The word may conjure up lists of dos and don’ts. In some Christian subcultures it may mean not watching rated-R movies, only listening to Christian music, not dancing, not drinking alcohol, or voting Republican. Maybe you have your own list that equals sanctification in your mind. We probably all do.
During Jesus’ last earthly Feast of the Passover — the night of his arrest — Jesus prays for our sanctification. And in doing so, he reveals something about how sanctification occurs. Jesus has washed the disciples’ feet. He has indicated that one of them will betray him and Peter will deny him. Then, Jesus encourages his disciples with what has become some of the most beautiful and beloved scripture in the Bible. In the Gospel of John he ends this encouragement with what is now called the High Priestly Prayer. He even prays for future believers: you and me. In this prayer he prays:
“Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:17, ESV)
This verse indicates that we are sanctified not by creating a list of dos and don’ts but by the truth.
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