1 Thessalonians 5:23-28
23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass. 25 Brethren, pray for us. 26 Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss. 27 I adjure you by the Lord to have this letter read to all the brethren. 28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
Of Paul’s letters that I have read so far, this seems to be the shortest salutation he has “signed off” with yet. I suppose if we consider the entirety of his instruction in chapter 5, then it would be longer. However, this is the part that sounds like a “goodbye.”
Verse 23 is a repeat of the message of the Gospel. It is only God who can deem us worthy through His grace, love, and mercy that we receive acceptance into His kingdom. Notice Paul doesn’t say “sanctify yourselves so that you can be without blame…” Rather, He says may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely. Honestly, I’m glad it’s not up to me, because if it was, I’ve already screwed it up! Verse 24 is a promise we can hold on to.
Verse 24 reminds us that God is faithful and steadfast. He doesn’t go back on His promises to save us. It makes us wonder, though, about those we love that aren’t saved. We forget that God works it all out in the end. Maybe God is waiting for you to say something to them so they can begin their journey. What will happen then? He also will bring it to pass. Even though we aren’t always faithful, God is…hallelujah!
Paul implores the church of Thessalonica to pray for them. I think this could have been very humbling for the Thessalonians. I mean, looking up to Paul and his men as mentors and leaders, they might think “who are we that we should pray?” However, Paul reminds us in this simple phrase that none of us are without fault or struggle. Even the most “put together” of pastors and deacons have struggles of their own. In fact, I’m sure they have even more.
The holy kiss was a symbol at that time of true friendship. I don’t think Paul here was telling them to fake it, rather to love your neighbor as your brother, a family member. It makes perfect sense since he talked about this earlier in his letter.
I adjure you by the Lord, I had to look up. Adjure means to “command or enjoin solemnly, as under oath,” the example given was in reference to God as well. Paul here is saying “I urge you in God’s name.” In other words, this letter is for God’s glory, so it should be shared with all to benefit His Kingdom through Paul’s words to be learned by the church.
I think the final verse speaks for itself. Paul’s prayer is that God’s grace be among them always and that they receive it wholeheartedly.
How would we react to this salutation? Do we feel that our salvation is through God’s grace alone? Do we believe that He will bring it to pass? Do we greet others as if they are family? Do we pray for our leaders and mentors? Do we share the Word of God with others? Do we seek out God’s grace and act accordingly every day?
Here’s an oldie but a goodie.