John 17:17
Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
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(17) Sanctify them through thy truth.—Better, in Thy truth. Truth was the sphere in which their sanctification was to take place. They had through Christ received the Father’s word, which was truth, and had passed into a new region of life, separate from the world (John 17:6-8; John 17:14-16). He has prayed that the Father would preserve them in this, and now He prays further that the Father would in this new region of life set them apart for the work to which He had sent them (John 17:18).

The idea at the root of the word rendered “sanctify,” is not holiness, but separation. It is opposed not to what is impure, but to what is common, and is constantly used in the Greek of the Old Testament for the consecration of persons and things to the service of God. Hence our Lord can use it of Himself in John 10:36, and in this context (John 17:19; these are the only places where it occurs in St. John’s writings). He was Himself “set apart and sent into the world.” He has to send them into the world in the same way (John 17:18, and John 10:36), and prays that they may be in the same way consecrated for their work.

Thy word is truth.—There is a strong emphasis in the pronoun “Thy word is truth.” This word they had kept (John 17:6-8). It had become the region of their life. They are to be the channels through which it is to pass to others (John 17:20). They are already in the higher sphere of truth, in which their entire consecration is to take place, when the gifts of the Holy Spirit shall descend upon them.



John 17:1 - John 17:19

We may well despair of doing justice to the deep thoughts of this prayer, which volumes would not exhaust. Who is worthy to speak or to write about such sacred words? Perhaps we may best gain some glimpses of their great and holy sublimity by trying to gather their teaching round the centres of the three petitions, ‘glorify’ {John 17:1, John 17:5}, ‘keep’ {John 17:11}, and ‘sanctify’ {John 17:17}.

I. In John 17:1 - John 17:5, Jesus prays for Himself, that He may be restored to His pre-incarnate glory; but yet the prayer desires not so much that glory as affecting Himself, as His being fitted thereby for completing His work of manifesting the Father. There are three main points in these verses-the petition, its purpose, and its grounds.

As to the first, the repetition of the request in John 17:1 - John 17:5 is significant, especially if we note that in the former the language is impersonal, ‘Thy Son,’ and continues so till John 17:4, where ‘I’ and ‘Me’ appear. In John 17:1 - John 17:3, then, the prayer rests upon the ideal relations of Father and Son, realised in Jesus, while in John 17:4 - John 17:5 the personal element is emphatically presented. The two petitions are in their scope identical. The ‘glorifying’ in the former is more fully explained in the latter as being that which He possessed in that ineffable fellowship with the Father, not merely before incarnation, but before creation. In His manhood He possessed and manifested the ‘glory as of the Only-Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth’; but that glory, lustrous though it was, was pale, and humiliation compared with the light inaccessible, which shone around the Eternal Word in the bosom of the Father. Yet He who prayed was the same Person who had walked in that light before time was, and now in human flesh asked for what no mere manhood could bear. The first form of the petition implies that such a partaking in the uncreated glory of the Father is the natural prerogative of One who is ‘the Son,’ while the second implies that it is the appropriate recompense of the earthly life and character of the man Jesus.

The petition not only reveals the conscious divinity of the Son, but also His willing acceptance of the Cross; for the glorifying sought is that reached through death, resurrection, and ascension, and that introductory clause, ‘the hour is come,’ points to the impending sufferings as the first step in the answer to the petition. The Crucifixion is always thus treated in this Gospel, as being both the lowest humiliation and the ‘lifting up’ of the Son; and here He is reaching out His hand, as it were, to draw His sufferings nearer. So willingly and desiringly did this Isaac climb the mount of sacrifice. Both elements of the great saying in the Epistle to the Hebrews are here: ‘For the joy that was set before Him, [He] endured the Cross.’

The purpose of the petition is to be noted; namely, the Son’s glorifying of the Father. No taint of selfishness corrupted His prayer. Not for Himself, but for men, did He desire His glory. He sought return to that serene and lofty seat, and the elevation of His limited manhood to the throne, not because He was wearied of earth or impatient of weakness, sorrows, or limitations, but that He might more fully manifest by that Glory, the Father’s name. To make the Father known is to make the Father glorious; for He is all fair and lovely. That revelation of divine perfection, majesty, and sweetness was the end of Christ’s earthly life, and is the end of His heavenly divine activity. He needs to reassume the prerogatives of which He needed to divest Himself, and both necessities have one end. He had to lay aside His garments and assume the form of a servant, that He might make God known; but, that revelation being complete, He must take His garments and sit down again, before He can go on to tell all the meaning of what He has ‘done unto us.’

The ground of the petition is twofold. John 17:2 represent the glory sought for, as the completion of the Son’s mission and task. Already He had been endowed with ‘authority over all flesh,’ for the purpose of bestowing eternal life; and that eternal life stands in the knowledge of God, which is the same as the knowledge of Christ. The present gift to the Son and its purpose are thus precisely parallel with the further gift desired, and that is the necessary carrying out of this. The authority and office of the incarnate Christ demand the glory of, and consequent further manifestation by, the glorified Christ. The life which He comes to give is a life which flows from the revelation that He makes of the Father, received, not as mere intellectual knowledge, but as loving acquaintance.

The second ground for the petition is in John 17:4, the actual perfect fulfilment by the Son of that mission. What untroubled consciousness of sinless obedience and transparent shining through His life of the Father’s likeness and will He must have had, who could thus assert His complete realisation of that Father’s revealing purpose, as the ground of His deserving and desiring participation in the divine glory! Surely such words are either the acme of self-righteousness or the self-revealing speech of the Son of God.

II. With John 17:6 we pass to the more immediate reference to the disciples, and the context from thence to John 17:15 may be regarded as all clustered round the second petition ‘keep’ {John 17:11}.

That central request is preceded and followed by considerations of the disciples’ relation to Christ and to the world, which may be regarded as its grounds. The whole context preceding the petition may be summed up in two grounds for the prayer-the former set forth at length, and the latter summarily; the one being the genuine, though incomplete discipleship of the men for whom Christ prays {John 17:6 - John 17:10}, and the latter their desolate condition without Jesus {John 17:11}.

It is beautiful to see how our Lord here credits the disciples with genuine grasp, both in heart and head, of His teaching. He had shortly before had to say, ‘Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me?’ and soon ‘they all forsook Him and fled.’ But beneath misconception and inadequate apprehension there lived faith and love; and He saw ‘the full corn in the ear,’ when only the green ‘blade’ was visible, pushing itself above the surface. We may take comfort from this generous estimate of imperfect disciples. If He did not tend, instead of quenching, ‘dimly burning wicks,’ where would He have ‘lights in the world?’

John 17:6 lays down the beginning of discipleship as threefold: Christ’s act in revealing; the Father’s, in giving men to Jesus; and men’s, in keeping the Father’s word. ‘Thy word’ is the whole revelation by Christ, which is, as this Gospel so often repeats, not His own, but the Father’s. These three facts underlying discipleship are pleas for the petition to follow; for unless the feeble disciples are ‘kept’ in the name, as in a fortress, Christ’s work of revelation is neutralised, the Father’s gift to Him made of none effect, and the incipient disciples will not ‘keep’ His word. The plea is, in effect, ‘Forsake not the works of thine own hands’; and, like all Christ’s prayers, it has a promise in its depths, since God does not begin what He will not finish; and it has a warning, too, that we cannot keep ourselves unless a stronger Hand keeps us.

John 17:7 - John 17:8 carry on the portraiture of discipleship, and thence draw fresh pleas. The blessed result of accepting Christ’s revelation is a knowledge, built on happy experience, and, like the acquaintance of heart with heart, issuing in the firm conviction that Christ’s words and deeds are from God. Why does He say, ‘All things whatsoever Thou hast given,’ instead of simply ‘that I have’ or ‘declare’? Probably it is the natural expression of His consciousness, the lowly utterance of His obedience, claiming nothing as His own, and yet claiming all, while the subsequent clause ‘are of Thee’ expresses the disciples’ conviction. In like fashion our Lord, in verse 8, declares that His words, in their manifoldness {contrast John 17:6, ‘Thy word’}, were all received by Him from the Father, and accepted by the disciples, with the result that they came, as before, to ‘know’ by inward acquaintance with Him as a person, and so to have the divinity of His Person certified by experience, and further came to ‘believe’ that God had sent Him, which was a conviction arrived at by faith. So knowledge, which is personal experience and acquaintance, and faith, which rises to the heights of the Father’s purpose, come from the humble acceptance of the Christ declaring the Father’s name. First faith, then knowledge, and then a fuller faith built on it, and that faith in its turn passing into knowledge {John 17:25}-these are the blessings belonging to the growth of true discipleship, and are discerned by the loving eye of Jesus in very imperfect followers.

In John 17:9 Jesus assumes the great office of Intercessor. ‘I pray for them’ is not so much prayer as His solemn presentation of Himself before the Father as the High-priest of His people. It marks an epoch in His work. The task of bringing God to man is substantially complete. That of bringing men by supplication to God is now to begin. It is the revelation of the permanent office of the departed Lord. Moses on the Mount holds up the rod, and Israel prevails {Exodus 17:9}. The limitation of this prayer to the disciples applies only to the special occasion, and has no bearing on the sweep of His redeeming purpose or the desires of His all-pitying heart. The reasons for His intercession follow in John 17:9 - John 17:11. The disciples are the Father’s, and continue so even when ‘given’ to Christ, in accordance with the community of possession, which oneness of nature and perfectness of love establish between the Father and the Son. God cannot but care for those who are His. The Son cannot but pray for those who are His. Their having recognised Him for what He was binds Him to pray for them. He is glorified in disciples, and if we show forth His character, He will be our Advocate. The last reason for His prayer is the loneliness of the disciples and their exposure in the world without Him. His departure impelled Him to Intercede, both as being a leaving them defenceless and as being an entrance into the heavenly state of communion with the Father.

In the petition itself {John 17:11}, observe the invocation ‘Holy Father!’ with special reference to the prayer for preservation from the corruption of the world. God’s holiness is the pledge that He will make us holy, since He is ‘Father’ as well. Observe the substance of the request, that the disciples should be kept, as in a fortress, within the enclosing circle of the name which God has given to Jesus. The name is the manifestation of the divine nature. It was given to Jesus, inasmuch as He, ‘the Word,’ had from the beginning the office of revealing God; and that which was spoken of the Angel of the Covenant is true in highest reality of Jesus: ‘My name is in Him.’ ‘The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it and is safe.’

Observe the issue of this keeping; namely, the unity of believers. The depths of that saying are beyond us, but we can at least see thus far-that the true bond of unity is the name in which all who are one are kept; that the pattern of the true unity of believers is the ineffable union of Father and Son, which is oneness of will and nature, along with distinctness of persons; and that therefore this purpose goes far deeper than outward unity of organisation.

Then follow other pleas, which are principally drawn from Christ’s relation to the disciples, now ending; whereas the former ones were chiefly deduced from the disciples’ relation to Him. He can no more do what He has done, and commits it to the Father. Happy we if we can leave our unfinished tasks to be taken up by God, and trust those whom we leave undefended to be shielded by Him! ‘I kept’ is, in the Greek, expressive of continuous, repeated action, while ‘I guarded’ gives the single issue of the many acts of keeping. Jesus keeps His disciples now as He did then, by sedulous, patient, reiterated acts, so that they are safe from evil. But note where He kept them-’in Thy name.’ That is our place of safety, a sure defence and inexpugnable fortress. One, indeed, was lost; but that was not any slur on Christ’s keeping, but resulted from his own evil nature, as being ‘a son of loss’ {if we may so preserve the affinity of the words in the Greek}, and from the divine decree from of old. Sharply defined and closely united are the two apparent contradictories of man’s free choice of destruction and God’s foreknowledge. Christ saw them in harmony, and we shall do so one day.

Then the flow of the prayer recurs to former thoughts. Going away so soon, He yearned to leave them sharers of His own emotions in the prospect of His departure to the Father, and therefore He had admitted them {and us} to hear this sacred outpouring of His desires. If we laid to heart the blessed revelations of this disclosure of Christ’s heart, and followed Him with faithful gaze as He ascends to the Father, and realised our share in that triumph, our empty vessels would be filled by some of that same joy which was His. Earthly joy can never be full; Christian joy should never be anything less than full.

Then follows a final glance at the disciples’ relation to the world, to which they are alien because they are of kindred to Him. This is the ground for the repetition of the prayer ‘keep’, with the difference that formerly it was ‘keep in Thy name,’ and now it is ‘from the evil.’ It is good to gaze first on our defence, the ‘munitions of rocks’ where we lie safely, and then we can venture to face the thought of ‘the evil,’ from which that keeps us, whether it be personal or abstract.

III. John 17:16 - John 17:19 give the final petition for the immediate circle of disciples, with its grounds.

The position of alienation from the world, in which the disciples stand by reason of their assimilation to Jesus, is repeated here. It was the reason for the former prayer, ‘keep’; it is the reason for the new petition, ‘sanctify.’ Keeping comes first, and then sanctifying, or consecration. Security from evil is given that we may be wholly devoted to the service of God. The evil in the world is the great hindrance to that. The likeness to Jesus is the great ground of hope that we shall be truly consecrated. We are kept ‘in the name’; we are consecrated ‘in the truth,’ which is the revelation made by Jesus, and in a very deep sense is Himself. That truth is, as it were, the element in which the believer lives, and by abiding in which his real consecration is possible.

Christ’s prayer for us should be our aim and deepest desire for ourselves, and His declaration of the condition of its fulfilment should prescribe our firm adhesion to, and constant abiding in, the truth as revealed and embodied in Him, as the only means by which we can attain the consecration which is at once, as the closing verses of the passage tell us, the means by which we may fulfil the purpose for which we are sent into the world, and the path on which we reach complete assimilation to His perfect self-surrender. All Christians are sent into the world by Jesus, as Jesus was sent by the Father. We have the charge to glorify Him. We have the presence of the Sender with us, the sent. We are inspired with His Spirit. We cannot do His work without that entire consecration which shall copy His devotion to the Father and eager swiftness to do His will. How can such ennobling and exalted consecration be ours? There is but one way. He has ‘consecrated Himself,’ and by union with Him through faith, our selfishness may be subdued, and the Spirit of Christ may dwell in our hearts, to make us ‘living sacrifices, consecrated and acceptable to God.’ Then shall we be truly ‘consecrated,’ and then only, when we can say, ‘I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.’ That is the end of Christ’s consecration of Himself-the prayer which He prayed for His disciples-and should be the aim which every disciple earnestly pursues.

17:17-19 Christ next prayed for the disciples, that they might not only be kept from evil, but made good. It is the prayer of Jesus for all that are his, that they may be made holy. Even disciples must pray for sanctifying grace. The means of giving this grace is, through thy truth, thy word is truth. Sanctify them, set them apart for thyself and thy service. Own them in the office; let thy hand go with them. Jesus entirely devoted himself to his undertaking, and all the parts of it, especially the offering up himself without spot unto God, by the eternal Spirit. The real holiness of all true Christians is the fruit of Christ's death, by which the gift of the Holy Ghost was purchased; he gave himself for his church, to sanctify it. If our views have not this effect on us, they are not Divine truth, or we do not receive them by a living and a working faith, but as mere notions.Sanctify them - This word means to render pure, or to cleanse from sins, 1 Thessalonians 5:23; 1 Corinthians 6:11. Sanctification in the heart of a Christian is progressive. It consists in his becoming more like God and less attached to the world; in his getting the ascendency over evil thoughts, and passions, and impure desires; and in his becoming more and more weaned from earthly objects, and attached to those things which are unseen and eternal. The word also means "to consecrate, to set apart to a holy office or purpose." See John 17:19; also the notes at John 10:36. When Jesus prayed here that God would sanctify them, he probably included both these ideas, that they might be made personally more holy, and might be truly consecrated to God as the ministers of his religion. Ministers of the gospel will be really devoted to the service of God just in proportion as they are personally pure.

Through thy truth - Truth is a representation of things as they are. The Saviour prayed that through those just views of God and of themselves they might be made holy. To see things as they are is to see God to be infinitely lovely and pure; his commands to be reasonable and just; heaven to be holy and desirable; his service to be easy, and religion pleasant, and sin odious; to see that life is short, that death is near; that the pride, pomp, pleasures, wealth, and honors of this world are of little value, and that it is of infinite importance to be prepared to enter on the eternal state of being. He that sees all this, or that looks on things as they are, will desire to be holy. He will make it his great object to live near to God and to glorify his name. In the sanctification of the soul God makes use of all truth, or of everything fitted to make a representation of things as they are to the mind. His Word states that and no more; His Spirit and His Providence do it. The earth and the heavens, the seasons, the sunshine and the rain, are all fitted to teach us his goodness and power, and lead us to him. His daily mercies tend to the same end, and afflictions have the same design. Our own sickness teaches us that we are soon to die. The death of a friend teaches us the instability of all earthly comforts, and the necessity of seeking better joys. All these things are fitted to make just representations to the mind, and thus to sanctify the soul. As the Christian is constantly amid these objects, so he should be constantly growing in grace, and daily and hourly gaining new and deeper impressions of the great truths of religion.

Thy word is truth - All that thou hast spoken - that is, all that is contained in the Bible. All the commands and promises of God; His representations of His own character and that of man; His account of the mission and death of His Son; of the grave, the resurrection, judgment, and eternity, all tend to represent things as they are, and are thus fitted to sanctify the soul. We have here also the testimony of the Saviour that the revelation which God has given is true. All that God has spoken is true, and the Christian should rejoice and the sinner should tremble. See Psalm 19:7-14.

17. Sanctify them—As the former prayer, "Keep them," was "negative," asking protection for them from the poisonous element which surrounded and pressed upon their renewed nature, so this prayer, "Sanctify them," is positive, asking the advancement and completion of their begun sanctification.


thy truth—God's revealed truth, as the medium or element of sanctification; a statement this of immense importance.

thy word is truth—(Compare Joh 15:3; Col 1:5; Eph 1:13).

It is doubted amongst interpreters, whether sanctifying in this place signifieth the consecrating, deputing, or setting the apostles apart, and preparing them for the work of the ministry in which they were to be employed, as the word signifies, Jeremiah 1:5; or the strengthening and confirming their habits of grace, so as they might be able to encounter the temptations they should meet with from the hatred or opposition of the world; or the perfecting of them in holiness. Mr. Calvin saith our Saviour here prayeth that God would appropriate them unto himself. And he showeth how this is done,

through, or in, thy truth; that is, some say, through thy truth engraven and imprinted upon their hearts by thy Holy Spirit, which was promised to lead and to guide them into all truth, John 16:13: say others, through thy Spirit, which indeed is the Sanctifier; and we have met with twice, called, the Spirit of truth, John 14:17. Some say, Sanctify them through thy truth, is no more than, Sanctify them truly, in opposition to that legal sanctification of priests, &c., of which we read in the books of Exodus and Leviticus. Others would have it, to thy truth, that is, to the preaching of thy gospel. But our translation seems to come nearest the meaning; through thy truth, that is, through the knowledge of thy truth; as the Gentiles are said to have had their hearts purified by faith, Acts 15:9. He opens what he meant by truth, adding, thy word is truth; that is, thy word and gospel, which I have preached to them, is truth (the abstract, as some think, for the concrete); that is, it is most true: it is not like the doctrine of false prophets, nor like the doctrine of the Pharisees, which is partly true, partly false; but it is truth itself: and though indeed it is the blood of Christ which cleanseth and purifieth the heart, yet this is applied to the conscience by the Spirit, which is the Sanctifier, in and through the word of God preached and applied to the soul.

Sanctify them through thy truth,.... The Syriac version introduces this petition, with the appellation "Abba, Father": and the sanctification prayed for regards the apostles, either as ministers of the word, and may intend their separation for their work and office; for which though they were sanctified or separated from their mother's womb, and by Christ when he sent them forth, yet were to have a fresh commission and unction after our Lord's resurrection, and upon his ascension to heaven; and also their qualification for it, with the truth of grace and doctrine, with holiness of heart and life, and with a preservation in the truth, by being kept faithful to it: or it may also regard them as Christians and believers, and intend a greater degree of the sanctification of the Spirit, which is imperfect in this life; for though sanctification in Christ is perfect, and so it is in the saints, as to parts, yet not as to degrees; which appears from the imperfection of faith, hope, love, and knowledge, from indwelling sin, being in the best of saints, from their necessities, from their disclaiming perfection, and their desires after it. Sanctification is a progressive work, which is carried on gradually; as is clear from the characters of regenerate ones, who are first newborn babes, then young men, and afterwards fathers in Christ; from the similes, by which it is expressed as seed which opens and grows up by degrees, and light which shines more and more unto the perfect day from exhortations to a concern for the growth of it, and prayers for it: and it is indeed continually carrying on, as may be concluded from the hand in which it is; and the progress and finishing of this work, as well as the beginning of it, are entirely the Lord's; and the way and means in which this is done, are by or through the truth of the Gospel:

thy word is truth; it is "peculiarly" so, as the Arabic version reads it. The Gospel is here meant, and is so called on account of its original, it comes from the God of truth; and because of the concern which Christ, who is the truth, has in it, he being the author, preacher, and sum and substance of it; and because the Spirit of truth has dictated it, leads into it, qualifies men to preach it, and makes it effectual: and because it contains all truth necessary to salvation, and nothing but truth, and particularly that eminent truth, salvation alone by Christ; and because it is opposed to the law, which is but a shadow, of which the good things in the Gospel are the substance: now this is the means both of the beginning, and increasing, and carrying on the work of sanctification in the hearts of God's people, as well as of an experimental knowledge of it; and an increase of that knowledge does more and more qualify the ministers of it for their ministerial work and service, which seems here chiefly designed.

{f} Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

(f) That is, make them holy: and that thing is said to be holy which is dedicated to God and belongs to him alone.

John 17:17. But besides this negative qualification for representing Christ, they must possess also a positive equipment, ἁγίασον αὐτοὺς ἐν τῇ ἀληθείᾳ σου. “Consecrate them by thy truth.” ἁγιάζω is to render sacred, to set apart from profane uses; as in Exodus 13:1, ἁγίασόν μοι πᾶν πρωτότοκον; Exodus 20:8, ἁγ. ἡμέραν; Exodus 28:37, ἁγιάσεις αὐτοῦς ἵνα ἱερατεύωσί μοι; Matthew 23:17; Hebrews 9:13. In John 10:36 it is used of the Father’s setting apart of Christ to His mission. Here it is similarly used of the setting apart or consecration of the disciples as Christ’s representatives. Meyer includes their “equipment with Divine illumination, power, courage, joyfulness, love, inspiration, etc., for their official activity”. Wetstein’s definition is good; “Sanctificare est aliquem eligere ad certum munus obeundum, eumque praeparare atque idoneum reddere”. “The truth,” as the element in which they now lived, was to be the efficient instrument of their consecration, cf. John 14:16, John 16:7-13; the truth specifically which became theirs through the revelation of the Father, ὁ λόγος ὁ σὸς ἀλήθειὰ ἐστι, “the word which is Thine,” John 17:14, but here emphatically distinguished as being the Word of the Father and no other. The article is absent before ἀλήθεια, as in John 4:24, because ἀλήθ. is abstract. “Thy word is” not only “true” but “truth”.

17. Sanctify] Or, consecrate. The word expresses God’s destination of them for their work and His endowment of them with the powers necessary for their work. The word is used of God’s consecration of Jeremiah, Moses, and the chosen people (Jeremiah 1:5; Sir 49:7; Sir 45:4; 2Ma 1:25). This prayer has been called “the Prayer of Consecration.”

through thy truth] Rather, in the truth. ‘Thy’ is a gloss, rightly explaining the text, but wanting in all the best MSS. The Truth is the whole Christian revelation, the new environment in which believers are placed, and which helps to work their sanctification; just as a sickly wild plant is strengthened and changed by transplanting it to a garden.

thy word] Literally, the word that is Thine, a mode of expression which gives prominence to the adjective. Comp. ‘My doctrine is not Mine, but His that sent Me,’ John 7:16. The Greek for ‘word’ is logos, God’s revelation as a whole, not any single utterance or collection of utterances. See on John 5:47.

John 17:17. Ἁγίασον, sanctify) claim wholly to Thyself.

Verse 17. - Sanctify them; consecrate them (cf. John 10:36, of the sanctification of the Son by the Father to the work of effecting human redemption), separate them from the evil of the world, as for holy purposes. Devote them to the glorious cause. Let them be sacrifices on the altar. The ἁγιάζω, to sanctify, is not synonymous with καθαρίζω, to purify; α{γιος ισ not a contradiction of the defiled so much as of the purely natural, and involves the higher ends of grace (Exodus 29:1, 36; Exodus 40:13). The sanctification of the Old Testament is a ritual process effected by ceremonial observance; the sanctification of the New Testament is a spiritual process passing over heart and conscience and will, and is the work of the Divine Spirit. Meyer, Westcott, and others translate the next clause, in the truth, as the atmosphere in which the disciples dwell; but a large number of commentators, with Godet, take ἐν τῇ ἀληθείᾳ as equivalent to" by the aid of," with the instrumentality of, "the truth:" consecrate them, by revealing to them the reality, making known to them the truth. If they see the truth they will be discharged from the illusions of the world, the flesh, and the devil. (Luther takes ἐν τῇ ἀληθείᾳ adverbially, and as equivalent to "verily and indeed; but this cannot well be, seeing the article is present, and taking account of the subsequent definition of ἀληθεία, it becomes improbable.) But what is "truth"? what is the full expression of reality? how are we to know where to find it? Thy Logos (thy Word), the utterance of thy thought, is truth. If we can ever cognize what is the Divine thought about anything, we shall reach the absolute truth. What God troweth is truth per se. The Logos of God, the full, God-chosen utterance of the reality of truth, is the nearest approach to truth that we possess. This revelation of God is the closest correspondence with the reality. God sanctifies his children, consecrates them to the service of his kingdom by revealing the truth, by making known the otherwise transcendental facts of his kingdom. A long controversy has prevailed in the Church as to whether the Spirit's gracious operations are or are not limited by the operation of truth on the mind. Numerous assurances of the New Testament seem thus to limit the grace of God, or to measure it by the ordinary effect produced on the understanding by Divine truth; e.g. "Of his own will begat he us by the Word of truth;" the parable of the sower, and other Scriptures. But seeing that the regeneration, the conference of new and supernatural life, is set forth by images of resurrection and new creation, and as a purification of taste, bias, and desire, the gift of a new heart and right spirit, the voice of a heavenly sonship crying within us, "Abba, Father," and seeing that the ministration of the Spirit is variously directed and operative, and that there is shadowed forth an immediate work on the heart," back of consciousness" itself, and that the witness of the Spirit and the teaching and indwelling of the Holy Ghost are continually referred to, - we are loath to accept the dogma. The Spirit of God is not limited to the normal operations of the Word. John 17:17Sanctify (ἁγίασον)

Constantly used in the Septuagint to express the entire dedication and consecration of both persons and things to God. See Exodus 29:1, Exodus 29:36; Exodus 40:13; Leviticus 22:2, Leviticus 22:3. Rev., in margin, consecrate. See on John 10:36.

Through thy truth (ἐν τῇ ἀληθείᾳ σου)

The best texts omit thy. Through (ἐν) is to be rendered literally, in, marking the sphere or element of consecration. Rev., sanctify them in the truth.

Thy word (ὁ λόγος ο σὸς)

Properly, the word which is thine. See on John 15:9.

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John 17:16
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