“Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.” (John 17:17-19)
In John 15 Jesus said the disciples were already cleaned (or pruned) by the Word. He prayed to the Father to use the Word to sanctify them. Sanctify means to set apart for a special use. As we read on in the prayer, we see that this definition of “sanctify” goes with the thoughts that followed.
Jesus then prayed that as He was sent into the world so He was sending them into the world. They were to be light in the midst of darkness, lambs sent out among wolves. They were to carry the convicting message of light and life to people that often do not want to hear, and like Jesus, they would die for their faith.
Following this understanding of the word “sanctify,” we would then read the next verse to say that Jesus set Himself apart that they might be truly set apart. Without His sacrifice on the cross, there is no possibility that we could be set apart. Without His complete purity bearing our sin we would never be able to receive the Spirit who sets us apart and anoints us to go into the world as He went into the world.
In a similar way our commitment to purity and faithfulness affects those to whom we minister. Of course, we do not provide the sacrifice for sin; only Christ can do that. But we do set a living example that encourages them to walk down this path. As you allow the word of God to cleanse and purify your life, you encourage others that there is hope. You give them inspiration to allow the Word to do the same in them. It is not just for your sake alone that the Word is sanctifying your life. Everyone in the body affects all the others to whom they are connected. To choose to compromise not only affects you, but all others in the body. Your commitment to growing in sanctification affects others more than you realize.
Lord, let Your Word sanctify me daily as I live my life in the path You have set. Grant me Your mercy when I fail, and let me encourage others in the promises You have made. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.