May God himself, 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 Thess. 5:23-24 (NIV)
Holy and loving Father, portions of your Word, like this one, make us weep and dance, simultaneously. We feel like weeping over the years spent in gospel-ignorance—grateful that you brought us to a saving knowledge of Jesus; but for too long, we’ve lived as strangers to the ways and means of grace. Many of us have suffered much under the hands of do-it-yourself theologies, pragmatic remedies, and Christ-lite formulas.
This one passage, alone, tells us that you’re the God who called us to life in Jesus, who’s transforming us to be like Jesus, who’ll keep us blameless for Jesus. Little wonder you’re called “the God of peace,” for nowhere else can such peace and assurance be found. It’s staggering, and so very encouraging: We’re called and calmed, cherished and changing … all by grace, all the time, all for you.
Father, how did we miss the real “goodness” of the good news of the gospel for so long? Why were we such easy targets for performance-based spirituality? Why weren’t we able to recognize the “gospel-less gospel” sooner? We lament the years spent in seeing Jesus more as our model to follow, than our substitute to trust. Indeed, Jesus must be our portion before he’s our pattern.
Why did we ever think we could “make Jesus Lord” of anything, when he’s already Lord of all things? It’s not our dedication to him, but Jesus’ dedication to us, that’s the point—not our grasp of him, but his grasp of us. Hallelujah!
Father, thank you, a gazillion times over, for showing us more of Jesus and for revealing more of the riches of the gospel. As we seek to make more of Jesus, we trust you to make us more like Jesus. As Paul stated in this passage, you are faithful, and you will do it. So very Amen, we pray in Jesus’ triumphant and tender name.