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“We are a spirit, we have a soul, and these are contained in a body.” Heard that before? It’s a true statement, but I believe it unfortunately promotes an already unbalanced view that many Christians hold of themselves. It infers that our spirits and souls are of ultimate value, and our bodies—well, not so much. How does this compare to I Thessalonians 5:23-24?
(ESV) Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it. (Amplified Version) And may the God of peace Himself sanctify you through and through [separate you from profane things, make you pure and wholly consecrated to God]; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved sound and complete [and found] blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah). Faithful is He Who is calling you [to Himself] and utterly trustworthy, and He will also do it [fulfill His call by hallowing and keeping you].
Here’s a question to ponder—Does God intend for His people to live in divine health? Let’s begin exploring the question by looking at several key words and phrases in the verses above. The God of peace: The word “peace” in Greek is “eirene” (eye-RAY-nee). It means security, prosperity, happiness, perfect well-being, a state of reconciliation with God. The root of this word probably comes from a word meaning joined or fastened together. The first thing Jesus said to His disciples after His resurrection was, “Peace be with you”, and we are told in Eph. 2:14, “For He Himself is our peace”. We typically feel quite comfortable believing that our souls and our spirits are to be the receptacles of this full and rich Christ-given peace, but we rarely stop to consider our bodies as being the receptacle of the perfect well-being of peace. Sanctify you completely: Sanctify means to make holy, to set apart, to consecrate. And the word translated completely is “holoteleis”, which means wholly. According to I Thessalonians 5:23, our spirits, souls AND body are holy, set apart from the ordinary of this world, and consecrated to God. The body is included, not excluded from the list of what is made holy. We are told God’s sanctifying work makes us wholly whole. Kept blameless, or preserved sound: Preserved means to keep one in the state in which he or she is. The word blameless is amemptos, meaning free from fault or defect. God intends for our bodies as well as our souls and spirits to be free from defect, and to be kept in that state. At the coming of the Lord: This wording indicates that the condition of being whole, without defect, and in a state of perfect well-being is to be the state in which the Lord finds us when He returns. In other words, it is not a post-resurrection state, but a pre-resurrection state on this earth, here and now. Here are some additional verses of Scripture to ponder as you entertain the question of whether God intends for believers to live in divine health and has also provided a way to fulfill His desire. Romans 12:1
I urge your therefore, brethren,…to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice.
I Cor. 6:15
Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ…
I Cor. 6:19-20
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, Whom you have from God…therefore glorify God in your body.
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness.