The Truthfulness of God, Discovering the Will of God.
“Sanctify them in your truth; Your word is truth”
One of the greatest challenges we face in dealing with adversity is struggling to find answers. When we are facing struggles, we often find our self-reliance being stripped away as we strive to make sense of the events pressing in about us. We wrestle to know what God is doing, why he is allowing these events to happen and what his purpose is. We struggle to know his will when we do not even know what the next day will hold. How can we know God’s will when we don’t have any answers in life?
In John 17:13-26, Christ prays for you and me, that we will discover insight into God’s will for us, especially in times when questions are overwhelming, and answers are illusive. At the heart of Christ’s prayer, and the defining purpose he has for all his disciples, is found in verse 17: that God would “Sanctify us in the truth; Your word is truth.” This purpose of sanctification stands at the heart of God’s redemptive plan. While justification is the act of God in which he declares us judicially free from the guilt of sin, sanctification is the work of God in which he progressively conforms us to the image of Christ. For the writers of the New Testament, this is the foundation upon which the whole Christian life, and God’s activity within our life, is built. It is this process by which we are changed from conforming to the world to conforming to the character of Christ. It is the life of faith lived out in daily life (see Romans 12:1,2; Gal 2:20; 2 Corinthians 5:17).
In Christ’s prayer he points the way for how this is achieved. It is accomplished through the knowledge and application of the truth of God’s word. God is a God of truth who requires us conform to his standard. This standard is revealed in his word. But the truth of God is not static, impersonal facts that we intellectually give our assent. It is not like a scientist who affirms certain facts governing the laws of creation but goes home unchanged by his discovery. Instead, the truth of God is dynamic, living and life changing. To know the truth of God is to be transformed by his truth. Conforming to Christ only comes when we are changed by his word. This is why the study of scripture is foundational for being a disciple and follower of Christ. Any attempt to follow Christ apart from the truth of God’s word will ultimately end in the very opposite—conformity to the world.
As we are going through the struggles of life, we cannot always answer the immediate question of why, nor are we able to answer the questions of what we are to immediately do. But we can always know the answer to the question regarding God’s intended purpose and outcome. His purpose in all things is to conform us to his image by using the questions and uncertainty of our experiences to remind us to continually seek the truth of God’s word. When going though tribulation, the most important step is not finding the right answers but asking the right questions. The most important question, the one question that should send us back to the Truth of God’s word is the question, “How can I reveal Christ through my life and present crisis?” That is the question I challenge you to ask today.