17 Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.
I’d like for us to consider truth in light of being made pure and set apart as holy (sanctification). With tremendous mercy God has redeemed us with a complete salvation that includes a circumcision of the heart by truth (Romans 15:8).
Indeed, upon us who believe His word receive sanctification by the truth of God, but upon those who do not believe, receive judgment and condemnation in the last day (John 12:48).
To begin, the very fact that we need to be purified suggests that there is something that has defiled us: likewise, since we are being purified by the Truth, we are likely defiled by deception (the counterpart of truth).
You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees, but also, He was speaking to those who were living according to the flesh: to the Pharisees because they had been deceived by Satan and hypocrisy, but also to the flesh, because all flesh has been deceived and taken captive by the ruler of this age.
Recalling the LORD’s prophecy in Ezekiel 36:25-27, the LORD has promised to sprinkle us clean with water and remove our filthiness and idolatry and place within us a new spirit and a living heart so that we will be careful to follow his statues and ordinances. And now, through the Spirit, we follow the ordinances and statutes of the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus, in which is found all the grace and mercy of the living God.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.
The Prayer of Christ has been answered, indeed, it has been abundantly answered. For, through the washing of the Word we are cleansed! The LORD’s Truth, His Word, sets us free and purifies us from the deceptions of the father of all lies, Satan, and causes us to dwell rightly in the way of the Lord.
It’s critical that we see that the washing of the Word of Christ is not a metaphorical picture; it reveals the circumcision of the heart and the inward washing of the spirit and conscience with the Truth that must take place and reflects the sanctifying power of God’s Word, just as Paul said, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation for all mankind” (Romans 1:16).
Not only does His truth expose the deceptions of darkness, but it also reveals the path of truth to be trodden by the children of God who walk in the Holy Spirit.
Brethren, we do a dangerous thing when we listen to the voices of this world and ignore the sanctifying truth of God’s word; when we turn our backs from His word to the Television, or when we cease from prayer to play games, we cut ourselves off from the very thing we need to be renewed! This circumcision of Truth is part of the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit.
16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. But hearing it is not enough: if it produces nothing in you, it has fallen upon infertile soil; upon rocks, weeds, or shallow soil.
Grace and mercy and peace in the Lord Jesus Christ to all the brethren who have been washed by the water of the Word and cleansed from all the deceits of the flesh! Amen.