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 Thess. 5:23-24
Dear heavenly Father, as I continue to meditate and pray my way through Lent, it’s portions of your Word like this one that make me want to weep and dance at the same time. I feel like weeping over the years I spent in gospel-ignorance—a stranger to the ways of grace. I suffered much under the hands of bad theologies, man-centered remedies, and Christ-less formulas, for maturing as a believer.
But this one passage, alone, affirms that you didn’t just justify us, you’re also the One who’s sanctifying us. You called us to life in Jesus; you’re thoroughly transforming us to be like Jesus; and you’re keeping our whole being blameless, until the Day you send Jesus back to finish making all things new. No wonder Paul calls you the “God of peace.” Where else can such peace, joy, and assurance be found?
How did I miss the really good news of the gospel for so long? Why was I such an easy target for performance-based spirituality? Why wasn’t I able to recognize corruptions of the gospel sooner?
I lament the years I spent in seeing Jesus more as my perfect model than as my perfect Righteousness; rededicating my life to Jesus, over and over; earnestly trying to make Jesus “Lord of all things” (as though he’s not Lord until I consent); holding out for a second and third and ninth and seventeenth baptism in the Spirit; all of this instead of savoring a life of union and communion with Jesus. How did I miss so much of the gospel for so very long?
Enough of looking back in sadness, I choose to look up in gladness, for you’ve turned my mourning into dancing, Father. You’ve removed the sackcloth of my self-righteousness, having clothed me with the perfect righteousness of Jesus.
With the music of our great Wedding Day (Rev. 19) emanating from heaven, my prayer is simply this, dear Father, more and more, and through and through, make me like Jesus. You are faithful and you will do it. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ triumphant and loving name.