Journal – Jan 28, 2021
And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;
ABSTAIN FROM SEXUAL IMMORALITY
1 THESSLONIANS 4:1-8
Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God; 2 for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 3For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. 7 For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. 8 Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, whohas also given us His Holy Spirit.
Paul is now coming to the practical portion of the Epistle. He introduces exhortations to personal and sexual purity, in order that these new believers present an impressive contrast to the heathen round about them.
Vs. 1 Finally then brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God. Because of the real hearty love and affection, we have for you, with a view to your own good, and the glory of God, we urge and exhort you (beseech and entreat) you in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, regarding how you ought to walk and please God. We remind you that you received this from us while we were with you. You know your walk so as to please God is to act according to His will, to live the life of His Son on the earth; and though one may come far sort of the divine ideal, don’t forget the perfect and paramount desire so to live will enjoy the divine acceptance. Evidence informs us that you have already been so walking and our request is that you abound. Since you have been walking so as to please God, and the charge is that they would still grow in this conformity to the precepts delivered by the apostle. This is not just a bare command on how to walk, but a recognition at the same time of their begun sanctification, combined with an earnest request to continue and make rapid progress in this holy and blessed course.
Vs. 2 For you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus. These ethical commands were based upon the gospel regarding faith and love which are in agreement with the Holy Spirit, true obedience being prompted by those motives which it alone supplies. They knew about the ordinances of the gospel, baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and anything that relates to the worship and service of God. These commandments were not given on our authority but by the Lord Jesus Christ. That servant who knew His masters will and did not prepare himself to do according to His will shall be beaten with many stripes (Luke 12:47).
Vs. 3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality. Sanctification is internal and external, internal sanctification is the principle of spiritual life in the soul, a divine and spiritual light in the understanding, a bending of the will to the will of God, and a settlement of the affections on divine things, and is an implantation of every grace in the heart. External sanctification arises from the internal sanctification and lies in holiness of life and conversation and is what is chiefly designed, as appears both by what goes before, and follows after, and this is the will of God. For in the same decree that He wills the salvation of anyone in Jesus Christ, He also wills their sanctificationin heart and life, here and hereafter; and this is what is well pleasing in His sight. That you should abstain from sexual immorality, abstaining is a branch of external holiness. This sin was common among the heathen Gentiles, which these Thessalonians were, and will observe the sinful practice carried on by Gentiles they are trying to witness to which could prove to be a strong temptation.
Vs. 4 That each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor. For the single man or woman their body is their vessel and to possess it sanctification and honor means they bring it unto subjection and preserve it in purity and chastity; as the eyes are kept from unchaste looks, the tongue from unchaste words, and the other members from unchaste actions, and to use it in an honorable way. Not in fornication and adultery, for by fornication you sin against your own body, and by adultery they get a wound and dishonor with a reproach that will not be wiped away. For the married couple the word vessel may refer to the man’s wife or the woman’s husband or their own body. Honor is to be given to the weaker vessel, the wife. Paul tells the husband to dwell with their wives according to knowledge, so knowledge is required for a man to possess his vessel properly. Now for a man to possess his vessel in this sense is to enjoy his wife or the wife to enjoy her husband, and to use that power they have over one and other in a becoming manner (1 Corinthians 7:4) and as directed here in sanctification and honor or in a chaste and honorable way. Marriage is kept honorable when the bed is kept undefiled, which may be defiled by taking another person into it, which is not possessing the wife or husband in sanctification and honor.
Vs. 5 Not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; The heathen Gentiles that do not know God are addressed in this verse, they are ignorant, what else can be expected from them? They sink into the passion of lust (concupiscence) because of their ignorance of God, the Holy One with eyes of flame, who is Spirit and not flesh; whom we know only in proportion to our sanctification. For it is only when we are willing to strive after that which is the will of God, that we receive also the witness of the Spirit, and attain to the full knowledge of Him as the Searcher of our life. Therefore, what greater inconsistency can be predicted of believers than that they are governed by these inordinate passions which characterize the Gentiles that know not God (Galatians 4:8).
Vs. 6 That no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. We are forbidden to take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, to each man that God has given a wife and has set bounds to nature, that there may be intercourse with one only; therefore, intercourse with another is transgression and robbery and the taking of more than belongs to one—it is more cruel than any robbery, for we grieve not so much when our wealth is carried off, as when marriage is invaded. Do you call him your brother and defraud him in things that are forbidden? Here Paul is speaking of adultery, but also this includes fornication. The earnest and plain speaking which follows, discloses a sad state of society, and the strong terms are applicable to our present day. The difficulty of the interpretation has arisen from the fact that on this subject the apostle’s injunctions are enforced by solemn thought, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified.
Vs. 7For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. The Divine call, long with the communication of the Holy Spirit, enhance responsibility. For God calls us to holiness as He is holy; therefore, those that are called ought to be holy also. Indeed, the final measure of all sin is not the injury done to our neighbors, but the contempt put upon God. Individuals are hesitant to express a dislike to men.
Vs. 8 Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, whohas also given us His Holy Spirit. To grieve the Holy Spirit, with an increasing constancy to do Him despite, may grow into that sin that is never forgotten. To reject these things, holiness of life and conversation, or take no notice of them and acts in such a manner does not reject man, but God. The gospel knows nothing of the idea that the fear of God’s judgment is an inadmissible motive. Its preaching throughout is two-edged. Therefore, he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Father who will see their sanctification as they abstain from fornication, and every act of uncleanness, which if not attended to, is a despising of Him. And the Lord Jesus Christ, by whom, and for whom they were intreated and exhorted; they also do despite to the Spirit of Grace who spoke by the apostles and prophets of old.
The Breath of Life
Gen. 2:7. And the LORD God formed man ofthe dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
All life comes from God. God created life, he gives life, he sustains life, and he takes life. He is sovereign over both life and death. When the Lord takes life, none can withstand him. The Divine prerogative reigns supreme. God has delegated some of this right or authority to man. Mankind is allowed to take plant and animal life, and, under certain conditions, is commanded to take human life as God’s corporate representative in the form of just government when human life has been taken unjustly. Fallen man naturally desires to preserve his own life, though he may count the lives of others to be of little or no value. Self–preservation is one of the strongest desires. Fallen, sinful, unconverted man finds it unnerving, even dreadful, to consider that his life’s breath is in the hand of God. It can be said of every unconverted person what was declared to King Belshazzar: “…the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified” (Dan. 5:23). This was given in the form of a death–sentence. Are you any different from that king?
Catechism Question 55
Q. What is required in the second commandment?
A. The second commandment requires the receiving, observing, keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances, as God has appointed in His Word.
46 And he said unto them, Set your hearts unto all the words which I testify among you this day, which ye shall command your children to observe to do, all the words of this law.