17Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.
17Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
What separates people from God and what keeps them from knowing Him on their own? The answer is found in understanding the sin that is within oneself. In this sermon on John 17:17 titled “The Doctrine of Sin,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains that believers are sanctified in the truth, and sanctified from the ugliness of sin that keeps one in a wrong relationship to God. Sin is what separates people from God. It is not intellect or a cognitive problem. Disobedience to God places a person in a wrong relationship to Him because sin is centered on self and causes the pagan to be focused on themselves and not God. The sinner is not God-centered. How does he or she know this? The law is that which exposes one’s sin and the holiness of God. Therefore, the sinner must be converted from sin. They must receive a new nature and become a new person, a new creature in Christ. But conversion is only the beginning. Through ongoing sanctification, the believer is not cleansed from sin and made like Christ. The believer must consider if they have glossed over sin and crowded it out, or have dealt with their sin through repentance and belief and continue to deal with it in their sanctification.
- The process of sanctification is maintained through God's word.
- Our troubles arise from focusing on ourselves rather than God. Salvation's purpose is knowing God.
- The second section of truth after God's doctrine is sin's doctrine. Sin separates us from God.
- We tend to neglect sin's doctrine before and after conversion. But the Bible emphasizes it throughout.
- Understanding sin's doctrine is vital to understanding sanctification. Realizing our need drives us to Christ.
- The Bible presents sin's doctrine through teaching about God's law, showing sin's exceeding sinfulness.
- The law shows God's holiness and our sinfulness. The Jews misinterpreted the law as a means of salvation through works.
- The law's purpose is showing our sinfulness and need for grace. "By the law is the knowledge of sin."
- A "law work" means facing the law to see our sinfulness. The law is our "schoolmaster" to bring us to Christ.
- The Sermon on the Mount expounds the law's spiritual nature, showing our sinfulness and need for the beatitudes.
- Epistles argue about the law and teach about the flesh, sin, and death, calling us to self-examination.
- The first way the Bible teaches about sin is distinguishing between sin (a state) and sins (actions). The emphasis is on being rather than doing.
- Sin is primarily a wrong attitude toward and relationship with God. It is not living wholly for God and His glory.
- Sin is deep in our nature, requiring rebirth and a new nature to defeat. The old nature remains, so the problem continues.
- Sin shows itself as "missing the mark" of God's righteousness and holiness. It is transgressing God's law and disobeying Him.
- Sin is "concupiscence": evil desires inflamed even by God's law. The law stirs sinful passions instead of restraining them.
- Sin acts as an opposing "law" in our members, causing us to do what we hate and not do what we love. It is a powerful governing principle.
- We must examine ourselves in light of this biblical teaching, let it humble us, and drive us to Christ for deliverance by His work alone.
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.