1 Thess. 5: 23-28 Spirit, Soul and Body CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
Text: 1 Thes 5:23-28. We have taught a good bit on this subject and so we are not going to simply repeat what we have already taught. Rather, we will make brief comments on the latter part of the passage and then we will offer some practical insights on the sanctification of your body, soul and spirit.
v.25 – Paul requested prayer because he needed it and he wasn’t ashamed to ask for it [Eph 6:18-20].
v.26 – the holy kiss with which we are to greet each other varies from culture to culture – in South Texas we are not unaccustomed to an appropriate hug – in Zambia the kiss is manifested by bumping elbows since there are so many communicable diseases and illnesses – in Colombia you’ll get a kiss on the cheek and in Montreal you’ll get a kiss on both cheeks – the idea is that the greeting be holy and brotherly [contrast Prov 27:6].
v.27 – Paul made sure that all the saints read this epistle.
v.28 – he commended them to the grace of God, without which you and I could not live the Christian life [Col 2:6, 2 Cor 12:7-10].
Now we will look at the sanctification of your tri-part being. You have a body, soul and spirit because you were made in the image of God [Gen 1:26]. Because of sin, your spirit in you dies before you are saved and it must be born again by the Spirit of God [Jn 3:3-7]. When you get saved, your spirit is quickened [Eph 2:1] and your body is crucified with Christ [Gal 2:20]. The Lord Jesus takes up residence in your life and desires to live his life in you, while conforming you to his image [Rom 8:29]. But this will be a struggle if you do not yield your members to his righteousness [Rom 6].
The moment you were saved, your soul was sanctified in Jesus Christ, and because of the spiritual circumcision in Col 2:11-12, your soul will remain sanctified forever. Your spirit and your body, on the other hand, need continual sanctification.
Your body is most sanctified when it is dead [Rom 6:7-13; 1 Cor 15:31] – that’s why Paul wanted to be conformable to the Lord’s death [Phil 3:10] – and he actually got to the point where he was satisfied to be dead [Gal 6:14, 17]. The ugliest time in your Christian life is when your body pretends to be spiritual – this is what caused the Lord so much grief with the Pharisees.
Your spirit gets defiled in this world and needs to be cleansed [2 Cor 7:1] – this is where godly repentance and pleading the blood of Christ are so helpful [2 Cor 7:10; Heb 9:14; 1 Jn 1:7-9]. The trouble so many Christians are having today is that they are mistaking the work of evil spirits for the work of the Holy Spirit. They think that their confession of “Jesus is Lord” is a testimony of the Spirit of God in them all the while forgetting that the evil spirits in the Bible spoke openly through people acknowledging who Jesus is [Acts 16:16-18; Mk 1:24, etc]. Not only that, but many Christians and professing Christians are dealing with a sensual spirituality today that is earthly and devilish [Jas 3:14-16]. It is fraught with feeling and the feelings are misleading. In order to be sanctified wholly we need to be filled with the HOLY Spirit [Eph 5:18]. And that only happens when you are emptied of the defiling things that prohibit him from filling you and you are led by him and not some sensual, devilish spirit.