wounds we deserved, yet He willingly suffered.
This He did to complete the Father’s eternal plan, so we could be forgiven, transformed now and guaranteed eternal life with Him. When considering the high cost of our lives not being our own, think of the cost the King of glory paid for us.
In response, then sanctify yourself, as Jesus did, the BEST LIFE ever, living a pattern that should we follow it, will give us our best life now.