SANCTIFIED WHOLLY BY THE VERY GOD OF PEACE
“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” (1 Thessalonians 5:23).
If people were sanctified wholly [spirit, soul, and body] by the very God of peace, then there would be no need for pharmaceutical drugs.
A person would not need Prozac if sanctified by the very God of peace in his/her soul and spirit. A person would not need Imitrex or any other drug if sanctified in the body by the very God of peace. The pharmaceutical company would not be a multi-billion dollar industry today if the general population was at peace in spirit, soul, and body.
Most of us have areas in our lives in which we are not at peace. Do you feel like you are living in a war zone within your own family? Are you stressed out because of finances? I can certainly relate to having a body that is not experiencing peace because of a physical malfunction.
This God of peace is known to bruise Satan’s head [the position or place of leadership and authority] under people’s feet (Romans 16:20). The God of peace bruising Satan’s head sounds like an oxymoron. However, this bruising is not a peaceful act towards Satan but toward me and leads me toward wholeness.
Being sanctified by the very God of peace in my soul and spirit as well as in my body sounds truly wonderful to me! I received some clues from Scripture on how to see this happen in my life. There are prerequisites listed in 5:16-22.
These prerequisites to being sanctified wholly [being whole] are to rejoice evermore (5:16), pray without ceasing (5:17), in everything give thanks (5:18), quench not the Spirit (5:19), despise not prophesyings, (5:21), and abstain from all appearance of evil (5:22). After this list is presented, we read that the very God of peace [shall] sanctify you wholly. A person cannot be sanctified wholly and violate this list.
It seems to me that #4 on the list (quench not the Spirit) summarizes everything else on the list. For example, #1 on this list is to rejoice evermore. The Spirit of God inside of me will not be quenched if I am rejoicing (but will be quenched through grumbling). Rejoicing (re-joy) brings strength and wholeness. The joy of the Lord is my strength according to Nehemiah 8:10. No matter how justified grumbling may seem, it quenches the Spirit and works against wholeness. In fact, grumbling [murmuring] has lead to death in the past – the extreme opposite of wholeness. See Numbers 14:27-32 to read the story. I find it very sobering that God did to the children of Israel exactly what they had been murmuring (Numbers 14:28). They died in the desert.
The #2 thing on this list is to pray without ceasing. This is not referring to prayers of unbelief such as, “If it be Your will, please heal Aunt Martha, and if not, please help her to endure her suffering with sweetness.” According to Hebrews 11:6, a person can’t please God without faith, and this would certainly include how we pray. To not pray or to not have faith when praying quenches the Spirit because according to Romans 8:26, it is the job of the Spirit to make intercession. I think it’s possible to quench the Spirit by not praying for somebody when the Spirit wants to do a work in that person’s life and needs somebody to pray.
#3 is to give thanks in everything. This is closely related to rejoicing. We are not told to give thanks FOR everything but IN everything. We are not to be thankful for the disease but thankful for the blessings in the midst of disease. To me, it seems that thankfulness is just as much a fruit of the Spirit as peace and any other fruit mentioned in Galatians 5. To deny the Spirit from producing thankfulness would be to quench the Spirit.
#4 is to not quench the Spirit. According to John 6:63, it is the Spirit that quickeneth [gives life]. It is not too my best of interest to quench the Spirit that gives life and wholeness.
#5 is to not despise prophesying but to prove [test or examine], holding fast to that which is good [and letting go of what is not good]. Despising prophecy [or any other gift that the Spirit gives] would be quenching the Spirit.
#6 on this list is to abstain from all appearance of evil. Let’s say there is a Christian couple planning their wedding. They can save money by living in the same house together before marriage but have separate bedrooms. They need the money. They would not be having sex before marriage. However, to others it would seem they were just another couple who lightly esteem God’s boundaries regarding sex, even though this was not the case. Those who love the Lord hate evil according to Psalm 97:10. Compromising by doing something that appears evil [as to lightly esteem the Word of God] to others is not hating evil but is quenching the Spirit.
If you, beloved, are lacking wholeness in your life, I suggest you check this list and see if you are quenching the Spirit in any way. As I understand Scripture, everything we receive from God is through faith. True faith rejoices, prays in faith, is thankful, doesn’t quench the Spirit, is open to true gifts of the Spirit, and avoids getting into a situation that appears evil to others.
If you find yourself lacking when you read this list, please take this opportunity to perfect your faith. With God’s help, correct whatever it is that needs correcting. 1 Thessalonians 3:10 says, “… perfect that which is lacking in your faith.”
Beloved reader who is lacking wholeness in spirit, soul, or body: Have faith in God. He wants you wholly sanctified. He wants you to be whole.
Abba Father: I open my heart to Your sanctifying work. I want the kind of faith that will make me whole.