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. 1 Thess. 5:23-24
Holy and loving Father, it’s portions of your Word like this one that make me want to weep and dance at the same time. I feel like weeping over the years I spent in gospel-ignorance—a stranger to the ways of grace. I was certain you gave me new life in Jesus, based on his merit alone; but I was confused at best, clueless at worst, about how you actually change your sons and daughters. I suffered much under the hands of bad theologies, man-centered remedies, and Christ-less formulas.
But this one passage, alone, tells me that you’re the God who called me to life in Jesus; you are thoroughly transforming me to be like Jesus; you are keeping my whole being blameless until the Day you send Jesus back to finish making all things new—including me! The God of peace you are indeed! Where else can such peace, joy, and assurance be found?
How did I miss the really good news of the gospel transformation for so long? Why was I such an easy target for performance-based spirituality? Why wasn’t I able to recognize corruptions of the gospel sooner?
I lament the years I spent in seeing Jesus more as my perfect model than as my perfect Righteousness—a second chance, rather than the Second Adam. I would rededicate my life to Jesus at the end of every retreat, conference and searing sermon—trying to make him Lord of all things (as though he’s anything less than Lord of all things already). I would seek a second and third and ninth and seventeenth baptism in the Spirit, to get me over the “sanctification hump”, instead of savoring a life of perfect union and ongoing communion with Jesus. How did I miss so much of the gospel for so very long?
Enough of looking back in sadness; I choose to look up in gladness, for you’ve turned my mourning into dancing—my navel-gazing spirituality into gospel-centered rest. You’ve removed the sackcloth of my paltry self-righteousness and have clothed me with the spotless wedding garments of the Lamb.
With the music of a coming banquet already emanating from heaven, my prayer is simply this: Father, in keeping with the Scripture of the day, more and more, and through and through, make me like Jesus. You are faithful and you will do it. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ holy and sufficient name.