by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 4 Study # 2 April 26, 2015 Dayton, Texas
23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and [I pray God] your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
24 Faithful [is] he that calleth you, who also will do [it].
1901 ASV Translation:
23 And the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved entire, without blame at thecoming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
24 Faithful is he that calleth you, who will also do it.
I. The Focus of the God of The Peace.
A. The first "outcome" of God's work toward sanctification is, according to Romans 5:1, "peace with the God". Paul calls his message "The Gospel of Peace" in Romans 10:15. Theologically, in the development of biblical anthropology, "peace" is the most precious of all gifts to the "soul" (Note Philippians 4:7 as a promise out of a context of "anxiety" and relational harmony with God). In the context of 1Thessalonians, "peace" is wrapped up in "The Hope" of a relational union with Jesus Christ (4:17) that extends throughout eternity without end.
B. That Paul calls God, "The God of The Peace" (Autos de ho theos tes eirenes) is not accidental.
1. The most grievous of situations for the souls of men is a "conflict setting" where everyone is at each other's throats and there is no sense of "security".
2. At the heart of the issue of "security", a most fundamental issue is "Who has the Power?". In Paul's mind, "The God" is the final answer.
a. In Paul's follow-up letter (2 Thessalonians), his terms switch just a bit: in 3:16 he wrote, "Now Himself, the Lord of the Peace..." (Autos de ho kurios tes eirenes).
b. This change addresses not "Who has the Power?", but "Who decides who gets the Power to work on their behalf?".
C. That Paul addresses The God of The Peace as he addresses his "ultimate wish" for the Thessalonians is a "dead giveaway" that his focus is upon their souls.
D. The actual objective.
1. Is stated in the "optative" mood of the Greek verb "hagiazo", which means that it is a "wish" that is pretty far removed from actuality.
a. The reason for this is given above: God has the Power to grant peace, but it is as Lord that He grants it.
b. The optative recognizes the divine prerogative and deliberately does not transgress it.
2. Is stated as a matter of a divine intervention for the purpose of separating the Thessalonians from every form of "evil" (5:22).
a. For this cause, every root cause of evil will be addressed: spirit, soul, and body. ("the lust of the flesh" out of the "body"; "the lust of the eyes" out of the "soul"; and the "pride of life" out of the "spirit").
b. The verb, "hagiazo", is rooted in the biblical concept of holiness which has, as its most basic sense, the idea of "perfect harmony" as an overarching reality covering the whole of the divine nature. The attributes of God reside in God in perfect harmony with each other: Justice and Grace are absolutely harmonized, as are all of the other "diametrical opposites". Sanctification, as a concept, includes our participation in the "harmony of attributes" that fundamentally and profoundly exists in God Himself.
3. Is given a specific sense of rootedness in the actions of God because Paul wrote, "Now the God of The Peace, Himself...". The "Himself" is the first word of the sentence, a placement designed for emphasis.
a. This partially explains the optative form of Paul's "wish": no one tells "The God Himself" what to do/not do. We can only "wish".
b. But this also adds a great sense of "hope" because Paul's "wish" is in direct harmony with the ultimate "wishes" of "The God Himself" (1 Timothy 2:4).
E. The extent of Paul's "wish".
1. The translators give us "wholly", the translation of an adjective built off of a combination of two words: "holos" (meaning "throughout" -- we actually get our word "whole" from this word); and "telos" (meaning "the final objective").
a. The basic idea (this combination is only used here in the entire New Testament) is "throughout the process of pursuing the ultimate end".
b. The theology of Paul's use is this: God has a plan in mind to prepare each and every person, who is destined to inherit within the Kingdom of the Christ, for a specific identity (thus the "I will give you a new name" promise of Revelation 2:17) and a specific Kingdom-function (the actual outworking of the Judgment Seat of the Christ).
c. This is not "entire" sanctification in the sense of the eradication of every tentacle of the roots of evil within us; this is "targeted" sanctification in the sense of preparing us to be qualified for our new identity and function.
2. And they give us "your whole", or "entire", the translation of (olokleron humon). The main word, "holokleron", is another combination, keeping the "holos" and adding "kleros" to it.
a. There is some confusion in that Strong's calls it an adjective and Logos identifies it as a noun.
1) This distinction makes a difference.
2) Is Paul talking about "your whole spirit and soul and body", or is he talking about the "entire you" consisting of "spirit, soul, and body"?
b. The solution seems to be that there are two "wishes" in this verse.
1) On the one hand, he "wishes" that The God of The Peace Himself might "sanctify" you unto your appointed end.
2) On the other hand he "wishes" that this same God of The Peace might "preserve" your entire inheritance.
c. The issue is this: the word "holokleros" points to an inheritance obtained by divine lot that carries with it an assumption of a thorough process in getting those chosen by lot to the actual qualifications necessary to participate according to their "lot".
d. The addition of "the spirit and the soul and the body" is most likely a clarification of the entire person that is involved in the thorough process; an epexegetical phrase identifying the "you" to whom the "entire inheritance by lot" belongs by the grace of the God/Lord of Peace.