Summary: The message explores the area of sanctification, expected of all who name the Name of Christ.
“Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.
“Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.”
People often make strange claims concerning the will of God. “God told me,” is a phrase frequently used to justify aberrant behaviour among the professed people of God. However, there are occasions anyone can say with certainty, “This is the will of God.” This assertion is possible because for those knowledgeable of the Word of God, there are occasions when God has spoken quite clearly to reveal His will through what has been written. In such instances, we are very foolish if we ignore what is written.
Though the message is presented on the day set aside to honour mothers, it applies to all who call on the Name of the Master. I have often held that society will never sink lower than what women allow. I fear that I am witnessing the rapid imposition of a moral morass because we who occupy the sacred desk have failed to encourage women to stand firm in righteousness. Thus, the message today seeks to encourage a return to godliness for both women and for men.
THE WILL OF GOD—YOUR SANCTIFICATION — “Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification.”
“This is the will of God, your sanctification.” There is no doubt concerning the will of God—the will of God is your sanctification. Tragically, few people among modern congregations know what it means to be sanctified. It seems rare that a pastor should ever present a message on the topic of sanctification. Few church goers can recall hearing a message on sanctification. There was a time, and not so long ago, when entire denominations were built around the doctrine of sanctification. Admittedly, some of those groups were extreme in their pursuit of sanctification; but the point remains that they were conscious of the expectation that Christians are to be sanctified. Today, few denominations teach sanctification; consequently, few Christians know what it means to be sanctified.
Let’s take this opportunity to think about the doctrine of sanctification. The Greek term hagiasmós is translated in some translations by the terms “consecrate,” “holy,” or “holiness.” In fact, the word is translated “holiness” in today’s text. In 1THESSALONIANS 4:4, 7, the Apostle urged readers to control his or her own body in holiness (hagiasmós) and honour. He also reminds readers that “God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness (hagiasmós).”
It should be obvious that holiness is important to the God who redeemed us. The Holy Spirit, through Peter, has commanded Christians, “As he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy’” [1 PETER 1:15, 16]. Peter applies the teaching first given in Leviticus [see LEVITICUS 11:44], a teaching with which his readers would have been familiar, in urging readers to reflect the character of God the Father.
Peter’s instruction mirrors that of the writer of the Letter to Hebrew Christians that teaches followers of the Master, “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord” [HEBREWS 12:14].