John 17:17 “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.”
Psalm 119:104 “Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way.”
In John 17 Jesus prays that His followers would be sanctified, i.e., set apart to God and separated from the world and all the sin that so characterizes it. This is the concept behind “holiness.” It carries with it the idea of being “clean,” “pure,” or “righteous.” But how does this actually happen in a life, in that our natural bent is towards sin?
Jesus’ prayer in John 17 speaks of this being made possible by the “truth” and then He speaks of how that truth is found in God’s Word. Some insight into how the Word of God makes this possible is found in Psalm 119:104 above. In this verse we are told that it is through God’s precepts – which is just another way of saying God’s Word – that we get understanding. It’s this Word that is a called a sword, a great weapon that divides the truth of God from the lies that fill this world, even when that confusion dwells deep within us (Hebrews 4:12). It is by what God has given us in the words of the Bible that we understand the truth about sin and righteousness. By God’s truth we get insight into what sin really is and how destructive it is. We see that so much of what we hear from the many voices speaking to us in this world are nothing but lies, and the wonderful things promised are all empty. We see that sin is something that will kill us, steal from us, and destroy us (John 10:10). And as the truth about these lies is exposed to us, we can learn “therefore . . . (to) hate every false way.”
So often we see such things as moral or spiritual purity cast in a negative light. People are mocked for being “prudish” or “religious,” and for not doing what everyone else is doing and going along with the crowd. It is the Bible that gives one insight into such things and opens our eyes to the lies that are motivating such views. When sin is revealed for what it is, and the evil motives of Satan (who continually works to destroy lives by His temptations to follow our natural inclinations and disobey God’s Word) are exposed, we can learn to “hate every false way” and willfully obey the truth that sets a person apart to be able to truly serve the God who loves them.
May God help us to love the truth that He has given us, for it is this truth whereby He has purposed to bless our lives. And may we hate every false way that would rob us of the wonderful things God has for those who love Him.
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