1 Thessalonians Five: Fighting Still

Posted: June 6, 2012 in 1 Thessalonians

“No one accidently grows in godliness,” says Matt Chandler. “You have to work for it. Yes, salvation is entirely of God. But your sanctification? The process of becoming more like Jesus? That’s a you and God thing.” Not an exact quote, but this is essentially what I heard Chandler say in a sermon this past week.

Remember the fight for balance that Paul brings up in chapter four of this book? Yeah, it gets a little more pronounced in this closing chapter. I say that because after warning his readers of the quickness and surprise with which Christ will return, Paul then says, “But since we belong to the day, let us be sober,  having put on the breastplate of  faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.For God has not destined us for  wrath, but  to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him.” I think Paul states his case for predestination pretty clearly when he says that the Christians in Thessalonica were destined to be saved, rather than to fall beneath the wrath of God. So there is that side of the coin. Salvation? Yep- belongs to God. He saves those whom He wills to save.

But Paul isn’t finished. He then begins to write like a madman, like someone who realizes that they have about two inches of paper left, so it’s time to be short and concise. So in rapid-fire succession, Paul gives his readers commands for them to actively obey, such as:

1. Encourage each other.

2. Build each other up.

3. Respect the elder(s) of your church.

4. Live in peace with one another.

5. Admonish the idle.

6. Build the faith of others.

7. Help the weak.

8. Be patient towards all.

9. Forget  about revenge.

10. Do good to those who wrong you.

11. Rejoice always.

12. Pray unceasingly.

13. Be thankful in everything.

14. Don’t quench the Spirit.

15. Test and retain good prophecies.

16. Abstain from every form of evil.

I don’t know about you, but there’s enough on that list to keep me striving for the rest of my life! So I’ll repeat myself here- though sovereign over all things, God has also given us insight into His will for us, and He’s given us His Spirit to make obedience possible. So don’t wait for some supernatural nudge from God to propel you to greater sanctification- get busy on it!

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