God Sanctifies Us
"They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth." (John 17:16-19)
What does it mean to "sanctify" something? "Sanctify" means to clean up something, to set something apart as special or for special use, to make it appropriate for a special purpose. The word "sanctify" has the idea of making something holy, purifying it, setting it apart for a special spiritual purpose.
Have you ever been in a stable? It is not especially clean, is it? There are animals in stables, and all the things that go along with animals – their food, the way they smell, the dirt that they get on them. Stables, even when they have been cleaned out, are not exactly clean! But they are clean enough for their purpose – to be a house for animals like cows and horses.
Have you ever been to the mother-baby floor of a hospital? There is a very special nursery room for the newborn babies there. It is a room set apart for them, and it is always kept 100% spic-and-span clean. Why? Because babies pick up germs and sicknesses very easily. It is important to keep germs away from them until they grow strong and healthy enough to fight off sicknesses. This room is so set apart that normal people (non-nurses and non-babies) have to wear special robes to go in there and sit with the babies. Sometimes they have to wear masks. Normal people would look funny wearing masks and robes in a supermarket or at the library – but in a hospital nursery, we do not think it is strange. It is appropriate and right to be careful around babies in a hospital nursery. That room is set apart just for them.
Now, even though Jesus was born in a stable, we would probably never dream of putting a newborn baby in a stable under normal circumstances. Even the cleanest of stables will still have germs and weird smells – and no nurses or masks or robes! So what made the stable where Jesus was born a good enough stable for His birth to happen in? Well, that stable was special because God, in His sovereign wisdom and power, had prepared it and set it apart for the birth of His Son. By itself, that stable would have been just as dirty and smelly – and as inappropriate for a nursery – as any other dirty and smelly stable. But because God chose it and "sanctified" it, it was a good enough place for Jesus' birth.
God sanctifies people, too. He prepares them, He washes them clean, He sets them apart for His own special purposes. He is perfectly holy, so He is the only One perfectly able to sanctify us. Jesus' prayer in John 17 makes it very clear that God is the One Who sanctifies us, and that He does that sanctifying by the power of His Word.
If God has saved you, He wants to sanctify you. He wants you to be set apart as special for His special purposes. He wants you to be holy like He is holy. And the wonderful thing is, God has the power to change you. It is a long process, but the truth of God's Word is powerful enough to change you and make you holy.
God is the One Who can make us holy, by the truth of His Word.
» Am I sanctified?
» Is God sanctifying me?
» How has God been changing me through the truth of His Word?
Truth In Real Life