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. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. Brethren, pray for us. Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss. I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-28
One thing I love reading in the Epistles of Paul are the closing statements, or what we may refer to as the benediction or blessing. Often if I’m preaching at a Church, I like to use one of his benedictions for the closing of a service. And while we might usually, skip over the final closing of a letter from Paul, there is still some useful teachings in his statements.
First Paul says “The God of Peace”, now this is an interesting statement, as you could say Paul is referring to Jesus as God here. Let’s remember one of Chist’s titles is “the Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6) and Paul also taught the “Peace of God” can only be obtained through Jesus Christ (Philippians 4:7) So we could probably assume, Paul is addressing Christ’s deity in the opening of his benediction.
Secondly Paul says “Sanctify you wholly or completely” . We talked previously about Paul’s in depth teachings on sanctification. Paul here seems to indicate, sanctification is expected for Christians. Again, this is only possible by the Holy Spirit and becoming Born Again in Jesus Christ (John 3:3) The Lord said “We will be known by our fruits” (Matthew 7) The Church will be known by its sanctification in the Holy Spirit
Paul makes another interesting theological statement here “your soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” Many Christians accept the teaching of “soul-sleep”, however here Paul makes it very clear we have a soul and a body. Just as Jesus said “Fear the one who can destroy both body and soul into Hell” (Matthew 10:28) Christ also indicates , we have a body and soul
Lastly, Paul orders that this letter be read to “all the holy brethren” These letters are not just for the Church of Thessalonica, these letters all for all Christians. We here many arguments by liberal theologians, certain epistles are only for certain Christians, this is not Biblical. As Paul says “ All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,” (2 Timothy 3:16) The Bible is for everyone, not just a specific group of people.
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you! Amen!