The Whole Thing?

Day 290

Prayer for the day

Send out your light and your truth, that they may lead me, and bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling.

Scripture for the day

Isaiah 50-52, 1 Thessalonians 5

“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

It’s often easy for us to forget that the work of God is not simply the work of the soul or the spirit. God is interested in more than our spirit. God is interested, vitally and desperately interested, in the entirety of us. God cares not only for the spiritual, but for the physical as well. It is not simply enough to believe with the spirit; we are called to holistic worship, and holistic holiness.

When Paul prays for the Christians in Thessalonica, he doesn’t pray that God would save their souls. He doesn’t pray that God would save their bodies. He prays that God would sanctify them “through and through,” body, soul, and spirit, so that each would be kept blameless until the coming of Jesus Christ.

His hope is that the Thessalonians would be sanctified in their entirety so that they would be presented wholly holy to God!

This hope is the same as that of the prophet Isaiah. He continually struggles with the people to have them sanctified entirely, down to the way they use their money. He prays that they would worship God and not idols, that they would turn wholly back to their God and away from their sickness and despair, away from the pain they cause themselves through idolatry and disobedience.

Both Testaments are clear that both obedience and disobedience are embodied states: we cannot separate the spirit from the body and hope to save the one and destroy the other. We are whole people and God desires his whole people to be holy.

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