Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 5: 23

 

The thought of preservation brings to mind the specimens that we would get to dissect in biology class. They didn’t bear much resemblance to actual life. They were no longer the color that they had been naturally; they didn’t feel very real anymore; they were cold and a bit slimy; and they certainly didn’t smell like life. Of course this was all true because there was nothing of their living organism present except for the form of what it had been. Sometimes people tend to think of the preserving work of God as the same sort of thing. They believe that in order for God to make people righteous that He will remove everything that makes them who they are and that He would leave behind only their shell. Frankly, this thought is frightening, and I don’t disagree at all with resisting having this happen.

 

However, this is not my experience with the way that Christ works in the lives of people. God is truly the peacemaker, and a lot of the peace that He works to effect is located inside of the hearts, minds, and spirits of individual people. As the Spirit of Christ comes to dwell within our beings, He works to cleanse us of the painfully destructive thoughts and actions that sin has caused us to engage in. These are the elements of corruption that have infected all people from birth and that are at war with the absolute love and the total goodness that is God’s true design for everyone. Christ brings the possibility of purification for our spirits, and He gives us His Spirit to do this work in us. In and through Him, we are blameless in the eyes of God.

 

Christ’s preservation, unlike anything that we can do on our own, brings about a complete and a total restoration of the life that has been God’s intent for us from the very beginning of creation. All people were created in the image of God Himself. So, His plan for preservation is one that takes us from the dead state of being that is our birth existence and changes us into the fully alive state that is His desired one for us. Unlike the preservative chemicals that covered those lab specimens, the Spirit of Christ causes our skin to glow with His presence, our touch to bring peace, our hearts to be filled with the warmth of love, and our aroma to be the sweet fragrance of the Spirit of Christ.