Pentecost: His will, your sanctification

by Dr. Bill Ury

We celebrate the baptizing personal presence of the Holy Spirit this month. In short, at Pentecost we see the fulfillment of God’s will in all of scripture. We want His will to be our desire; to express what the blood of Jesus and fire of the Spirit mean in actual life.

I often have noted that our tenth doctrine is primarily a quote from scripture. I Thessalonians 5:23 is foundational to Who God is and to His heart desire for us, His redeemed creatures who alone bear His image. Paul reaffirms the perfect purposes of God when he writes, “This is the will of God, your sanctification” (I Thess. 4:3, ESV). God’s will is not deterministic. He does not save or sanctify against our wills. He has made us, for His glory, as persons whose choices, obedience and love are enabled and honored as real choices by the One who has made us for Himself.

If holiness of heart and life are His plan, provision and pleasure, then we should be clear on this one thing: Is His will real in my life? There is no more important issue.

Paul couches this overarching biblical truth—the Holy One desires us to reflect His nature—in real down-to-earth issues. His pure will confronts every place where we might wrongfully believe that sexual pleasure determines our actions (4:3-8). His eternal desire is that every relationship is cleansed from selfcenteredness and filled with His divine love (4:9-12). God’s holy authority over time and eternity should encourage every hope-filled heart to anticipate the Lord’s return like a bride preparing for her Bridegroom (4:13-5:11). Though uncomfortable, Paul points to the sanctifying will of our Lord in how we think about and talk about the leaders He has placed over us (5:12-13). As in every church, there are those who are lazy, uncorrectable, constantly choosing what is not best. The response? His will is dynamic, peaceful love that patiently urges maturity without condescension (5:14-15).

Note that Paul does not move to our will too quickly. Holiness is about the Triune Holy One, not us. It is the will of the Father revealed in Christ Jesus (5:18). The passionate fire-like love of the Spirit need never be quenched (5:19). Sanctification is the will of God Himself, the God of Peace, the Lord Jesus Christ (5:18-23). His holy-making will is always a grace-filled calling, an invitation based upon His essence, character, nature and power (5:24). He wills that we be His entirely. Is His will your deepest desire?

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