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“Sanctify them through your truth—your word is truth.” — John 17:17
When the gospel comes “not in word only, but also in power,” it comes “in the Holy Spirit,” that is, in and with the teaching and testimony of the Holy Spirit. It is this coming “in the Holy Spirit” which gives truth in its power such a sanctifying influence on the heart. But you will ask, perhaps, What is a sanctifying influence? It is the communication of holy feelings, heavenly desires, and gracious affections; in a word, it is the breathing into the soul of that sweet spirituality of mind which is life and peace.
If we are among the people of God, he chose us in Christ “before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.” If he chastens us in this time-state, it is “for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness” (Heb. 12:10). It is this holiness of heart, this heavenly-mindedness which I mean when I speak of the sanctifying influence of truth in its power.
Now did truth ever come into your soul with any measure of this sanctifying influence? Did you ever long to get away from the chapel, go home to your room, fall upon your knees, and have blessed fellowship with the Father and his Son Jesus Christ? And were you ever so favored when you did get home? Or sometimes when alone, in reading, or meditation, or secret prayer, did the word of God ever come into your soul with that sweet unction, savor, and dew that it seemed to make the very room in which you were holy ground? I remember when God was pleased to reveal his dear Son to my soul in my sick room many years ago, I was afraid almost to go out of my room lest I should lose the sweet, holy feelings and blessed spirituality of mind which I then and there enjoyed. Depend upon it, there is a holiness of heart and affection, an inward holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord; and depend upon it, whenever truth comes into a believer’s soul, it comes with that sanctifying influence, which not only gives him a fitness for, but is a blessed foretaste of the inheritance of the saints in light.