Search Engine

Provide a keyword or phrase below to find blog entries relevant to your search:

Results For

No Results

1 Thessalonians

< Return to List

©Michael Player

Chapter 4:1-8 (ESV)

Posted on April 28, 2024  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 4:1-8 (ESV) - Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.

Question to consider: What is the goal of our suffering in this life?

Often when people outside of the church are asked about what is involved in being a Christian, they begin with a list of rules to follow or things about the culture in which Christians stand in opposition— especially those things related to sexual immorality or recreational substances.

While today’s passage affirms that it is God’s will for us to be made holy and pure (sanctification), I think it is important to point out that Paul didn't address this subject until more than halfway through his letter. The bulk of this letter so far has been Paul’s expression of love for them and joy that they were steadfast in the faith despite enduring afflictions.

The fact that Paul relates our sanctification to the will of God makes me wonder if Timothy’s report to Paul included questions about why God allowed their continued suffering. While the life of a Christian is supported with the peace and joy that comes from having the Holy Spirit dwell in us, it is admittedly difficult. It is hard to openly express our love for Christ when the culture despises Him. It is hard to sacrifice our time, energy and resources for a kingdom received in faith when we have physical demands right in front of us that deplete our time, energy and resources. It can seem almost impossible to resist temptation when it comes at us from the devil, the world and our very own flesh.

People question why God allows us to suffer because they believe a God who loves us should desire that we be rewarded with happiness, ease, and comfort. However, God’s will is to make us holy and pure. Often, the means through which something becomes holy and pure is a process of refinement. Whether God is sanding off our rough edges or burning off the impurities, our sanctification comes through suffering.

Becoming holy is not just a matter of trying harder. It is God who sanctifies us. How does He do it? Through His word, through encouragement or exhortation from others believers (which Paul was doing for the Thessalonians), and through trials and tribulations. It’d be wonderful if we could be sanctified through blessing and ease, but as we learned in our study of Deuteronomy, blessing and ease often results in people forgetting about God and walking away from the faith.


Dear heavenly Father, thank You for bringing into our lives people and circumstances that refine us in our faith and keep us walking more closely with Christ. Amen.