Sanctifying Truth

04 Jul
Sanctifying Truth

Today’s Morning and Evening contains instruction, encouragement, and a final warning. It begins with a short primer on the origin and function of sanctification, followed by the implied call to tightly embrace God’s Word and sound teaching. Finally, a warning is made to never make light of error.

God’s Word is truth and that truth sanctifies us. So many men exhaust themselves in the quest to prove that God did not actually write the Bible. For the unbeliever, this is to be expected. But what ground is gained by the confused Christian’s pursuit to discredit the Spirit’s authoritative involvement in authorship?

To the self-inflated inquisitor, the God of Scripture will never be ‘off-the-hook’ or excused from their judgment’s table. He will always be too mean, too judgmental, and too righteous to love. So they try to reconcile the god of the their hopes with the God of the Bible… by pointing to problematic passages and shouting, “Aha! You see! That’s impossible! A perfect God couldn’t possibly inspire that! Let’s throw those silly doctrines of divine authorship, inerrancy, and scriptural authority out the window! Only a fool would believe such nonsense.”

It’s a sad thing that quickly turns ugly. As a best-case scenario, each side feels sorry for the other. The critic feels for the believer who blindly accepts God’s Word as truth. The believer feels for the critic because they reject God’s truth for a lie. As Spurgeon says below, “The passages of Scripture that prove that the instrument of our sanctification is the Word of God are numerous.” In today’s passage, Jesus Himself prayed:

Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. — John 17:17

Likewise, the psalmist declared in Psalm 119:160:

The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.

Let’s trust God at His Word and not lean on our own understanding for truth. Our earthly perspective is so limited, but our gracious Father sees and knows everything. His ways are always better than our ways, and sanctification comes from His Spirit through His Word.

Here is Alistair Begg’s modern phrasing of the Spurgeon classic.

* * * * *

Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. — John 17:17

Sanctification begins in regeneration. The Spirit of God implants in man that new living principle by which he becomes “a new creation”1 in Christ Jesus. This work, which begins in the new birth, is carried on in two ways-mortification, whereby the lusts of the flesh are subdued and kept under, and vivification, by which the life that God has put within us is made to be a well of water springing up unto everlasting life.

This is carried on every day in what is called perseverance, by which the Christian is preserved and continued in a gracious state and is made to abound in good works unto the praise and glory of God; and it culminates or comes to perfection in glory, when the soul, being thoroughly purged, is caught up to dwell with holy beings at the right hand of the Majesty on high.

But while the Spirit of God is thus the author of sanctification, yet there is a visible agency employed that must not be forgotten. “Sanctify them,” said Jesus, “in the truth; your word is truth.” The passages of Scripture that prove that the instrument of our sanctification is the Word of God are numerous. The Spirit of God brings to our minds the precepts and doctrines of truth and applies them with power. These are heard in the ear, and being received in the heart, they work in us to will and to do God’s good pleasure.

The truth is the sanctifier, and if we do not hear or read the truth, we shall not grow in sanctification. We only progress in sound living as we progress in sound understanding. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”2 Do not say of any error, “It is a mere matter of opinion.” No man indulges an error of judgment without sooner or later tolerating an error in practice. Hold fast the truth, for by doing so you shall be sanctified by the Spirit of God.

1 2 Corinthians 5:17, 2 Psalm 119:105

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Posted by on July 4, 2014 in Devotional


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