Prayer for Sanctification
“Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
Paul has spent much of his letter commending the Thessalonians and then telling them the things they should be doing to live the Christian life. This is his final prayer for them in the letter. In this prayer he is letting them know they can’t do it alone. He doesn’t just want them to be good, he wants them to be sanctified. I looked up sanctify to get its meaning. It means to be set apart, holy. Paul doesn’t want the Thessalonians to just be good or to go through the motions of the Christian life, He wants them to be holy, to be set apart. He also is recognizing that this is the work of God himself. It’s not something they can achieve on their own and its not something we can achieve on our own either.
This Christian walk is not just about being good, or not doing bad things. We can never be good enough on our own to be sanctified. But by the same token, we will never be so bad that we cannot be sanctified by God. There is nothing in our past that is so bad that Jesus blood cannot cover. There is nothing in my past that Jesus has not forgiven. And believe me, I have some things that the enemy has sure tried to tell me God would never forgive. There is nothing in your past that Jesus blood cannot forgive either. And when the God of peace sanctifies us, he does it completely, and that is the only way to reconcile your past to gain peace. It’s not something you or I can do, we can’t work hard enough, we can’t study enough, we can’t read enough bible or be “good” enough, only God can do the sanctification work in us and bring us peace to reconcile our past, our present and our future.
That’s the next step of this sanctification, when we are sanctified by the God of peace himself, then our whole spirit, soul and body can be kept blameless until the coming of our Lord. The God of peace is the only one who can reconcile our past and walking with Him and living in the sanctification that He has already done in our hearts is what will keep us blameless until Jesus return. We will not live sinless lives, that is impossible. But when we are set apart by God, we will never be able to remain in sin. Sin will not be a comfortable place for us anymore. We will not have peace when we sin if we have been sanctified through Him.
And the last part of this prayer is just the reassurance. “He who calls you is faithful, he will surely do it.” All we have to do is accept it. I think, or at least I know I have in my past felt I had to work so hard for this Christian life. When really, Jesus has already done the work. I just have to accept what He has freely given already. And then to live to my calling, to live in the sanctification that He has done.
Do you know someone or, maybe you yourself have had a hard time reconciling sin in your life with the present. This is a great prayer to pray for that person. The one who is tormented by memories, or having a hard time shedding the guilt and shame of a lifestyle. Pray for them to be set apart, to be sanctified completely! When you are sanctified completely there will be peace and you will be kept blameless until the day of Jesus return. He is faithful to complete the work in me, He is faithful to complete the work in you or in anyone you are praying for.
He will surely do it!