Show me Your ways, O LORD; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day. (Psalm 25:4-5, NKJV, emphasis added)
We are sanctified by His truth and we go through this process by waiting on God.
Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth. (John 17:17-19, NKJV)
In John 17 we have recorded for us the High Priestly Prayer of Jesus. He prays for Himself in verses 1-5; His disciples in 6:6-19; and for future believers in 20-26. In some circles I may be accused of blasphemy, but I think we can apply most of the disciples’ prayer to us because verse twenty says, “I do not pray for those alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word.” That’s me! In the passage before us we have some wonderful precepts concerning the truth to meditate upon. Remember God leads us in His truth. We are led in truth as we wait upon God to work in us.
Sanctify them by Your truth. To sanctify is literally to place in relation to God answering to His holiness; to set apart for God (Wuest). We take on the character of Jesus because we are set apart for Him. In theological terms there are two kinds of sanctifications in the life of the believer. One is positional sanctification as in 1 Corinthians 1:2 which is what happens to the believer when he is born again, of the Spirit. The other is called progressive sanctification as in 1 Thessalonians 5:23. Progressive sanctification is what we are talking about in this passage. The Holy Spirit works out the sanctification process in our lives. Kenneth Wuest has this definition of progressive sanctification in his book Studies in the Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament:
The work of the Holy Spirit in the yielded saint, in which He sets the believer apart for God in his experience, by eliminating sin from his life and producing His fruit, a process which goes on constantly throughout the believer’s life.
Your word is truth. God’s word is truth and what He says is true. This makes sense on so many different levels, such as the fact God cannot lie (Numbers 23:19 and 1 Samuel 15:9); or Jesus is the Word become flesh (John 1:1-18) and He is the truth (John 14:6); or the Spirit leads us to truth and is truth; or all Scripture is profitable for… (2 Timothy 3:16).
For their sakes I sanctify Myself. Jesus was set apart for the Father’s use as the sacrifice for sin (see Hebrews 10:5-18). For our sake, our only way to the Father, Christ was sanctified as the sin offering.
That they also may be sanctified by the truth. Because of Christ becoming sin for us we can become sanctified (both positional and progressive) by the truth. Lead me in Your truth as I wait upon You O’ Lord with great hope.
We are led by God’s truth by waiting upon Him with hope. The sanctification process is brought to completion (both positional and progressive) done by truth. Prayerfully meditate upon the following passages that contain the words sanctify, sanctifies, or sanctified in them:
Ephesians 5:25-27, 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24, Hebrews 2:10-18, Hebrews 9:11-15, Hebrews 13:11-13, and 1 Peter 3:13-17.