Living by God’s purpose
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...The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you... We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing. Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. 1 Thessalonians 5:22-2 Thessalonians 1:4 NIV
In Paul’s benediction in his letter to the churches in Thessalonica, he prays that Christians in that city will grow in their relationship with God and will endure in their faith. This is why he prays for their sanctification. He acknowledges the fact that sanctification is the work of God in the lives of believers. “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through” (1 Thess. 5:22). He explains his meaning further when he says, “May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 5:23). Previously, he explained (see 1 Thess. 4:3) the process of sanctification. God has a part in the process as well as man. To be sanctified does not mean to arrive at a status of sinlessness, but rather be built-up in such a way to be used for the purposes of God. As he closes his letter, he requested “to have this letter read to all the brothers” (1 Thess. 5:27). In the early church, it became the practice to read aloud letters written by apostles and others who were with Jesus—in other words, those letters considered to be a part of the canon of Scripture. If worship of the church in the New Testament is to be recovered, it must include the reading of significant portions of Scripture. Paul strong language uses is to emphasize and encourage such reading for this is important so that believers will have more appreciation of God’s word that will help them mature in their faith. The letter then closes in typical Pauline fashion with a benediction prayer for grace. These last words take his hearers to the very heart of the Christian gospel, the saving grace of Jesus Christ. It is God’s saving grace that will sustain us in living the Christian life.