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4. Living to Please God

1Finally then, brethren, we beseech and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that, as ye received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, even as ye do walk, --that ye abound more and more. 2For ye know what charge we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 3For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye abstain from fornication; 4that each one of you know how to possess himself of his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5not in the passion of lust, even as the Gentiles who know not God; 6that no man transgress, and wrong his brother in the matter: because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as also we forewarned you and testified. 7For God called us not for uncleanness, but in sanctification. 8Therefore he that rejecteth, rejecteth not man, but God, who giveth his Holy Spirit unto you. 9But concerning love of the brethren ye have no need that one write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another; 10for indeed ye do it toward all the brethren that are in all Macedonia. But we exhort you, brethren, that ye abound more and more; 11and that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your hands, even as we charged you; 12that ye may walk becomingly toward them that are without, and may have need of nothing. 13But we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning them that fall asleep; that ye sorrow not, even as the rest, who have no hope. 14For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also that are fallen asleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we that are alive, that are left unto the coming of the Lord, shall in no wise precede them that are fallen asleep. 16For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first; 17then we that are alive, that are left, shall together with them be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

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1Th 4:1-18. Exhortations to Chastity; Brotherly Love; Quiet Industry; Abstinence from Undue Sorrow for Departed Friends, For at Christ's Coming All His Saints Shall Be Glorified.

1. FurthermoreGreek, "As to what remains." Generally used towards the close of his Epistles (Eph 6:10; Php 4:8).

then—with a view to the love and holiness (1Th 3:12, 13) which we have just prayed for in your behalf, we now give you exhortation.

beseech—"ask" as if it were a personal favor.

by, &c.—rather as Greek, "IN the Lord Jesus"; in communion with the Lord Jesus, as Christian ministers dealing with Christian people [Edmunds].

as ye … received—when we were with you (1Th 2:13).

howGreek, the "how," that is, the manner.

walk and … please God—that is, "and so please God," namely, by your walk; in contrast to the Jews who "please not God" (1Th 2:15). The oldest manuscripts add a clause here, "even as also ye do walk" (compare 1Th 4:10; 5:11). These words, which he was able to say of them with truth, conciliate a favorable hearing for the precepts which follow. Also the expression, "abound more and more," implies that there had gone before a recognition of their already in some measure walking so.

2. by the Lord Jesus—by His authority and direction, not by our own. He uses the strong term, "commandments," in writing to this Church not long founded, knowing that they would take it in a right spirit, and feeling it desirable that they should understand he spake with divine authority. He seldom uses the term in writing subsequently, when his authority was established, to other churches. 1Co 7:10; 11:17; and 1Ti 1:5 (1Th 4:18, where the subject accounts for the strong expression) are the exceptions. "The Lord" marks His paramount authority, requiring implicit obedience.

3. For—enforcing the assertion that his "commandments" were "by (the authority of) the Lord Jesus" (1Th 4:2). Since "this is the will of God," let it be your will also.

fornication—not regarded as a sin at all among the heathen, and so needing the more to be denounced (Ac 15:20).

4. know—by moral self-control.

how to possess his vessel—rather as Greek, "how to acquire (get for himself) his own vessel," that is, that each should have his own wife so as to avoid fornication (1Th 4:3; 1Co 7:2). The emphatical position of "his own" in the Greek, and the use of "vessel" for wife, in 1Pe 3:7, and in common Jewish phraseology, and the correct translation "acquire," all justify this rendering.

in sanctification—(Ro 6:19; 1Co 6:15, 18). Thus, "his own" stands in opposition to dishonoring his brother by lusting after his wife (1Th 4:6).

honour—(Heb 13:4) contrasted with "dishonor their own bodies" (Ro 1:24).

5. in the lustGreek, "passion"; which implies that such a one is unconsciously the passive slave of lust.

which know not God—and so know no better. Ignorance of true religion is the parent of unchastity (Eph 4:18, 19). A people's morals are like the objects of their worship (De 7:26; Ps 115:8; Ro 1:23, 24).

6. go beyond—transgress the bounds of rectitude in respect to his "brother."

defraud—"overreach" [Alford]; "take advantage of" [Edmunds].

in any matter—rather as Greek, "in the matter"; a decorous expression for the matter now in question; the conjugal honor of his neighbor as a husband, 1Th 4:4; 1Th 4:7 also confirms this view; the word "brother" enhances the enormity of the crime. It is your brother whom you wrong (compare Pr 6:27-33).

the Lord—the coming Judge (2Th 1:7, 8).

avenger—the Righter.

of all suchGreek, "concerning all these things;" in all such cases of wrongs against a neighbor's conjugal honor.

testifiedGreek, "constantly testified [Alford].

7. unto uncleannessGreek, "for the purpose of."

unto—rather as Greek, "in"; marking that "holiness" is the element in which our calling has place; in a sphere of holiness. Saint is another name for Christian.

8. despiseth, &c.—Greek, "setteth at naught" such engagements imposed on him in his calling, 1Th 4:7; in relation to his "brother," 1Th 4:6. He who doth so, "sets at naught not man (as for instance his brother), but God" (Ps 51:4) is used of despising or rejecting God's minister, it may mean here, "He who despiseth" or "rejecteth" these our ministerial precepts.

who hath also given unto us—So some oldest manuscripts read, but most oldest manuscripts read, "Who (without 'also') giveth (present) unto you" (not "us").

his SpiritGreek, "His own Spirit, the Holy (One)"; thus emphatically marking "holiness" (1Th 4:7) as the end for which the Holy (One) is being given. "Unto you," in the Greek, implies that the Spirit is being given unto, into (put "into" your hearts), and among you (compare 1Th 2:9; Eph 4:30). "Giveth" implies that sanctification is not merely a work once for all accomplished in the past, but a present progressive work. So the Church of England Catechism, "sanctifieth (present) all the elect people of God." "His own" implies that as He gives you that which is essentially identical with Himself, He expects you should become like Himself (1Pe 1:16; 2Pe 1:4).