Sunday, December 16, 2007

Monday Morning Devotions

I Thess. 5:24- "He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it."

It is God's will that we be sanctified (I Thess. 4:3). Sanctification is God's best for us while we still dwell on earth. Jesus did not die just so that our sins could be forgiven, but "in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and blameless and above reproach in His (The Father's) sight-..." (Col 1:22). Knowing what God's will is for us, we are left with the old question: Do we play a part in our own sanctification, or do we sit back and let God undertake to do all the action?

In I Thessalonians, Paul gives the Church much instruction on personal behavior. His call for us to be sanctified is in the context of living in sexual purity (I Thess 4:3-8) In chapter five, he commands all those who follow Jesus to esteem those in authority in the Church (v. 12,13), comfort the faint hearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all (v.15), always worship (v. 16-18), test those things considered spiritual (v. 19-21), abstain from all evil (v. 22). Reading these verses out of context can give us the notion that our sanctification depends entirely on own effort. Those who know themselves well might say to themselves: "If this is the case, then I will never be sanctified while I live in the flesh."

But wait! There is good news! Our sanctification is worked out by God! Paul, after giving us this list of instructions, declared this glorious pronouncement: "Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it." (v. 23,24) It is not our own efforts that bring about sanctification; it is God who sanctifies. Yet our efforts are not without meaning. Paul gives us the negative commands so that we prevent sin from interfering with the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Obedience to the positive commands allows God's grace to transform us. But all the power is from God. Paul's warning to avoid sexual impurity carries this warning: " Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit." (I Thess. 4:8) Even with this warning there is good news! We have been given God's Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, to provide the strength so that we may do what is right in God's sight and abstain from evil. It is God's strength that enables us to obey, so that God can do the work through the Holy Spirit to sanctify us. We can place our faith wholeheartedly in the one who is faithful to transform us into that which we could never do in our own strength. Praise His name forever!
(All scripture quotations are from the NKJV.)

No comments: