The God of peace, sanctify you through and through.
May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our
Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.
1 Thes. 5:23–24
I like those old Bible words. ‘Sanctify’, I just like the sound of that. This word, which isn’t used much anymore, is chock full of meaning and life. It means set apart and implies set apart for a purpose or a person. It also has the sense of holiness and purity; all of this meaning in one word, I love it. It also implies that this work of holiness can’t be accomplished by us. This is the work of God in His sons and daughters. What is our part? Simply yielding. He does all the rest. That brings us back to today’s verse, ‘the God of Peace, sanctify you through and through’. We are at peace because it is this awesome God working in us, He is sure to complete His work. Here are some thoughts from Billy Graham on today’s verse.
“The God of peace. What inexhaustible meaning is locked up in these words! God gives us the assurance that He Himself will do the work. He will sanctify us completely. Our entire spirit and soul and even our body are to be preserved without blame at the coming of our Lord. This promise is so great it appears incredible. Paul himself senses this and adds the words, “The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.” That leaves no room for doubt, but calls us to a place of confidence in the faithfulness of God. The Trinity accomplishes this work. God the Father says, “Be holy, because I am the LORD. I am the LORD, who makes you holy”. The Son prayed, “For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified”. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of sanctification, and it is He who facilitates our sanctification. The thrice-holy God accomplishes the great work of sanctification through His continual indwelling and fellowship, breathing His life into us.”
So sanctify is not a scary word reeking of condemnation. It is a word filled with joy and saturated with peace. I am sanctified, set apart, to be with Him. This intimacy that is connected to the word ‘sanctify’ is the place of joy unspeakable. It is also the place all of our hearts are longing for. So go ahead Lord, sanctify your people so you will be glorified and we will be happified.