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  • Writer's pictureJason Garcia

Set Apart Through Truth

Jesus prayed His followers would sanctified in Truth: "Sanctify by the Truth, Your Word is Truth" (Jn. 17:17). Sanctify might sound like a highfalutin religious word (it's not); it has a very basic meaning–set apart or select for service (Jn. 10:36; Gal. 1:15).

Disciples of Christ are set apart for service to Christ only as long as they adhere to His Truth, measuring themselves by it and obeying it. His Word is the sole determiner of our relationship to Him: "By this we can be sure that we have come to know Him: if we keep His commandments" (1 Jn. 2:3) and again, "If anyone says, 'I know Him,' but does not keep His commandments, he is a liar, and the truth is not in him" (1 Jn. 2:4). This is true now, and will be true eternally: "There is a judge for the one who rejects Me and does not receive My words: The word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day" (Jn. 12:48).

You and I have access to the Word of God, thus we have access to the Truth (His means to sanctify us) to learn, believe, and obey. To simply hold aloft the "Holy Bible" like Rafiki holding Simba on Pride Rock, declaring, "We have the Truth!" is not enough. Knowing the source of Truth, and giving attention to its contents are worlds apart. Many homes have a Bible prominently displayed but never read. A lot of folks "go to church" just so they can say they went. A lot of folks even make some use of Bible terms and then suppose their doctrines are "based on the Bible."

My friends, surely we know better. Surely Jesus expects more and deserves more.

How often is our sanctification and salvation expressed in terms of relationship to the Word?

"I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because IT is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, then to the Greek" (Rom. 1:16).

"Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying THE TRUTH so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart" (1 Pet. 1:22).

"Therefore we must pay much closer attention to WHAT we have HEARD, lest we drift away from IT" (Heb. 2:1).

There's a few for you, but there's a whole lot more when you get to lookin'.

I cannot claim to be a true follower of Christ while having little or no regard for what He says. "Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ but not do what I say?" (Lk. 6:46).

I will not find security and assurance in the religious traditions of my parents and grandparents–dear as they may be. My ancestors were people, and all people are fallible. BUT "...the word of the Lord remains forever” (1 Pet. 1:25), so "...that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work" (2 Tim. 3:17).

I will not find salvation among the denominations–various religious institutions of human origin. The catechisms, creeds, and constitutions of man-made churches are no more reliable for salvation than the religious leanings of my family, and for all the same reasons. Nothing is either right or wrong simply because a church teaches it, yet this is what many churches would have us believe. So when you commit wholly to the Truth of Christ, you may well find yourself standing against the very people you once called brethren–"When Cephas came to Antioch, however, I opposed him to his face, because he stood to be condemned...When I saw that they were not walking in line with the truth of the Gospel... (Gal. 2:11, 14). "A man's enemies will be members of his own household" (Matt. 10:36).

The applause of men, especially those whom we hold in high regard can create deadly biases within us. Paul had to overcome the same hurdle: "Am I now seeking the approval of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ" (Gal. 1:10). You could have the applause of the entire world–or, more realistically, your entire congregation, yet still be an enemy of God: "...small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it" (Matt. 7:14). God alone defines what is good (Mk. 10:18), and you and I can only "do good" as long as we live in accordance with God's will.

Practice what you preach--this is a good proverb. But make sure what you preach can be practiced with Christ's authority (Col. 3:17). Ultimately, we are not striving to be consistent with our parents' teaching or a church's tradition or even our own standards, but to live consistently with the teaching of Christ. Even if it means letting go of something I preached and practiced for years.

We'll find salvation no other way. "...having been made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey Him" (Heb. 5:9).

"God give us men of courage; honest men, hungry for TRUTH. Banish selfish concern, creed-bound fumblings after truth; and help us to search thy word prayerfully, convinced that therein are the answers to our problems. Open our eyes that we may see, our ears that we may hear, and our hearts that we may understand."

--Robert Turner

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