‘Under renovation’ may be an acceptable sign for some projects, but for my life I need a ‘Major Makeover.’ How about you? What kind of core character changes need to take place in your life as you pursue holiness and the God who has created and redeemed you?
I’m writing to Christians, to Christ-followers, who like the Thesslonian believers to whom Paul wrote, desire a deep work of God in their lives. As Paul nears the end of his first letter to this group, he offers a prayer, a declared benediction over the spirits, souls and bodies of these dear friends in Christ. God is committed to them. He sent Christ to die for them and has granted the Spirit to indwell them. God continues His work projects until they are as completed as He plans. After all, we are His workmanship…. (Ephesians 2:10) having been saved by His matchless grace.
So how does Paul pray?
“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and He will do it.” (1 Thess. 5:23,24)
Paul knows his own heart. I’ve recently preached through Paul’s testimony from I Timothy 1:12-20 under the headings ‘Sinner, Saviour, Servant, Shipwreck?’ Paul, the chief of SINNERS had encountered the best and only SAVIOUR who had rescued him and appointed him to be a SERVANT. Now all that remained for Paul and Timothy, was to avoid SHIPWRECK by holding on to faith and a good conscience.
The work of Justification (God declaring us righteous on the basis of faith in Jesus Christ) is followed by Sanctification (God working in us to make us progressively righteous and we learn to obey Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour.)
Some observations —
- This is a work of God. ‘God himself’ can and will bring about this process of holiness.
- This is a complete work. Paul speaks of be sanctified ‘through and through,’ of their ‘whole spirit, soul and body’ being ‘kept blameless.’ (I think John Wesley may have used this text for his teaching on complete perfection, though many other passages teach the work continues throughout our lifetime and that we do not reach ‘sinless perfection.’
- This is a work that continues until we meet Jesus. The apostle John indicates (I John 3) that ‘We shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is.’ In the interim time period, the Spirit of Christ prepares us to meet Christ and applies the finished work of Christ at the cross to every aspect of our being. We must not be passive and await the change, but actively obedient as we become disciples who ‘obey everything’ Christ commanded. The Great Commission mandates teaching NOT knowledge but obedience.
- This is a work to which God is committed. He has called us. He has invited us to trust in Jesus Christ. He is faithful. He will do it.
Let’s pursue God and learn to love Him with all our heart, and all our soul and all our strength and all our might. I’m tackling the topic of ‘Spiritual Disciplines’ on my other blog, ‘Live Life! God’s Way’.
Let’s get this renovation under way!