by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 4 Study # 2 April 26, 2015 Dayton, Texas (Download Audio)
(133)Thesis:Our promised participation in the coming Kingdom of the Christ stands rooted in two particular activities of The God of The Peace Himself: sanctification and preservation.
Introduction:In our introductory study of this couplet of verses, I attempted to establish my claim that Paul's grasp of the human essence is Bible-wide (it can be seen everywhere) and consists of the three issues of "spirit", "soul", and "body". 1 Thessalonians 5:23 is a summary verse that brings the entirety of the biblical revelation of man's essence into the picture of the promise of God. In that study I made the claim that the "soul" is an actual part of our physical body, and that part of the body is the most fundamental analogy to that "soul" which is not a part of our physical body. Just like our physical heart is the foundation of the metaphoric analogy of the "heart" that exists in our relational identity, so the "soul" that is a section of our body has become the foundation of our understanding of the "soul" when it is not the physical section of our body. Also in that study I neglected to include the eyes as one of the elements of our physical soul, but the summary statement of all that is wrong with the world contains the identifying phrase, "the lust of the eyes"; another use of the physical to give understanding of the relational. One more observation: the letter to the Galatians was all about the root problem of "the pride of life" as it shows up in the doctrines of men in their "works-salvation"; now this current letter is all about the root problem of "the lust of the eyes" as it shows up in the doctrines of men who dismiss the primacy of The Hope and replace it with a kind of materialism that creates only problems for men.
Now, this evening we are going to look into Paul's opening phrase: "Now may the God of the peace sanctify you throughout the process of the established goal..." (my translation, obviously).
I. The Backdrop of Paul's "Wishes" For the Thessalonians.
A. By means of the word translated "entirely" (NASB; "wholly" in the AV), Paul reveals part of his "backdrop".
1. This word is a combination word that is only found in this one text of the New Testament.
a. Its parts are widely used in their own right, but the combination of the parts is only found in 5:23.
b. The combination is instructive in that Paul uses it in his "summary" statement.
2. The parts are extraordinarily helpful by reason of the wide use of them.
a. The first part, "holos", is used to when something is considered "entirely"; it is translated "all" a majority of the time in the AV.
1) There is this sense to the word: the entire "subject" is under consideration.
2) This is fitting in Paul's statement because he is addressing God's work of "sanctification" in the lives of His children.
a) The concept of "sanctification" is that of God going through a person's loves and beliefs and adjusting them so that they are a greater reflection of His own "holiness".
b) This is a massive and life-long process that has a gazillion details because of the nature of both "values" and "beliefs".
c) But the fact that the process is life-long and consists of addressing a massive number of specific details, indicates that some things will not be addressed with any significant effect.
b. Thus, the second part, "telos"; a word that is specifically used to present "the end, as the final accomplishment to a particular result".
1) The use of this word indicates that Paul realizes that God has a specific "end" for each of His children: Philippians 3:12-13 clearly establishes this reality, with 2 Timothy 4:6-7 and Romans 12:3 chiming in with perfect harmony.
2) These "ends" are child-specific and vary according to the Divine intention as Galatians 1:15-16 reveal.
3. The point thus far: Paul "wishes" for the Thessalonians to be "sanctified" through an on-going, life-long process so that, at the end, they will be suitably fitted for the "end" God has had in mind from the beginning (as Ephesians 2:10 clearly indicates).
B. By means of the word translated "complete" (NASB; "whole" in the AV), Paul reveals a second part of his "backdrop".
1. This word is another combination word that is also only used this one time in the New Testament, but, like the former word, the individual words that make up the combination are widely used.
a. The first part of the combination is the same as the former word's first part: "holos".
b. The second part is the word "klehros" which is used to refer to something obtained by the casting of lots, or the "lot" itself.
2. The word reveals Paul's "theology" of the Divine Intention: He has cast a "divine lot" (this is a anthropomorphism) to see who goes where in the final distribution of all things.
a. The idea is that the Kingdom of the Christ will have a plethora of participants with each being given a "task" by which service is rendered to all of the heirs of the Kingdom.
b. The decision as to the "what" is determined by the nature of the Kingdom itself.
c. The decision as to the "who" is revealed to be a matter of "an election by lot".
d. That the outcome will be actually meticulously determined by a comprehensive examination at the Judgment Seat indicates that God's purpose in the world is to prepare each saint's place of service in the Son's Kingdom with that preparation being the actual alteration of the loves/beliefs of the individual so that he/she may fulfill the requirements of the task.
C. Thus, Paul's "backdrop" is God's all-inclusive Kingdom development plans.
1. These plans require two processes: sanctification and preservation.
2. The processes are explained in this summary text.
II. The First of Paul's "Wishes": Sanctification.
A. This "wish" views the "entire end"; i.e., the comprehensive arrangement of all of the details so that they will result in the desired "end" or objective.
B. What is at stake is what Paul calls "sanctification".
1. What this actually means is that the issues of both "loves" and "beliefs" will be addressed in view of what is required by the "lot" in the Kingdom.
2. Each "love" must fall into line with the "holiness" of God; and each "belief" must fall into line with the "truth" of God.
3. Both "loves" and "beliefs" are in view and both take some "time" in order to cement them into place.
III. Paul's Claim: Our Promised participation in the Coming Kingdom of the Christ Stands Rooted in Two Particular Activities of The God of The Peace Himself and the First of These is Sanctification.
A. In God's dealings with us, He keeps our "lot" in view as He orders our experiences day by day in order to adjust, or cement, our values and beliefs.
B. Paul's statement of his "wish" is a revelation of how he sees God at work in Thessalonica and is a strong encouragement to "Hope".