A clear illustration of this fact can be seen in a weather-vane. The only way we can often know the direction of the weather-vane is by the force of the wind. The stronger the wind blows against it, the more steadily does it point in the true direction. The very gales of controversy indicate more forcibly the intense interest with which the hearts of God's people are reaching out for a higher and deeper life in Him, and are somehow feeling the approach of a crisis in the age in which we live.
These two truths - holy living and Christ's Second Coming - are linked closely together in First Thessalonians 5:23-24. The former is the preparation for the latter, and the latter the complement of the former. Let us turn our attention, in prayerful dependence upon God and a careful discrimination, to the explicit teaching of this passage respecting the scriptural doctrine of sanctification. May the Holy Spirit so lead and sanctify us both in our thoughts and spirits that we will see light in His light clearly and our prejudices will melt away before the exceeding grace of Christ and the heavenly beauty of holiness.
The Author of Sanctification
The name, God of peace, implies that it is useless to look for sanctification until we have become reconciled to God and have learned to know Him as the God of peace. A justification so thoroughly accepted as to banish all doubt and fear and make God to us the very God of peace is indispensable to any real or abiding experience of sanctification.
Beloved, is this perhaps the secret cause of your failure in reaching the higher experience for which you long? "When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?" (Psalm 11:3). Are there loose stones and radical difficulties in the superstructure of your spiritual life, and is it necessary for you to lay again the solid foundation of faith in the simple Word of Christ and the finished work of redemption? Then do so at once! Accept without feeling, without question, in full assurance of faith, the simple promises, "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life" (John 3:36) and "... whoever comes to me I will never drive away" (John 6:37). Then take your stand on the Rock of Ages and begin to build the temple of holiness.
The expression the very God of peace further suggests that sanctification is the pathway to a deeper peace, even the "peace of God, which transcends all understanding" (Philippians 4:7). Justification brings us peace with God; sanctification, the peace of God. The cause of all our unrest is sin.
But the wicked are like the tossing sea,
which cannot rest,
whose waves cast up mire and mud.
"There is no peace," says my God, "for the
wicked." (Isaiah 57:20-21)
On the other hand, however,
Great peace have they who love your law,
and nothing can make them stumble.
So we find God bewailing His people's disobedience and saying,
If only you had paid attention to My commands,
your peace would have been like a river,
your righteousness like the waves of the sea.
Sanctification brings the soul into harmony with God and the laws of the soul's own being. There must be peace; there can be in no other way. Sanctification brings into the spirit the abiding presence of the very God of peace Himself. True peace is then nothing less that the deep, divine tranquility of His own eternal calm.
~A. B. Simpson~
(continued with # 2)