Monday, July 16, 2018

God Sanctifies Us! - I Thessalonians 5:23, 24

Sanctification is a big word that describes the mighty work God does in our lives after we have come into His Kingdom. We know our sanctification is part of our Lord’s will for our lives because our Lord requested our heavenly Father sanctify everyone who comes to faith in Him. In Jesus’ “High Priestly Prayer” He interceded in this way: “Sanctify them in the truth: your word is truth.” (John l17:17) I will share three truths about our sanctification in this column.

Our sanctification reflects God’s character. Paul writes, “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (I Thessalonians 5:23) The writer who comments on this Scripture in The ESL Study Bible says, ‘God initiated the reconciliation of Christians with himself and is now at peace with them.” Our Lord wants us to be at peace with Him and others and to enjoy inner peace. Such peace is something only God can provide; our fallen world has absolutely no way to provide it.

Our sanctification also reflects God’s faithfulness. Paul writes, “He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” (I Thessalonians 5:24) Since our Lord is faithful to accomplish all of His promises our sanctification is secure with Him. Praise God that we can rely on God’s faithfulness; if we had to sanctify ourselves we would utterly fail.

Our sanctification is wholly God’s work. Jesus speaks of God the Father’s standard for perfection in these words: “You therefore must be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48) Paul understood how widely he missed that standard. He writes, “Not that I have already attained this or that I am already perfect but I press on to make it my own because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” (Philippians 3:13) Since Paul understood how far short of perfection dare we hope to be any closer in our own strength? Certainly not!

Jude describes the work of God the Father in our sanctification. He writes, “To those he called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ” (Jude 1) Matthew Henry writes, “Our corruption and pollution are from ourselves, but our sanctification and renovation are from God and his grace.” In addressing the church in Corinth Paul says he is writing “to those sanctified in Christ Jesus.” (I Corinthians 1:2) There is no sanctification apart from Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection from the grave. We also rely on the sanctification of the Holy Spirit. Peter describes his readers (“elect exiles of the Dispersion”) as being “in the sanctification of the spirit.” (I Peter l:2) Matthew Henry writes, ‘The purpose of calling or converting men is to bring them to glory and virtue.” When our Lord brings people to glory and virtue He brings glory to God the Father. He and the Holy Spirit are also glorified because they, too, are involved in our salvation and our sanctification.

Praise God the Father that in His love He sent Jesus to die on the cross to become our Savior. Praise Jesus that He was obedient to the Father, even to death on the cross. Praise the Holy Spirit for showing us our need of Jesus Christ. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit for their further works of grace to accomplish our sanctification.

David Oldfather

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