Sometimes you just need some bottom line assurances. You know you gotta fight the good fight . . . and you gotta run the race . . . and you need to walk in a manner that’s worthy. And by God’s grace, and with some holy determination, you enter the battle . . . you set your face on the goal . . . and, relying the on Spirit’s power, you put one foot in front of the other as you enter another day of pilgrimage. But sometimes, it’s like a cup of fresh water to be reminded that, although we’ve been called to pursue and grow in our faith, . . . that, at the end of the day, He will surely do it.
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.
(1Thessalonians 5:23-24 ESV)
You gotta know that Paul was a bit anxious concerning his children in the faith at Thessalonica. He had been able to spend only a very limited time with them. They had come to faith in the risen, saving Christ . . . and Paul had started to instruct them in the things of God and His Kingdom . . . but then opposition had forced him out of town. So, there he is . . . at a distance . . . hearing of their progress in the faith and the fruit of their salvation . . . but knowing that theirs was a hostile environment . . . and aware that some had already come in and were messing up their minds with false teaching.
And so he writes to them. Wanting to encourage them. Wanting to instruct them. Wanting them to be all in Christ that they were called to be.
And he wraps up his letter with a string of instructions concerning how they should live as God’s people. Commands to obey. Tips for fighting the fight . . . running the race . . . and walking in a manner worthy. But at the end of it all, though Paul wanted to be there to oversee their faith-fueled obedience, he commends them to the One who had actually begun the work in Thessalonica . . . and the One who promised to faithfully complete it.
It might be their obedience and effort, but it was God who would sanctify them completely. They might set their hearts wholly on being holy, but it would be the active agency of God through His Spirit who would make them holy. They might do their utmost to keep themselves from sin and the trappings of the flesh, but only through the finished work of the cross and the ever-cleansing blood of the Lamb would they stand one day before their blessed LORD blameless and without spot.
And, sometimes I just need to be reminded of that. He will surely do it.
Sure, my willful participation . . . but His wondrous work. My desire to seek the kingdom . . . His determination to set eternity within my heart. My confession of sin and failure . . . His once for all sacrifice the basis for a just God to forgive my sins . . . the blood shed that I might be cleansed from all unrighteousness.
Bottom line? It’s His work. And He who has called me is faithful. And He will surely do it.
For His glory alone . . . amen?