Monday after the Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 5:12-28 (NKJV)
12 And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves. 14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. 15 See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies. 21 Test all things; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.
23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.
25 Brethren, pray for us. 26 Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss. 27 I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read to all the holy brethren. 28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
The Apostle Paul closes his first letter to his beloved brethren in Thessalonica with some rapid-fire instructions for their ongoing sanctification. The apostle knows that it is God Himself who is responsible for sanctifying them. Paul trusts that God will do it, but he also knows that the New Man whom the Spirit has created in every Christian works together with the Holy Spirit in this, to some extent, as we confess in the Formula of Concord: “As soon as the Holy Ghost…through the Word and holy Sacraments, has begun in us this His work of regeneration and renewal, it is certain that through the power of the Holy Ghost we can and should cooperate, although still in great weakness. But this does not occur from our carnal natural powers, but from the new powers and gifts which the Holy Ghost has begun in us in conversion” (FC:SD:II).
Through the words of St. Paul in today’s reading, the Holy Spirit guides us, empowers us, and spurs us on to godliness: to hold our pastors in high esteem, to be at peace among our fellow church members, to warn, to comfort, to support, to be patient; to take no revenge, to pursue what is good, to rejoice, to pray, to give thanks; to pay attention to preaching, but always to test it against God’s Word, to cling to what is good and to abstain from all evil. The Christian has plenty to do with these instructions to keep busy for an earthly lifetime.
Heavenly Father, we give thanks to You for freeing us from slavery to sin by uniting us to Your Son’s death through Holy Baptism. Grant us Your Holy Spirit’s help that we may ever walk in newness of life here below, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.