Friday, May 15, 2015

Sanctification and Belief in the Truth

But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter. Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word. 2Th 2:13-17.

It is the will of God, our sanctification. Therefore, we must preach to our hearers that they must become more like Christ in order to establish them in the faith, and to a holy living. This is what the Apostle did when he wrote to the Thessalonians who were swamped by the false teaching of their day. They were losing the stability and strength and calmness that Christians should have. There was this false teaching that was literally ‘shaking their minds’! They were also being ‘disturbed’ or ‘troubled’ or ‘alarmed’. What was so alarming to the Thessalonian believers as to cause them lose stability? It was that some people were purporting to speak a word from the Holy Spirit, and they were backing this up by ‘confirming it with an apostolic word’ supposedly from Paul! But Paul rejects all this and he told these Christians that they are being deceived (vv.1-3). This method is still with us today and so you should endeavour to preach to your hearers how they may become more like Christ.
Here are professing believers, instead of consistently growing in the knowledge and grace of God, they were falling prey to the heretical eschatology. They had heard from false teachers of their day that the day of the Lord had come, and they accepted and believed! As their faith was being overthrown, they were changing away from the image of Christ further and further. It means that stability in faith is an indication of growth in grace and so conformation to Christ. What are the things from this passage that Paul presents that would bring stability? I would like to show you in in the text before us that, sanctification of the Spirit is conjoined with belief of the truth to produce Christlikeness.

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