By Mitch Marczewski
"Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely. And may your spirit, soul, and body be kept sound and blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it." - 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
Verse 23 begins by describing God as the God of peace. He is the reconciler and the peacemaker. This is the beauty of the cross that we were rebels deserving of death for cosmic treason but Christ made peace with God through the cross. This is how God brings rest to our souls. We are saved and renewed in the cross. The understanding of the depth of our rebellion gives us the ability to see the beauty of the rest He gives. It’s a finished work as well. We don’t have to earn anything or pay any of the ransom owed; Christ took care of that debt for us. Again, this is why we should be able to rest in our salvation. We are not anxiously scrambling to
please God but we are resting in His salvation while actively repenting and being sanctified.
Paul continues on to tell us that God will sanctify us completely. Sanctification is God’s work. He initiates it (Phil 2:13; Eph 1:4); he transforms us in it (1 Corinthians 6:11); and He carries our sanctification through to completion (Philippians 1:6; Jude 24-25). We put forth effort, of course (to think otherwise would be imbalanced), but the effort is empowered by the Spirit (1 Corinthians 15). The good works that we do have been planned and chosen for us before time began. As believers we know that the investment that Christ makes in our lives is not random but rather it is intentional. Without God’s intervention in our lives, sanctification is impossible; and
sanctification is impossible without salvation. He saved us to sanctify us so that others may know the truth and so we may be presented blameless in the day of Christ Jesus.
We must engage in the rest that God gives us, however. The sanctification process is God- driven but it also requires effort on our end. We must understand the Word of God so that we know what holy living looks like. We must understand the beauty and majesty of Christ in order to reflect that holiness to the world. We must experience and learn of God’s love and mercy in Christ so we can show that same mercy to sinners and believers alike. God’s grace in our hearts and lives abounds in both our obedience and our troubles. He gives grace in repentance and gives grace in obedience. He’s with us every step of the way. Let us have faith that He will keep us to the end.