Journal – May 2, 2021
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.
BLESSING AND ADMONITION
1 THESSALONIANS 5:23-28.
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it. 25Brethern, pray for us. 26Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss. 27I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read to all the holy brethren. 28The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
Vs. 23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. After listing several elements of sanctification to the Thessalonians in previous verses, Paul now prays Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely. Godis first the God of peace, before He is the God of sanctification. Without sanctification there is no peace. Man can do nothing without God enabling him, think of the fact that God has thoughts of peace towards fallen man. He desires to bring about in man that which is good, and that they learn how to stay away from all the evil that is prevalent about them. Now peace with God is only accomplished by Christ’s work in establishing a perfect righteousness, He alone was without Adam’s sin nature, therefore He was able to pay their sin debt on the cross, dying and being raised to life for their justification. When the Holy Spirit applies the work of Christ to a man, he has the new birth and is ready that Paul’s prayer that God the Holy Spirit will sanctify them completely. By being sanctified completely the Thessalonians will be strengthened to begin performing those duties that had been set before them. Himself and none other can be so appealed to or answer such a request. Peace is that mental calm, the war is ended, the results come from divine acceptance and growing into the divine image which is worked in us and sustained by the Holy Spirit. The apostle follows his exhortations with prayer to God, knowing the weakness and impotency of the saints to receive them, and act according to them, and his own insufficiency to impress their minds with them; and that unless the Lord opens their ears to discipline, and seals instruction to them all would be useless and in vain. The purpose of the apostle’s instructions was for this end, may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Now the Thessalonians had experienced the gospel coming to them in power and had worked effectually in them. They had experienced many problems regarding the Second Coming, so Paul is led to pray their soul and body be preserved blameless at the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is something lacking in the faith of the greatest believer, they have been turned from idols to serve the living God. They had true faith, hope and love planted within them and which they were enabled to exercise in a very commendable manner. Yet this work of grace and sanctification begun within them is not complete, our love will often grow cold, and hope is not active at all times. Knowledge is but in part, sin still dwells in Christians, we are not complete or perfect. The new birth has made their sanctification in Christ perfect, but not in themselves. The saints are still poor and needy and need to repent of their sin and failures. The good news is that when we depart this mortal life we will be exactly like Christ. The most holy saint must confess his sin and pray for forgiveness through the Lord Jesus Christ. God has begun this good work and will finish it.
Vs. 24 He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it. The faithfulness of God means He will carry out every purpose which He has formed and fulfill every promise which He has made, He who calls you is faithful. We see that calling is God’s work, man cannot call himself out of the spiritual death he received from Adam’s sin when he was born. When man is quickened into spiritual life by the Holy Spirit calling him out of darkness, by the new birth he sees and begins to enjoy God’s marvelous light. God’s peace implies—perfect perfection– He will fulfil; because as He calls so also will He perform He who calls also will do it. There is no doubt about it.
Vs. 25 Brethren, pray for us. This same request is made in other epistles. Paul is not forgetting Silas and Timothy, he mentioned them in the opening verse of this book, as he comes to the conclusion, he mentions them again so they will be remembered. He wants prayer on behalf of his apostolic calling because he knows his own mortality Brethren pray for us. After Paul has prayed many times for the Thessalonian Church, the brethren, he feels the liberty to ask for their prayers in his ministry.
Vs. 26 Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss. If Paul had written greet one another with a holy kiss, it might be interpreted as addressed to the church. But it is given to one class, and they are charged to greet all the brethren with a holy kiss, the class being addressed probably being those that was over them in the Lord. In many passages from the Old Testament, near relations of both sexeskissed one another, as parents and children and members of the same household, but also persons unrelated, in token of friendship. The Christian kiss here mentioned was continued in the early church. It was apparently observed at first without distinction of sex, as this verse would imply. The Apostolical Constitutions state—“Then that is, at the end of the service, “let the men give the men, and the women the women, the Lord’s kiss but let no one do it in deceit as Judas betrayed the Lord with a kiss.” Again, at the end of a form of prayer for the faithful, “let the deacons say to all, Salute ye one another with a holy kiss.” Justin the martyr records, that after the administration of baptism and the prayers accompanying it, “we salute one another with a holy kiss.” The kiss was given before the distribution of the elements at the Lord’s Supper, it was also given to the bishop and to the presbyter on their consecration. Clement of Alexandria gives it the epithet artificial as to the shamelessness of those who do nothing but make the churches resound with kissing, not having love within. “We dispense the affections of the soul by a chaste and closed mouth.” In addition, if anyone kiss a second time because it has given him pleasure, he sins. It fell into disuse about the thirteenth century and a relic or picture was handed round the congregation, that each one might kiss it.
Vs. 27 I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read to all the holy brethren, at a public assembly in Thessalonica where all the holy brethren were assembled Paul charged them by the Lord that this epistle was to be read in the same way as the Old Testament was read in the synagogue. The language is very strong and is not found anywhere else in Paul’s writings. All that we have a warrant to say is that the apostle felt that the contents of the letter were so important, so suited to the spiritual needs of the assembly, that he wanted every member of the church to hear it read and are under a solemn oath to secure this result. For the letter touched on their first reception of the gospel and its blessed fruits; on the trials which they had encountered, and his own earnest desire and frustrated efforts to revisit them; on his disinterestedness when he labored among them, and the joy which he had in their progress; on the fullness of comfort set apart for those distracted by sorrow and anxiety about the relation of the dead to the Second Advent—that comfort edged with a word of warning to those whose minds had become unsettled, and who by their indolence, were bringing discredit on the new religion. The entire epistle—so simple, and somewhat historical—was the natural disclosure of his heart toward them. It may be the prospect of writing letters to other churches, he exhorted the reading of this first one written by him. They might not know how they were to deal with it, or when, how far, or to whom, to make known its contents. He therefore solves all such difficulties, and at ones requests them to read it publicly to the assembled church.
Vs 28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. The ordinary benediction at the close of the epistles are always somewhat similar. At the beginning and end of the epistles Paul desires grace for the readers, the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. This implies not only that Jesus Christ is alive, but that He is Divine. No one would venture to wish for his readers the grace of any mere man. Amen—So be it.
DIFFICULTY IN PRAYER
True prayer is very hard work. We must say “true prayer,” because often times the words may be mouthed, but the heart and mind are not adequately engaged in “transacting serious business with heaven.” There are three issues concerning prayer which ought to cause us very serious consideration: first, prayer is the epitome of faith. It is perhaps, the greatest act of faith in our present Christian experience, and it is to be our daily exercise!
Second, our Lord Jesus Christ experienced His greatest hour of agony in the Garden of Gethsemane while engaged in prayer. There He cried out to His Father and submitted fully to the Father’s will as He prepared for the imputation of our sins. His holy, sinless soul shrank from the awfulness of that reality. What a time of agony, which drew forth the bloody sweat of the Son of God from His pores and clotted into His garments, mixed with the dirt of the ground! Yet afterward He was calm and submissive unto death. What a lesson in prayer for us, even in our finite state!
Finally, we must consider that, with regard to prayer, we need and have two intercessors, the Holy Spirit within us (Romans 8:26-27) and the Lord Jesus Christ in heaven (Hebrews 7:25; 9:24; 1 John 2:1). Such considerations should encourage us to see the reality of prayer, to pray, and to persevere in prayer.
Catechism Question 62
Q. Which is the fourth commandment?
A. The fourth commandment is, “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God, in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and the earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.”