Continuing the prayer of Jesus, He asked God to sanctify them (referring to His disciples), through God's Word of truth, saying they are not of this world. Was Jesus speaking of believers today as well?
now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come
to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast
given me, that they may be one, as we are.
12. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.
13. And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.
14. I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
15. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
16. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
17. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
John 17:11-17, King James Version
Notice in these verses from John 17, Jesus subtly narrows the people, of whom He is speaking, to the 12 disciples. Does that mean that these verses do not apply to us? No!
Jesus walked with the 12 disciples, and taught them the truths of God. In addition, He prayed that the Father would sanctify them. What does that mean?
The word "sanctify," means to set apart to a sacred purpose. These disciples were indeed set apart to a sacred purpose, were they not? The very Bible we use today is a marvelous testimony of that.
Just as God set apart the disciples in Jesus' time on earth, so He sets apart all believers to a sacred purpose. Unworthy though we may be, God uses the weak things of this world, that is us, to confound the wise.
Notice two other things that Jesus said. These are in the world . . . They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
There is our commission! God, indeed, did as Christ asked when Jesus said to set them apart, we realize that to do so was and is an act of God, not of ourselves. Just as we cannot save ourselves, so we cannot keep ourselves saved. Our commission then, is to live in the world, but not of the world.
I would pray, today, that we would take that commission from God seriously, and seek to live above the things of this world. God must control our loves, not the things of this world.