The Process of Sanctification (1 Thessalonians 5:23–24) - Radical

The Process of Sanctification (1 Thessalonians 5:23–24)

“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

This is one of the great benedictions that we read in the end of various letters in the New Testament. Just think about these words, “May the God of peace himself,” I could meditate just on that phrase like so many of you who are listening right now, who are walking through some difficult things, some trials, some turbulence, and you need the God of peace Himself. And He is. He is the God of peace. So may He sanctify you completely. What does that mean to sanctify us? Well, the verse goes on to say, “May your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ.”

1 Thessalonians 5:23–24 Describes Sanctification

That’s quite a description of sanctification. Sanctification is this process, and Paul’s already used this word in 1 Thessalonians to describe becoming holy, becoming more and more like Jesus. Becoming more and more whom God has created us to be and saved us to be, saved from sin to walk in righteousness, to experience the life of Christ, life to the full abundance. “May the God of peace himself sanctify you completely,” purge you from sin, draw you into holiness. “May your whole spirit and soul and body,” every part of you, “be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ.” That’s been a major theme throughout I Thessalonians, the coming of Jesus. And as we look forward to His coming, don’t we all want to be blameless? Don’t we want to be walking in holiness? Don’t we want to be like Him?

Earlier in 1 Thessalonians 5:23–24, we read that “The day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.” It could be today. Jesus could come back today. Don’t you want to be blameless walking with Him, conformed into His image. And 1 Thessalonians 23–24 says, “He who calls you is faithful. He will surely do it.” God is faithful to do this work in our lives as we look to Him, and we trust in Him, and we surrender to Him, and we abide in Him. God will do all these things surely in our lives. He will make us blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus, as we trust in Him and follow Him.

Led to Live with Anticipation

So, God, we pray, do it. Do it in each of our lives. God, we pray that today you would make each of us look more like Jesus. Sanctify us completely, God, our thoughts, our desires, our words, our deeds, our everything, our motives, every part of who we are. God make us more like Jesus, we pray. Even as we walk through trials, as we mentioned earlier, and challenges in this life, God work these things together for our good, which we know Romans 8:28,29,30 is talking about us being conformed into your image. Lord Jesus, do it, we pray. Make us more like you. We want to know you more. We want to trust you more and we want to worship you more. Oh God, oh God of peace, sanctify us completely. May our spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at your coming.

Lord Jesus, come quickly. We pray that today would be the day. Help us to live with anticipation that today could be the day. And if it is, God, help us to be found blameless. We ask you to do these things based upon your faithfulness to your word, by the power of your spirit, who dwells in us. Oh, faithful, God of peace, do it, we pray. We pray that when we lay our head on our pillow tonight or wake up the next morning that we would look more like Jesus, that we would be more sanctified than we are right now. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

David Platt

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


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