“15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” John 17:15-17 ESV
The Lord Jesus Christ, after his death on the cross and his magnificent resurrection, left the world to be with His Father. His work on earth was done. He had atoned for man’s sin, lived by example and left his steps that any believing individual may follow. At that point, His disciples were extremely saddened by his departure, but his words in His prayer for all His disciples resounded with Grace. “…keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world. Sanctify them…”
Since I gave my life to Jesus, when I put away all garments of religion and chose to face my faith, I go through many trying times. For my walk, I reckon it could be much easier if he was still on earth today; guiding my steps and leading me. I could sit at His feet, listen and get all the saving wisdom I could ever need. It would be much easier for me to get inspiration from someone I see with my own two eyes, and He would always be there to carry me lest I fall back. The advantage I could get from all that…
But after completing His mission, He knew he had to go. Now he holds another one of pleading for us with the Father constantly for our sin. He left the world to see among many, who will be counted faithful. Faithful to kindness, love, generosity, peace and all the other fruits of the Spirit. Faithful to His commands, in baptism, love and Remembrance. Faithful to the worthy walk mentioned in Ephesians 4. Faithful to His name in the face of persecution. Faithful to the Faith.
Perhaps one would say, “Today’s world is so tempting that it is impossible to live in it without being swayed.” I wholly agree. I have had low moments where the world just wanted to grab a hold of me! But we are “not of the world, though we may be in it.” That is a beautiful consolation from the mouth of the Lord Jesus Himself! And we go on to get a promise of sanctification through the Word (That’s why it is important to spare some time for a Bible reading each day, even when your brain isn’t up to it.). Sanctification surely won’t be like a spontaneous combustion, it is progressive. In the Word, we get acquainted with truth, we see the Lord Jesus living His life and giving an example of what we should strive for each day.
And all this, the temptation, the trials and the testing. The hot-fire challenges we just don’t see ourselves ever passing. The pain we may have to go through just because of this world and its people. The embarrassment of suffering stereotypes at the hands of an infidel. All this, is for the Lord to know who among all who profess to be His believers could be counted faithful.
So beloved, it was never really about going to church every Sunday, singing hymns with a passion, getting your church uniform on or about keeping the Sabbath. Neither was it about eating or not eating meat sacrificed for idols or pleasing onlookers with a ‘Holier than thou’ lifestyle. And it never will be. It runs deeper than that. What is important is whether, in your daily walk and all that you are about, reflected in your every action, you chased being faithful, to Him.