“I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil…Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth…And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; (John 17:14) underlining added
Repenting and believing in Christ as Lord is the BEGINNING, not the end, of a forever way of life of coming to know, love, and follow the Lord and His ways forever, yet many people stop at the beginning falsely believing it’s the end.
God forgives us our sins because of Christ’s atonement on the cross for us because Jesus stood in our place to bear God’s wrath at us for our sins, and God gives us a clean slate and gives us entrance into a relationship with Him we could never otherwise have because of His holiness and righteousness and our sin nature. BUT this is ONLY the starting point. When we genuinely believe in Christ as Lord, we are set apart from this wicked world and go through a life-long sanctification process whereby we are transformed by God into the image of Christ. But how?
By God’s Spirit. Through God’s Word. When we diligently study God’s Word, our minds are renewed. As our minds are renewed, our hearts and lives are transformed. We are sanctified. This is ongoing. When Jesus prayed for His disciples before He went to heaven to be with God until He returns again, He also prayed for those who believe in Him today. And He prayed we would be sanctified through the Truth. The Truth is God’s Word! He even said He sanctified Himself so we would be sanctified. To sanctify means to be made holy. We were created to be holy as God is; we were created to grow in God’s image.
Why do so many people profess faith in Christ, call themselves Christians, go to church regularly, etc., and look and act no different than the rest of the world? Because intellectual faith in Christ is NOT enough. Faith is THE BEGINNING. True faith bears the fruit of repentance and changed lives. Genuine faith in Christ involves commitment to God and dedication to going through the sanctification process. We CANNOT be sanctified without God’s Spirit and God’s Word.
If your life looks no different than the world around you, it is time to BEGIN with repenting, believing in Christ, and being sanctified by committing yourself to the Lord and to His Word as you learn to enjoy the endless blessings of being with God forever.