Monday, March 2, 2009

1 Thessalonians 5:23- 28; 2 Thessalonians 3:16-18 (Conclusion)

“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

In his conclusion to both Thessalonian letters, Paul invokes God as the God or Lord of peace. God is called the God of peace in other letters as well. (Romans, Philippians, Hebrews) Peace implies harmony and unity in the people of God. (It also comes at a cost. The most common use of the words “of peace” in the Bible is in Leviticus and Numbers, where it is used to designate a sacrifice. God brings ultimate peace to the world through the death and sacrifice of His Son on the cross.)

Here Paul prays the God would grant the believers peace. He also prays that God would sanctify the believers; that they would be preserved complete: in spirit, soul and body. This is something that the believer can count on (verse 24, as well as Philippians 1:6) yet it is still something he prays for.

Too often we pray only for things we want or hope to see. There is Biblical precedent to pray for things that are guaranteed by God. (The whole of the Lord’s Prayer is asking for things that we are told elsewhere that God will do.) The point of prayer is not to ask God to change His mind about something, but rather to line our own wants and desires up with His. We know God will sanctify the believer; He promises that. When we pray for our sanctification and that God will change us to be more like Him, we are seeing that change taking place.

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