“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.” – 1 Thess. 5:23-24
These verses are regularly quoted and yet their meaning and ramifications are often times overlooked.
Here’s what the text teaches: The process of the complete sanctification of the elect is God’s work from start to finish and it will happen.
There is no doubt that Paul’s desire for God to preserve them (“kept blameless” ESV, “preserved complete” NASB, “kept sound and blameless” CSB) in sanctification at the coming of our Lord Jesus, speaks of the sanctification process resulting in the full glorification of the saint, which is the very end goal of salvation. The very opposite of this, in contrast, would be for this process to stop somewhere along the way somehow and a person to be ultimately lost forever.
Notice that Paul anchors this hope and desire, not in an appeal to the will and action of the saint but in the will and action of God Himself.
Then notice further that Paul is not merely hopeful of this end result, but he is certain of it. He grounds this future certainty not in the activity and performance of the saint, but in God’s faithfulness. The sure foundation of this hope is God’s commitment to fulfill His promises and to do all that is necessary for this to happen. The One who calls is faithful to complete the work. The saints persevere because God preserves and keeps His own.
He is faithful, and He will do it.