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1 Thessalonians 4:6-8

6. That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified.

6. Ne quis opprimat vel circumveniat in negotio fratrem suum: quia vindex erit Dominus omnium istorum, quemadmodum et praediximus vobis, et obtestati sumus.

7. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.

7. Non enim vocavit vos Deus ad immunditiam, sed ad sanctificationem.

8. He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his Holy Spirit.

8. Itaque qui hoc repudiat, non hominem repudiat, sed Deum, qui etiam dedit Spiritum suum sanctum in nos.

 

6 Let no man oppress. Here we have another exhortation, which flows, like a stream, from the doctrine of sanctification. “God,” says he, “has it in view to sanctify us, that no man may do injury to his brother.” For as to Chrysostom’s connecting this statement with the preceding one, and explaining ὑπερβαίνειν καὶ πλεονεκτεῖν to mean — neighing after the wives of others, (Jeremiah 5:8) and eagerly desiring them, is too forced an exposition. Paul, accordingly, having adduced one instance of unchastity in respect of lasciviousness and lust, teaches that this also is a department of holiness — that we conduct ourselves righteously and harmlessly towards our neighbors. The former verb refers to violent oppressions — where the man that has more power emboldens himself to inflict injury. The latter includes in it all immoderate and unrighteous desires. As, however, mankind, for the most part, indulge themselves in lust and avarice, he reminds them of what he had formerly taught — that God would be the avenger of all such things. We must observe, however, what he says — we have solemnly testified; 569569     “Nous vous auons testifié et comme adjuré;” — “We have testified to you, and, as it were, adjured.” for such is the sluggishness of mankind, that, unless they are wounded to the quick, they are touched with no apprehension of God’s judgment.

7 For God hath not called us. This appears to be the same sentiment with the preceding one — that the will of God is our sanctification. There is, however, a little difference between them. For after having discoursed as to the correcting of the vices of the flesh, he proves, from the end of our calling, that God desires this. For he sets us apart to himself as his peculiar possession. 570570     “Comme pour son propre heritage et particulier;” — “As for his peculiar and special inheritance.” Again, that God calls us to holiness, he proves by contraries, because he rescues us, and calls us back, from unchastity. From this he concludes, that all that reject this doctrine reject not men, but God, the Author of this calling, which altogether falls to the ground so soon as this principle as to newness of life is overthrown. Now, the reason why he rouses himself so vehemently is, because there are always wanton persons who, while they fearlessly despise God, treat with ridicule all threatenings of his judgment, and at the same time hold in derision all injunctions as to a holy and pious life. Such persons must not be taught, but must be beaten with severe reproofs as with the stroke of a hammer.

8 Who hath also given. That he may the more effectually turn away the Thessalonians from such contempt and obstinacy, he reminds them that they had been endowed with the Spirit of God, first, in order that they may distinguish what proceeds from God; secondly, that they make such a difference as is befitting between holiness and impurity; and thirdly, that, with heavenly authority, they may pronounce judgment against all manner of unchastity — such as will fall upon their own heads, unless they keep aloof from contagion. Hence, however wicked men may treat with ridicule all instructions that are given as to a holy life and the fear of God, those that are endowed with the Spirit of God have a very different testimony sealed upon their hearts. We must therefore take heed, lest we should extinguish or obliterate it. At the same time, this may refer to Paul and the other teachers, as though he had said, that it is not from human perception that they condemn unchastity, but they pronounce from the authority of God what has been suggested to them by his Spirit. I am inclined, however, to include both. Some manuscripts have the second person — you, which restricts the gift of the Spirit to the Thessalonians.


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