Grace to the End (9 of 9) by Keith Krell
This content is part of a series.Grace to the End (9 of 9)
Series: No Rest for the Righteous
1 Thessalonians 5:23-28
Two years ago, my wife (Lori) received a strand of pearls from some dear friends of ours. Since that time, I have been intrigued with pearls. So this past week I did some research on how a pearl becomes a pearl. To ensure that I was not falling for any urban legends, I asked Russ McMillan, our resident Marine Biologist, for assistance. Russ explained that a beautiful pearl begins as a fragment of broken shell, a sand grain, or even a parasite. Such an object enters an oyster's shell and irritates its soft tissue. The irritant then gets covered and strengthened with layers of mother-of-pearl or nacre (NAY-ker). Over the course of time, a beautiful pearl develops. Similarly, the Bible teaches that every human starts out as an irritant. We are enemies of God, dead in our trespasses and sins. Yet, by God's amazing grace, those of us who believe in Christ are declared positionally righteous. Slowly but surely, God then envelops us in Himself and practically transforms us into beautiful followers who reflect His beauty.
Paul closes 1 Thessalonians the same way that he began, by emphasizing God's grace and the need to be prepared for Christ's coming. In view of these important themes, Paul urges us to, "Get a grip on grace." In 1 Thess 5:23-28, Paul provides two instructions to strengthen our grip.
1. Pray for spiritual dependence (5:23-24). In this first section, Paul prepares to wrap up his book with a closing prayer affirming our security in Christ. In 5:23 he prays, "Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." Interestingly, the first word in the Greek text of 5:23 is the word "Himself" (autos). This is a significant point because Paul is emphasizing that the peaceful qualities of life that he discussed earlier in 5:13 co ...
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