Brief Notes

Of the World,
or of the
Word?

10 February 2024

To be those who are
not of the world,
but who are instead useful
to the Lord, we must be
sanctified by the
word of God

 

I have always appreciated John 17:17:

Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.

Of course, this is part of the Lord’s prayer on the night He was betrayed. It shows how crucial it is for us to be in the Scriptures in a regular way, to be washed in the word of God and constituted with it; otherwise, we will have no way to be sanctified. This is especially true today, when the world bombards us as never before, all the time and from every direction, with so many corrupt and distracting things to draw us away from God and to itself.

But, while I’ve appreciated this verse, only recently have I noticed what comes just before and just after it.

In John 17:16, the Lord prays,

They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

As those who are redeemed of the Lord, we have been sanctified in terms of our position, which means we have been saved from Satan’s kingdom and separated unto God and His kingdom (Acts 26:18, Col. 1:12-13); thus, we are now “not of the world,” as the Lord says here.

But, how can this become real, not just in terms of our standing before God, but in terms of our practical experience with men? For this we need to be sanctified not only in terms of our position, but also in terms of our disposition, and this can only happen by our being “sanctified in the truth,” as the next verse states. Only when we are constituted with the word of God, so that it is living and working within us (Heb. 4:12), will we be separated from the world in terms of our daily walk.

After praying, in 17:17, that we would be sanctified in the truth, the Lord goes on to pray, in 17:18,

As You have sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.

Do we desire to be those whom the Lord can use? Again, it depends on our being sanctified in His word.  Because we are not of the world, and because we are sanctified, practically speaking, by being constituted with the word of God, the Lord can send us back into the world for the sake of His testimony, as the Father sent Him into the world. Only at this point can we be “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Cor. 5:20) to such a fallen world, of which we are no longer a part.

May the Lord grant us the grace to exercise ourselves and be in His word consistently, day by day, that we may be sanctified in the truth and useful to Him!

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— 10 February 2024 —