Parting Words

Jessica Bratt Carle

READ : 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
2 Thessalonians 3:16-18

May the God of peace . . . sanctify you completely. (v. 23)

Paul’s concluding sentences in the final verses of 1 Thessalonians form a wonderful benediction for us as well. The parting words here are not last-minute reminders to the gathered community in Thessalonica. They’re not tacked on like a “P.S.—I almost forgot to add . . .” No, this closing blessing is a crucial summons to stay strong in the faith. Paul is summarizing the main message of all that he’s tried to communicate to the Thessalonians. He wants them to remember that the God they know in Jesus is a God of peace, who has the power to sanctify them and make them into the people they are called to be. He wants them to remember that being a Christian is not just about how to live in the here and now but is forward-looking, always scanning the horizon for what God has in store. He wants them to live blameless lives and to know that they can do so through the power of Christ, who demonstrated how to live blamelessly and faithfully in relationship with God the Father.

May Paul’s parting words stay with you as well, fellow reader of the letters to the Thessalonians! Wherever you are, whether you are in the midst of affliction or exultation, may you be encouraged and uplifted in your faith, renewed in hope and in the knowledge of a God who will see you through to the fullness of the reign of Jesus Christ.

PRAYER

Gracious God, strengthen our faith and strengthen your church everywhere.