God’s Grace; May 30, 2019


1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.

When I read this, and even when I decided to write on these two verses, somehow I forgot that they have been set delightfully to music verbatim in Japanese. (The song actually starts from the second sentence in verse 23.) Because Japanese generally takes more syllables to say the same thing as English does, I had to “translate” it to put the song into English.

When Jesus Christ our Savior comes in glory for His Bride,
may there be no spot in you to make you run and hide.
May your whole spirit and your soul, body and mind
Be blameless when Jesus comes to see what He will find.
The God of peace who calls you
is faithful through and through,
and so I declare to you,
We know, we know that what He’s promised, He will do.

It’s a nice song, but it’s an even more wonderful truth. If we are honest, we can get anxious about our own weaknesses and failures. If we acknowledge them to God and repent, He wipes them out like they never happened. (1 John 1:9) Actually, the first part of John’s first letter deals with that issue a great deal. The most dangerous thing about sin is pride, because pride is what keeps us from repentance, and repentance is our only hope before a Holy God. The cross of Christ is sufficient to deal with any sin, but we have to acknowledge that sin and submit it to Jesus for His blood to cleanse us from it. If we are humble before God, verse 24 is the best news in the world. As in every other area of life, God has already done the “heavy lifting,” so all that is required of us is the decision of our will to accept what He has done and follow through in obedience. And even there, we quickly recognize that in our own strength we are incapable of full obedience, but just as this says, He will do it.

This is something I have had the joy to experience more and more as I have walked with the Lord. I have actually had people accuse me of being “too good,” but I’ve got enough of a past to know that’s an absolute impossibility. God’s grace is sufficient for us, (2 Corinthians 12:9) not just to get us through suffering but also to enable us to escape temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13) and walk in fellowship with Him. However, at every step we are called to choose obedience, and that is where the rub comes in. I have chosen disobedience more times than I like to think about! That said, this passage is still true, and I am deeply grateful.

Father, thank You for Your truly amazing grace. I am as much in need of it as John Newton was, and he was a slave trader before God got through to him. Help me be an open channel of Your grace to those around me, never proud or holier-than-thou toward anyone, but allowing Christ to shine through me to draw people to Himself, for their salvation and His glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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