Wednesday in the Fourteenth Week of Ordinary Time

1 Thessalonians 5:23-28

May God Sanctify You Completely

We read in 4:3: “For this is the will of God, your sanctification.”  Now we read at the end of the Apostle’s letter, “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  God’s saving us, our very regeneration, is so that we may be holy and live holy lives before Him.  This is what God has always wanted for Himself: “A chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).  And the next verse is a great comfort: “He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it.”  It reminds us of what he wrote to the Philippians: “And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (1:6).  Though our regeneration is solely the work of God, our sanctification is something that, having been freed from sin, we are to have some hand in.  Yet even then, we may trust that ultimately, the Holy Spirit will have the final say.  He will be the one to carry our sanctification to completion.  So let us rest in the assurance that as long as we are willing, He is able, for no matter how weak we are, our God is and ever shall be faithful.

Far from being arrogant as some imply, Paul often implores the prayers of those to whom he writes (Romans 15:30; Ephesians 6:19; Philippians 1:19; Colossians 4:3-4; and 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2).  He of all people knew that the work he was doing would only be successful under God’s direction and blessing.  Similarly, he of all believers knew the power of prayer.  On other matters, the “holy kiss” was a manner of greeting in ancient times, akin to our handshake.  We have no injunction from Scripture that it must be part of worship in our culture, though there is certainly no restriction.  The purpose of any such greeting is to share peace with one another—to let one another know that in the body of Christ, we have been reconciled both to God and to one another and that such walls have been broken down.  As we have been forgiven, we must forgive.  Paul finally prays that “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.”  Peace results from the forgiveness of sins which is the result of God’s grace.  May God make us gracious and forgiving people upon which such blessed peace rests.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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