1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
“Remember the Alamo!” It was the battle cry of the Texas revolution to defeat Santa Ana’s army. The man who came up with the phrase was Sam Houston. Sam Houston was the first elected president of the newly-formed Republic of Texas. Later He became a United States Senator. Still later, he became the Governor of Texas.
What a lot of folks don’t know is that Sam Houston had been the governor of Tennessee before he came to Texas. He was also a drunkard and had a foul mouth. He was unsaved; separated from God in His sins. While Sam Houston was the governor of Tennessee, his wife divorced him. Because of this, he resigned as governor in shame. He experienced intense heartache, and despair over the following years.
Houston tried to escape his problems by running off and living among the Cherokee people, living in the woods as a drunkard. They nicknamed him, The Old Drunk. He would be sprawled out on trails in the forest in an inebriated stupor.
When Sam Houston finally traveled to the Mexican territory known as Tejas, he was still spiritually lost, and his life was still a wreck. One day a Baptist preacher shared the gospel with Sam. Houston received Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. The old Sam Houston died that day, and the new one was born. God had set him apart from the domain of darkness, and miraculously transferred him into the Kingdom of His dear Son. It is the spiritual sanctification of God, where God changes us forever when we receive Jesus Christ by His grace through faith. It is the sanctification that occurs when God puts His Spirit in us as living temples that are vessels of honour.
But, even though he was sanctified in Christ by the Spirit, in salvation, Sam Houston still had some of his old ways. Most of us can relate to what that means. We look at our salvation, and we know we have been changed spiritually, but at times we also see that we manifest sin. One day as Houston was riding along a trail his horse stumbled. He spontaneously barked out some vulgar language, reverting to his old habit of cursing. Immediately he was convicted of his sin. The foul odour of the old way affected him so much that he got off his horse, he knelt down on the trail, and he cried out to God in Holy Spirit-led repentance and personal sanctification. Houston had already been saved, but the Holy Spirit, through God’s word, was teaching him to excel still more in those things that are pleasing to God.
When we think about this story, we realize something of what happens in all of us. We realize that God saves us. We also realize that God convicts us in our Christian walk to continuously turn from the ways of the world that we once were enslaved to. Paul is writing to the Thessalonians that they have been sanctified (set apart) in Christ in spiritual salvation. Paul is concerned with various aspects of their Christian walk. It is the aspect where you personally set yourself apart from sin in your thoughts and actions daily. Sam Houston did this. We want to do this too. It is from sanctification to sanctification.