The Call: Be Different
Kingdom Living #2
Jesus, in His prayer in the garden of Gethsemane the night of His betrayal, prayed, “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.”(John 17:17-19) Jesus requests of His Father that the apostles be sanctified in the truth. He declared, “Your word is truth.”
Living in the kingdom requires being sanctified. This word, sanctified, is a word used only in religious settings. It has little meaning in today’s market place. But it has significant meaning in the kingdom of God. It means being different in the highest possible way at the attributes of God. Being different sets one apart from the world. Being different means you live by a different standard than the world.
Jesus made this distinction twice in His prayer. “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. (John 17:14) “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. (John 17:16) So, why would Jesus pray for these men to be sanctified when they already were sanctified?
The answer to this question leads us to the heart of what it means to live in the kingdom today! The physical presence of Christ and the loyalty of these disciples to Him set the disciples apart from the world. Please note these relational realities included in Christ’s prayer: 1. “As You sent Me” – “I also have sent them” 2. “I sanctify Myself” – “that they may be sanctified” and 3. “they are not of the world” – “as I am not of the world” Jesus was very soon to be removed from the earth physically and disciples’ relationship to Him very different. “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.” Truth rather than the personal presence will sanctify the disciples.
Truth, an unchanging standard, is the basis for God to make citizens of His kingdom different. Truth is the means by which we can know what a citizen of the kingdom is to become and also how we are to be different from the world. Truth is unchanging because its source is unchanging. God declares the sanctifying truth in His Word.
There is a contrast we need to understand at this point. “For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17) On the one hand, man adjusts his behavior to obey law. On the other, God changes the heart of man through truth. Law changes behavior while truth changes the heart.
Kingdom living is totally concerned with the reality of ones heart. The fact is, you and I can conform to all the religious rules and traditions pressing upon us and still have our hearts far away from God. Behavior may look beautiful like a manicured memorial garden while the heart remains corrupt like decaying flesh. The call to kingdom living is a call to guard your heart and allow God to transform it with the truth. A very real threat to kingdom living is one believing that behavior modification is enough and the heart remaining unchanged. ‘Kingdom Living’ will focus upon the teaching of the NT writings in regards to the reign of Christ over our hearts.