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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

God's Will and God's Promise, A Reflection of 1 Thessalonians 4

Many Christians ask what God's will is for their life. They believe God has a specific, detailed plan for the life. They focus all their attention on trying to find out what it is, that they forget what God's has already revealed to us as his will. In the Bible, you don't find Christians trying to find what God's will is for everything they do. Instead, they live according to what God has already revealed and commanded them to do.

In 1 Thessalonians 4 Paul tells the Thessalonians what God's will is for their lives. The first is found in verse 3: "It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality." (NIV) The word use for "sexual immorality" is the word "porneia" and we all know what that is. It is used in a general sense to refer to acts that are sexual in nature contrary to God's plan. God's will for us is that we live a holy life, a life dedicated to Him that avoids sexual immorality. If there is a time where we need this it is today. Many Christians have been involved with the sexually charged culture to the point where they give in to it. There is almost no distinction between how Christians behave sexually and those who don't know Christ.

Paul continues and warns the Thessalonians that "that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God." (v. 4-5, NIV) In the next two verses, he also let's them know to be careful not to do any wrong to another Christian in this area because God will judge them accordingly. Again, it calls us to holiness and purity.
Young people and singles, especially, should take note that for God it is a serious business to fool around sexually in any way with another Christian without regarding them with purity and honor. God will judge us for how we treat them in this area. If we disregard this command, we disregard God himself. This is serious.

God's will is that our bodies are kept pure and honorable. The verses are clear and need not much explanation.

God's will is also that we love each other (verses 13-18). We have been taught by God to love and we should love others as well.

The last part of this chapter, Paul reminds the Thessalonians of God's promise of the resurrection of those dead in Christ when He comes back. The Thessalonians had experienced the death of some of its members and Paul encourages them by pointing that death isn't the end, they will see their loved ones again. Christ's resurrection guarantees the resurrection of those who are "sleeping" (sleeping is used as a euphemism for death because the death of the body is only temporary) in Christ. Christ will bring them back in a resurrected body. This may be confusing for some. In chapter 5 Paul continues this topic which I will write about later.

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