1 Thessalonians 5:23, 24
And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly…
I. IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD.
1. Peace. Peace is the blessed fruit of obedience. Be careful for nothing; live in prayer and thanksgiving, and the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and thoughts. But it comes from God. He is the God of peace. It is his; "My peace," the Lord Jesus says. It is God who maketh peace, who reconciles the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.
2. Holiness. Holiness is the sum of all Christian graces. All the precepts contained in the previous verses are here taken together; they meet and are summed up in holiness. But no human effort can sanctify the heart without the grace of God. Therefore the apostle is not content with exhorting the Thessalonians; he prays that God may sanctity them. May he himself (he says emphatically), "the God of peace, sanctify you wholly." He goes on to expand the last word.
II. IT MUST PERVADE THE WHOLE BEING.
1. The spirit. This is the highest part of our immaterial nature, the breath of life, inbreathed by Almighty God. It is the part receptive of Divine communications, which, in the regenerate, holds converse with God; which is the sphere of the operations of God the Holy Ghost. That man is spiritual in whom the spirit rules; he is natural (ψυχικός) in whom the soul (ψυχή) has usurped the place of the spirit. The evil spirit seeks to enslave the spirit of man; he strives to enter in and dwell in the spirit which should be God's. The peace of God is the true garrison; it guards the heart and thoughts of the faithful, leaving no ingress for the wicked one.
2. The soul. Each of the two words is sometimes used for our whole invisible nature; but, when distinguished from the spirit, the soul is the lower part of our immaterial being, which belongs in common to the whole animal creation; the seat of the appetites, desires, affections. Those men in whom the animal soul predominates are called by St. Jude "sensual, not having the spirit" (ψυχικοὶ πνεῦμα μὴ, ἔχοντες). The soul is sanctified when it submits itself to the divinely enlightened spirit, when all its appetites, feelings, longings, are controlled and regulated by the sanctified spirit.
3. The body. The Christian body is a holy thing. It should be the temple of the Holy Ghost; it should be presented unto God a living sacrifice. It is sanctified when it is ruled by the spirit, when it is kept pure from the defilements of sensual sin, when its members are made instruments of righteousness unto God. The apostle prays that the whole man, spirit, soul, and body, may be preserved in the whole sphere of its existence, so as to be without blame in the great day.
4. How is this possible? God is faithful; he will do it. He calleth us. His calling is not vain, his promises are not delusive; they are true, for he is the Truth. He will do it - all that he has promised, all that we pray for, more than we pray for, above all that we can ask or think; for his power worketh in us. He will do it. He will give us his Holy Spirit; he will sanctify us wholly if we yield ourselves to his purifying influences; he will preserve our entire being blameless at the coming of the Lord, if only we persevere - if we abide in him. This little verse has been well called "the sum of all consolation."
1. Work, but pray. Be obedient, but always look to God, and trust only in his grace; it is he that giveth holiness.
2. Pray for entire sanctification. Body, soul, and spirit - all are God's; glorify him in all.
3. Obey his calling; he will fulfill his promises. - B.C.C.
Parallel VersesKJV: And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.