Sanctify Today │ Christ Assembly │ 1 Thessalonians 5:23


September 1, 2010

Building Strong Friendships in Christ

Sanctify Today

“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

 1 Thessalonians 5:23, Page 1851

       Have you ever taken time to think about your spiritual life?  How about your spiritual being?  So many people teach that we are nothing more than molecules.  So many people do not believe in a resurrection or after-life of any type.  So many people do not understand what God wants to do for them, and to bring more joy to them than they could ever know apart from the Lord Jesus.  So many people do not want the God of peace working to produce holiness in their lives.

       In 1 Thessalonians 5:23, page 1851, Paul has provided a list of commands to change your life.  As he concludes his letter to the Thessalonians, he now invokes the blessing of God upon them.  I often like to look at the particular title of God used in a particular verse.  Please recall always that every word of the Bible has been chosen by God, without errors of any kind.  Therefore, when Paul describes God as “the God of peace,” I take those words as a title of God in this passage.  In Romans 5:1, page 1764, we read that believers have been justified by faith, and therefore, they have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Without Jesus Christ, you will never know God and you will never know His peace (John 14:6, page 1684; John 14:27, page 1685).  Notice too the word “Himself”  in our passage today.  God will doing His work in your life.

        Now we turn to the work God will be doing in your life: “sanctify.”  This word sanctify (“ἁγιάσαι“) means to make holy, fit and separated for God’s use and purposes.  God seeks to work directly in your life to make you perfect before Him.  He will do the work in your life.  You turn your life over to Him by faith and He will work.  Notice here the word “entirely.”  This word entirely (“ὁλόκληρον“) means that God intends to change every part of who you are.  In Christ, the moment you believed that Jesus Christ died in your place on the cross, and you accept His gift of forgiveness, then you became a new creature in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17, page 1809).  

       Jesus teaches us about several types of sanctification in the Bible.  At least three related types of sanctification exist in the Bible.     

  1.  From the standpoint of salvation, you have been completely sanctified in Christ, because the penalty of your sins has been completely removed by the blood atonement of Jesus Christ and you no longer live under the wrath and judgment of God (Hebrews 10:10,   page  1880).

  2. From the standpoint of  daily experience, you still sin after salvation and need daily help with sin.  In that sense, God continues to sanctify you over the course of your lifetime, and to produce His holiness in you and He works to remove sinful patterns and habits from your life by His sanctifying power (1 Thessalonians 5:23, page 1851).  As a new creature in Christ, you no longer live under the slavery of sin, and you now live to righteousness.   Jesus also prays for the Father to sanctify His children in the truth of the Word of God (John 17:17, page 1690).

  3. Finally, we also sanctify Christ as Lord in our hearts, ready to make a defense of the our the hope that is within us, with gentleness and reverence (1 Peter 3:15, page 1897).

        Paul also refers to the body, soul and spirit.  Many Bible scholars have researched the question of what makes up a man.  Do we have a body? Yes, that question does not pose a problem for anyone except gnostics and docetists, who both deny the Bible and the true divinity of Jesus Christ because they both deny that Jesus had real human flesh (Hebrews 2:14, page 1871; John  1:14, page 1654).  Now we get to the harder questions.  Does the Bible show that man has only a soul (“ψυχὴ“) and spirit (“πνεῦμα“)?  Many people use this passage in 1 Thessalonians to prove that man has only body, soul and spirit.  They teach a tri-partite view of man.  In contrast, others see the Bible as teaching an immaterial part of man (spirit, soul, mind of Christ, heart, conscience, etc.) and a material part of man (body).  You may learn many things from studying passages related to who you are in Christ, but for today, I simply want to focus upon the text before us.  God wants to sanctify every part of you, for His glory and use right now and throughout eternity.

       Finally, notice that the purpose of God’s sanctifying work centers upon presenting us blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  God never agrees to let believers continue to sin.  He seeks to sanctify our lives continuously.  I take great hope and feel tremendously blessed when I ponder God’s game plan for my life.  He wants to make me blameless when Christ comes for me.  I will not have to take special self-help courses, or make my own efforts to change my life, or join some new fad or program for better living.  No, God Himself has already committed to sanctifying me so that I would be blameless before Him.  My task hinges upon obedience to His work, keeping His commandments, taking up my cross, and following Jesus everyday–all done by His power alone.

           So, we learn some more about building strong friendships in Christ.

      ●  Strong bonds of friendship form when we understand that God sanctifies our lives and every part of us in Christ.

     ●  Strong bonds of friendship grow when we encourage others to have faith in the sanctifying work of God in every part of their lives.   

       ●  We harm our bonds of friendship when resist the sanctifying work of God in our lives, and fail to recognize the progressive work of God among us.  None of us are perfect yet and without sin.  Love covers a multitude of unsanctified behavior.

Application for Today

        Today, I want to receive God’s sanctifying work in every part of my life.  Supernaturally,  I want to see it, feel it, and enjoy it.  Will you be trusting God to continue His work of sanctification today?


 Christ Assembly Basics 

Christ Assembly provides free access to various studies from the Bible, the Word of God. The studies in this website are not inspired, but God produced the Bible, consisting of sixty-nine books (39 Old Testament and 27 New Testament). The Holy Spirit inspired authors to produce original autographs of the Bible in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. Those original authors wrote over the course of many centuries. They wrote divinely inspired words and every word was divinely inspired. The authors communicated in their own styles, and with their own vocabulary, but God breathed out every word of the final autographs. The words in the Bible really matter, and deserve careful study. 
As we study, we seek to love Jesus more because His word has instructed us so that we learn His ways. Eternal life consists in knowing God the Father, and Jesus Christ Whom God sent. As the eternal God of Glory, One with His Father, the Son of God took flesh and dwelt among us. Because of His death, He used His blood to purchase our redemption. He was raised for our justification. We now live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved us and gave Himself for us. By the grace of God, the Holy Spirit abides in every born-again believer and fills us with His presence and blessings. He leads us into all truth. Jesus is the truth, and the way, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Jesus, our Lord. 
We look forward to His imminent return to the clouds of earth, to snatch away the believers alive on earth, so that we may be forever with the Lord. When He returns to the clouds, He will bring with Him all those people in Christ who died before His return to the clouds. We encourage one another with the promises of God, Who makes our path grow brighter and brighter, until the full light of day shines forth. We love Jesus and look forward to seeing Him soon. After Jesus removes the believers from the earth, then a terrible period of seven years follows where God brings measured and precise judgments upon the people alive on earth. God cut those days of  Tribulation short, or no flesh would have been saved. Jesus will then return to earth, slay His enemies, and place His feet on the Mount of Olives where He ascended to heaven. He will then reign on earth for a thousand years, and believers will reign with Him. After the Millennial Reign of Christ, all unbelievers will be judged at the Great White Throne Judgment, and they will suffer according to their deeds done on earth. They will be cast into the Lake of Fire, a place of torment night and day for eternity, because they never received the free gift of salvation while alive on earth. One day, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God. Today we invite you to come and see Jesus, and learn from Him, for He is gentle and humble in heart. Take His yoke upon you, for His burden is easy and His yoke is light. He will give you rest for your soul as you trust Him. We receive salvation only from Jesus, by faith alone in Jesus, Who gives us the free gift of eternal life. 
We accept the teaching of the Word of God. As born again believers, baptized by Jesus with the Holy Spirit, the anointing from God teaches us all things. We love to study the Word of God as we abide in Christ Jesus our Lord. God blesses all of us when we read His word, hear His word, and heed His word. We share original studies of the Word of God without cost and we do not receive donations. We support the finances of this ministry through private means, so that we are not a burden to anyone. We oppose charging people to read books, articles, journals or other studies of the Word of God. Such work should be supported by donations, but not in prescribed amounts and not as a requirement to gain access to what God has freely provided. What God has freely given, we should freely share. Just as Paul worked making tents, so we work to support this ministry. 

 Christ Assembly License

The author of all original material on this website retains all legal and equitable rights to the properties at issue. The author granted Christ Assembly a limited-use, revocable license to publish material on this website, while reserving all ownership rights to the original author. You may use any original material on this website to the glory of God, but you may not receive anything of value for such use. You may not receive any donations related to any original material on this website. All use of original material on this website is subject to the revocable, limited license above. You must conspicuously indicate on any use of the original material that it originated from  Any revocation of the license shall be posted on this website and all rights to use material may be revoked without prior notice. By copying and using any original material from this website, you consent to such license. Christ Assembly opposes any payment for access to studies, articles, journals, or other publications of studies concerning the Word of God. As God has freely given, so also the products of His grace should be freely shared.