Sanctify them in/by/with The Truth
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Jesus proseuchomai conversationally-prayed for ALL Christians in the John 17:17 “Sanctify them in/by/with The Truth; the logos word, the of You, [singular] truth ongoing is.” But what in the world does this mean? Does it mean what I’ve heard many preachers say – that Christians are made holy by becoming ‘people of the Holy Bible?’ That this is what will make us separate us from the world? That this is what will make us stronger Christians and more godly?
The first step to understanding the bible is always, always, always see how the verse fits within the context in order to see how the particular Greek or Hebrew words of the verse are used within the flow of thought the speaker was engaged in. “A text without a context is a pretext for a proof text” is what we were taught in our Hermeneutics bible interpretation classes at the 5 bible schools I attended – see Bible Info – BT3. Everybody and their brother is out there trying to prove what they want you to believe – usually because they are selling something – by pulling verses out of the contexts of the passage, book, books of the author, and New Covenant, and the reasons they give to justify their interpretations are often just not valid reasons, so this is their “pretext.” Some of the “winds of doctrine” that have blown through the Church, which have been “blowing” for so long that they are now considered “truth,” really are still “doctrines of men” and not from the Lord at all. So, let’s dig in!
Greek and Hebrew words themselves often have a variety of meaning, but the context always defines which meaning to use. Let’s look at the original Greek word meanings and their original order, because the Greek often emphasizes particular words by simply putting them early on in the sentence. The word order is: “Sanctify (a) them en in/by/with (b) The Truth (c); the logos Word (d), the of You, [singular] Truth (e) ongoingly IS exists.” Because there are 2 nominative subjects and no accusative direct object, the last phrase can be read: “Your Logos Word, [singular] Truth, ongoingly IS.” This has the same thrust of the “I AM” statements of the Father and Jesus! <Notes> a) hagiazo in the aorist imperative: strong-urged instruction viewed as a whole or definitively – ‘Just do it,’ b) the preposition en followed by the dative case can have all 3 meanings: in the location of, by the means of, with the company of, and indeed they can as the Lord showed me in a vision – see also Bible Info – BT1, c) aletheia: absolute reality or substance of a something, in this case, Jesus fully representing the Father, d) nominative subject, see Logos Word of God page where logos was redefined in the NT as Jesus Christ and His gospel message, e) aletheiaas also as nominative subject. The definite article need not be supplied since it is singular and the previous use has the definite article, so it’s still clear that Jesus Christ as the The Truth is in mind here.
The context’s emphasis is the Christian’s sanctification – the ongoing growth or maturity of a Christian after they are born again as new creations of God. Hagiazo means to “venerate, consecrate or dedicate common things to God, purity or make spiritually or ceremonially clean,” but the Greek scholars see it used here in the “normal sense of being dedicated, consecrated, or set apart” for God as “uncommon, sacred, and clean for special use by God.” This is what Christ is instructing His Father to do. But how is God going to accomplish this great task? See Holy Spaces page.
“En in/by/with The Truth” is how Christians are “sanctified” by the Father. The preposition en with “The Truth” in the dative case can denote a fixed time, place, or state that something/someone rests “in,” as 17 English translations show (a). If a Christian rests “inside” a place or state of being called “The Truth,” there they will be “sanctified” or “separated to God for special purposes” from the other places or states of being that are not “in The Truth.” However, other translations treat the preposition en with “The Truth” in the dative case as the instrument or means by which “The Truth” works on the Christian to sanctify them, as in these English translations of “through” (b), “by” (c), “by means of” (d), “make” (e). The third option is to translate it “with” the company of (f). It’s really not crucial to be certain which one is right, though a comprehensive survey will show that “by the means of The Truth” is a much more common understanding (c, d). As I said above all 3 are true when it comes to the Lord! Either way, if a we are IN/BY/WITH The Truth, and “The Truth abides/remains IN us and will be WITH us forever” (g), and “The Truth is IN/WITH Jesus” (h), and “God is IN Christ” (i), then certainly “it is God who works IN us, both to will and to work His good pleasure” (j). We also see that en pneumati is always “by the means of the Spirit” for this is exactly how God works IN/WITH us! <Notes> a) ASV, AMP, CEB, DLNT, DRA, ESV, JUB, LEB, NABRE, NASB, NET, NRSV, RSV, VOICE, WEB, WYC, and YLT, b) KJV, BRG, c) AMPC, DARBY, HCSB, ISV, PHILLIPS, MEV, MOUNCE, NIV, NKJV, d) CJB, GNT, e) CEV, ERV, EXB, GW, ICB, TLB, NOG, NCV, NIRV, NLV, NLT, WE, f) GNV, MSG, NMB, RGT, g) 2 John 1:2, h) John 14:6; Ephesians 4:21, i) Romans 6:11, 8:39; Ephesians 4:32; Philippians 3:14; 1 Thessalonians 2:14, 5:18, j) Philippians 2:13.
But what really is this ‘place of rest’ called “The Truth” we are to be IN or WITH? Aletheia could mean “actual objective reality” of anything, which is ultimately knowable only by God, or it could mean a “subjective truth as a personal excellence which is free from affection, pretense, simulation, or deceit.” Again, context helps us choose! The definite article “the” points to a specific kind, a unique kind of “truth” that rules out the idea of every individual’s subjective truth. Furthermore, Jesus has already defined what specific “truth” He speaks of.
Let’s work backwards from John 17:17, since this definition of “The Truth” would be freshest in the minds of his disciples. In John 16:13 Jesus said, “But when He, the Spirit of The Truth, comes, He will guide you into ALL The Truth.” In John 15:26 Jesus said “When the Parakletos Teacher (a) comes, whom I will send you from the Father – the Spirit of The Truth who goes out from the Father – He will testify/witness about Me.” At the last supper with His disciples, Jesus said in John 14:6, “I AM the way, and The Truth, and the zoe genuine-life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” <Notes> a) Parakletos: ‘Close-beside’ caller, summoner, or inviter; helper, succorer, or assistant; encouraging teacher, counselor, comforter, or consoler; defense-attorney, judicial-advocate, or court-intercessor.
Further back in John 8:31-32, then Jesus said to those Judeans who had trusting-relying-faith in Him, “If you continue to follow My teaching, you are really My disciples kai and/thus you will experientially, relationally ginosko know The Truth, and/thus The Truth will set you free,” but from v. 36 when know this refers to “The Son shall set you free indeed.” Notice the use of kai to set up a progression of statements if the condition “if you continue” is met. Again the context tells you what what type of “teaching of The Truth to follow as a disciple of Christ” if we have a chance to “experientially, relationally ginosko epiginosko know The Truth and thus have a chance to be set free by The Truth: 1) Jesus is the light of the world and the light of zoe genuine-life who is to be followed in order to no longer walk in darkness (a), 2) that Jesus testifies about Himself (b), 3) particularly that God is His Father (c), 4) that He is from above and not of this world (d), 5) that unless they have trusting-relying-faith in Him, they will die in their sins (e), 6) that He reiterates the point that it’s about His testimony from the beginning about who He is (f), and 7) that is what Jesus hears from the Father and only speaks (g). It is these things that many people heard and had trusting-relying-faith in (h). The context clearly defines Christ’s teaching to follow . . . to be set free – it’s all about Himself and trusting-relying-faith in Him! This is the gospel logos message! <Notes> a) John 8:12, b) vv. 8:13-14, c) v. 8:19, d) v. 8:23, e) v. 8:24, f) v. 8:25, g) v. 8:26-27, h) v. 8:30.
Further back in John 4:21, 23-24 when Jesus revealed to the Samaritan woman at the well that He was the Messiah, He said: “Believe me woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. . . . But a time is coming – and now is here – when the true worshipers will worship the Father in [singular] Spirit and/coupled in [singular] Truth, for the Father seeks such people to be His worshipers. God is [singular] Spirit, and the people who worship Him must worship by the means of [singular] Spirit and/coupled [singular] truth.” Most Greek scholars see references to [singular] Spirit as clearly the Holy Spirit of God because of the context, so there’s no need for the definite article “the,” nor would there be for the kai “coupled” (kai) “truth,” as the use of the conjunction kai would also normally help clarify. This is certainly “The Truth of God” coupled to “the Holy Spirit” of God. In John 1:14 and 17, John says “Now the Logos Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We saw His glory – the glory of the One and only, full/complete/perfect of [singular] unconditional-favor-of-grace and [singular] Truth, who came from the Father. . . . For the Law was given thru-the-realizing-channel-of Moses, but The Unconditional-Favor-of-Grace and The Truth came-into-being thru-the-realizing-channel-of Jesus Christ.” Everywhere singular Spirit and singular Truth are coupled together, it always refers to “The Holy Spirit of The Truth,” who is Jesus Christ, and it’s no coincidence they are all from John (a)! <Notes> a) John 14:17, 15:26, 16:13; 1 John 4:6, 5:6.
So far we have God’s Holy Spirit is “of/belongs-to The Truth” and it is He who guides and teaches Christians ALL The Truth, who testifies/witnesses about Jesus, who said He was “The Truth” and “the only way to the Father.” We also know that “The Truth” is Christ’s teaching about Himself, and without a trusting-relying-faith in what Jesus testified about, then we will die in our sins. The only source of “freedom or liberty from darkness and eternal death” is to continue to “follow Christ’s teaching of The Truth” about Himself that will lead to experientially, relationally ginosko knowing “The Truth” that will then lead you to freedom. True proskuneo worship of the Father requires a radically new approach than what the Jews or Samaritans practiced for thousands of years. It has nothing to do with a place or the latreia liturgical-worship that belongs to each. It MUST NOW be by the means of the Son, who is The Truth – the absolute objective reality of God and/coupled by the means of His Holy Spirit! Certainly there is no other way to the Father, no other way for The Unconditional-Favor-of-Grace and The Truth of God to come to mankind than by Jesus Christ.
Can we also get a clue about what “The Truth” means after John 17:17? In John 18:37-38 “Pilate said to Him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus replied, ‘You say that I am a king. For this reason I was born, and for this reason I came into the world – to testify/witness to The Truth. Everyone who is of/belongs-to The Truth listens to My Voice.’ ” But who is it that “of/belongs-to The Truth” but “the sheep [that] akouo listen/hear-to-understand His Voice” that “He calls . . . by name and leads them” that also “follow Him, for they eido mentally ‘see’ to perceive/know His Voice” that “will akouo listen/hear-to-understand to My voice . . . to be One flock” under “One Shepherd” that “akouo listen/hear-to-understand My voice” that He “experientially, relationally ginosko knows” (a). Did you catch that akouo hearing and eido seeing are linked? This is exactly the dreams & visions of prophetic-rhema words of God! <Notes> a) John 10:3-4, 16, 27.
So just what is “The Truth” that will set us free from the practice of sin and “sanctify” or separate us for special use by God, or that we are to proskuneo worship the Father by the means of? What is “The Truth” that we must be IN/WITH to be right with God? The obvious truth from all this contextual study is “Jesus Christ” and/coupled with this “the Holy Spirit of the Father and the Son!” Unless the Holy Spirit of God, the Spirit of The Truth, who is the Son fully representing the Father, dwells IN/WITH us (a) and empowers us for holiness and witness (b), we cannot experientially, relationally ginosko know the Father (c), cannot be something other than “in the flesh” sinful nor “belong to the Father or the Son” (d), nor “have zoe genuine-life given to our mortal bodies” as our blessed hope (e), nor be “God’s temple” (f) as a “dwelling place for God” (g). <Notes> a) 2 Timothy 1:14; John 14:7; James 4:5, b) Luke 1:35; Acts 1:8; Romans 1:4, 15:13, 19; 1 Corinthians 2:4; Ephesians 3:16; 1 Thessalonians 1:5; 2 Timothy 1:7, c) John 14:17, d) Romans 8:9, e) Romans 8:11, f) 1 Corinthians 3:16, g) Ephesians 2:22.
Well let’s see if that’s how Jesus defines “The Truth” in the next part of John 17:17 “the Logos Message, the of You, Truth ongoingly is.” Both “the Logos Message” and “Truth” are subjects in the nominative case, so grammatically “[singular] Truth,” that points back to “The Truth,” is an appositive of “the Logos Message” and thus have the same referent – Jesus Christ! Thus the sentence could be re-written as “Your Logos Message, that is, The Truth, ongoingly IS.” What a statement about the perpetual existence of Jesus Christ! This is as shocking as Jesus saying “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM” (a)! There is no coincidence that Jesus used the term “I AM” so many times to describe Himself and all in John’s writings: “Have trusting-relying-faith in Me that I AM in the Father and the Father is in Me” (b). And when He declared “I AM” to the soldiers that came to arrest Him, then fell back to the ground (c). Jesus was declaring in every way possible that he was the “I AM” that spoke to Moses in Exodus 3:14. That’s why “no one experientially, relationally ginosko knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him” (d) and “I and the Father are one” (e). The Father and the Son ongoingly exist and they are “the Logos Word of God!” What they have to communicate, will go on forever! <Notes> a) John 8:58, b) John 14:11, c) John 18:5-6, d) Luke 10:22, e) John 10:30.
I don’t know how many preachers I’ve seen hold up their big thick bibles and say, “This book is all you will ever need for truth and life!” Is that what Jesus is saying here in John 17:17? Absolutely not! From the many BLOGS on the Logos Word of God page, we see that nowhere in the NT does Jesus or the other NT writers use the Greek word logos to refer to the entirety of the OT writings, which is always indicated by the Greek words graphe for scripture, or gramma for writings or letters, or nomos for the old covenant Law. Careful study will also show that their use of logos always refers to Jesus or the gospel logos message about Him, though sometimes using select prophetic ‘portions of’ the scriptures to convert Jews or encourage Jewish-Christians not to lapse back into the Law. But for sure the Law ‘portions’ of scripture are never taught and only spoken of very negatively.
In other words, the “Word of God” changed radically from the old covenant concept of “scripture” as God’s written logos message to mankind of His Law of commandments to the completely-different-in-kind New (a) Covenant idea of Jesus Christ as God’s “imperishable, living and abiding” (b) “Logos Message of The Truth” to mankind that is the “true testimony/witness” (c) about Himself, the “glory of the only Son from the Father” (d), the “image of the invisible God” (e), that now lives within every Christian as the Holy Spirit to continually guide and teach us all things (f) so we have need of no other teacher (g), and will help us to do battle by the “sword of the Spirit, the directly-spoken/heard prophetic rhema words of God” (h) – not by quoting bible verses! <Notes> a) chadash, kainos: fresh, completely-different-in-kind, unprecedented, sharing nothing with its predecessors, unique, and superior, b) 1 Peter 1:23, c) John 3:33, 8:14, d) John 1:14, e) Colossians 1:15, f) John 16:13; 14:26, g) Matthew 13:8; 1 John 2:27, h) Ephesians 6:17.
There is no promise in the NT for more gramma letters, writings, or written code let alone a collection into graphe scripture! That’s why Paul adamantly declares that Christians are now “the handwritten letters of Christ, written absolutely not by ink but by the Spirit of the living God, absolutely not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts” (a) – see Logos Word of God – BT20, and that we are NOW “to be ministers/servants of a completely-different-in-kind New Covenant, absolutely in fact not of [singular] gramma letter/writing but of [singular] Spirit, for the gramma letter/writing kills, but the Spirit gives zoe genuine-life” (b), which clearly refers to Jeremiah 31:31-36 (c) when God says “I will put my Law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. . . . absolutely in fact and in possibility no longer shall each person teach his neighbor and each his brother to experientially, relationally yada/ginosko ‘know the Lord’ for they shall ALL eido mentally ‘see’ to perceive/know Me, from the least to the greatest (d).” The “in fact . . . in possibility” absolute double negative is like God yelling it! Of course no English bibles will pick up on this emphasis. It’s the key difference between the 2 covenants! <Notes> a) 2 Corinthians 3:3 possibly referring to Ezekiel 11:19-20 or 36:26-37, b) 2 Corinthians 3:6. Here is another case of why the definite article doesn’t have to be repeated if it’s already been used, c) cited in Luke 22:20; 1 Corinthians 11:25; Hebrews 8:8, 13, 9:15, 12:24 – obviously a key verse, d) the Law or any religion for that matter is characteristically taught down the chain of hierarchy greatest to least.
Lest you think “sanctifying them by the logos Word of The Truth” includes any of the old covenant Law or more scriptures for the completely-different-in-kind New Covenant, Paul makes it clear that we are “absolutely in facrt no longer under the Law if we are led by the Holy Spirit” (a) but under the “Law of Christ” (b) that “bears one another’s burdens” based on Christ’s ONLY completely-different-in-kind New entole Commandment given to His followers that alone distinguishes them as disciples of Christ that is to “unconditionally-love one another” (c), the “perfect Law of liberty/freedom” where “mercy triumphs over judgment” (d) – see the Only 2 Commandments and Unconditional-Love pages. The “promise” of the completely-different-in-kind New Covenant isn’t more graphe scripture with its gramma writings, but the “Father’s promise of the Holy Spirit” (e) that is “received also by trusting-relying-faith” (f). <Notes> a) Romans 6:14-15, Galatians 5:18, b) 1 Corinthians 9:21; Galatians 6:2, c) John 13:34-35, d) James 1:25, e) Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4, 2:33, 38, f) Galatians 3:14; Ephesians 1:13.
So what’s the context of the “logos message” used in John 17:17? Just a few sentences back in John 17:4, Jesus said “I have given them Your logos message, and the world has hated them, because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world.” In John 17:6 Jesus said “I have revealed Your name/authority to the men you gave Me out of the world. They belonged to You, and you gave them to Me, and they have obeyed Your logos message.” In John 15:3, Jesus said to Peter about His apostles as He washed their feet: “You are clean (a) already because of the logos message that I have spoken to you.” In John 14:23-24 Jesus said to His apostles, “If anyone unconditionally-loves Me, he will obey My logos message, and my Father will unconditional-love him, and we will come to him and take up residence within him. The person who does not unconditional-love me does not obey My logos message. And the logos message you hear is not mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.” What Jesus is talking about isn’t most of the bible! <Notes> a) uncommon, sanctified, consecrated, set apart for God’s special use.
Jesus’ final public words in John 12:48 are “The one who rejects Me and does not accept My directly-spoken/heard prophetic rhema words has a judge; the logos message I have spoken will judge him at the last day.” Here is a rare case to see how the 2 distinctly different words for “word” are related. In John 8:55 to the religious leader Jesus says: “Yet you absolutely in fact do not experientially, relationally ginosko know Him, but I do eido mentally ‘see’ to perceive/know Him. If I were to say that I absolutely in fact do not eido mentally ‘see’ to perceive/know Him, I would be a liar like you. But I do eido mentally ‘see’ to perceive/know Him, and I obey His logos message.” The New Covenant way of really knowing God is ‘seeing’ Him, not reading about Him as the scribes and Pharisees had become experts of.
In John 8:51 Jesus said: “I tell you the solemn truth, if anyone obeys My logos message, he will never see death.” In John 8:43 Jesus said: “Why don’t you understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot accept My logos message.” In John 8:37 Jesus said: “I know that you are Abraham’s descendants. But you want to kill Me, because My logos message makes no progress among you.” In John 8:31, 36 we’ve already seen Jesus saying “If you continue to follow My logos message, you are really My disciples and you will experientially, relationally ginosko know The Truth, and The Truth will set you free” and that this refers to “the Son who sets you free indeed.” In John 6:60, after saying that His followers would need to “eat his flesh” and “drink his blood” to have life, “Then many of His disciples, when they heard these things, said, ‘This is a difficult logos message! Who can understand it?’” In John 5:37-40 Jesus lays into the religious leaders: “And the Father who sent Me has Himself testified about Me. You people have never heard His Voice nor seen His form at any time, nor do you have His logos message residing in you, because you do not have trusting-relying-faith in the One whom He sent. You search/study the graphe scriptures thoroughly because you suppose in them you may take hold of eternal zoe genuine-life, and/but it is these same scriptures that testify about Me, but you are not willing to come to Me so that you may have zoe genuine-life.” Yike, this sounds like so many Christians with their bibles!
In John 5:24, Jesus promises: “I tell you the solemn truth, the one who hears My logos message and/coupled has trusting-relying-faith in the One who sent Me has eternal zoe genuine-life and/coupled will not be condemned, but has crossed over from death to zoe genuine-life.” In John 4:41, John says “and because of Christ’s logos message many more had trusting-relying-faith.” And finally, John starts his book about a declaration of who Jesus Christ in John 1:1- 2, 14: “In the beginning was the Logos Message, and the Logos Message was with God, and the Logos Message was God. . . . 14Now the Logos Message became flesh and took up residence among us. We saw His glory – the glory of the One and only, full/complete/perfect of unconditional-favor-of-grace and truth, who came from the Father.”
It is clear that when Jesus speaks of logos message, He speaks about Himself, The Logos Message of the Father, the Son who perfectly communicates absolutely The Truth of the Father to mankind, and that “even as the Father has sent Me, I am sending you (apostles)” (a), “proclaiming the gospel message . . . so that whoever has trusting-relying-faith and is water-baptized will be saved” (b), “that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed” (c), “making disciples, water-baptizing them” and “teaching them to observe (d) all that I have entole commanded you” (e). <Notes> a) John 20:21, b) Mark 16:15-16, c) Luke 24:47, d) guard watchfully or carefully, e) Matthew 28:19.
In summary, the meaning of “ongoingly sanctify them in/with The Truth; the Logos Message, the of You, [singular] Truth ongoingly is” clearly isn’t referring to the bible! It’s not the bible that sets us apart for God’s special use! It’s not the bible that cleanses us from our defiled, dirty flesh! It’s not the bible that makes us holy vessels for God! It’s not even the gramma written “letters” of the bible that can do this, and certainly not the OT Law of commandments that actually makes “sin come alive” and to “increase the trespass” so that “sin increased” (a), making the “letter kill” (b)! It’s not even the gramma “letters” of the NT writers as they attempt to explain the gospel of Jesus Christ, give a history of the early Church, or try to answer a myriad of problems that arose in that early Church. No! There has never been more “New scripture!” <Notes> a) Romans 5:20, 7:9, b) 2 Corinthians 3:6.
The only thing that will “sanctify” us for God is not a thing at all! It’s not a Holy Bible, despite the attempts of so many clergymen to say so! Repeating a lie doesn’t make it any more true! It’s the living person of Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit living on the inside of us! It’s the Father’s communication living through His Son Jesus, “the whole truth and nothing but the truth” about God, who exists eternally, now living in us by the Holy Spirit of the Father and the Son, the very nature and dynamite-like dunamis enabling-power of God forever living on the inside of the Christian, who by steadfast trusting-relying-faith has turned from their old thinking and ways to remain a disciple of Christ, to lambano grab a hold of and never let go of the Father’s free grace-gift of forgiveness of sins offered by Christ’s death for them, welcoming His righteousness for their unrighteousness – “the one act of righteousness that leads to righteousness and zoe genuine-life for all men” (a), the “propitiation” or atoning sacrifice of Christ by His blood (b) – see Surrender Control. <Notes> a) Romans 5:18, b) Romans 3:25; Hebrews 2:17; 1 John 2:2, 4:10.
Lord, thank You for being The Truth that has made us sanctified, holy, and godly by Your perfect blood when we received You by trusting-relying-faith when we repented and confessed “Jesus is Lord” at our water-baptism. And thank You for being The Truth who will always make us sanctified, holy, and godly by the enabling-power of Your Holy Spirit during the rest of our lives here and who will finish the work when we see You and You redeem and glorify our bodies – our “blessed hope.” Thank You that “we are Your workmanship” and it “is You who works in us, both to will and to work for Your good pleasure.”