Monday, December 8, 2008

1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 (Faith)

“We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers;
constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ…” –1 Thessalonians 1:2,3a

Thom Wolf sees a pattern to all of Paul’s teaching. The three “pillars” of Paul’s message are Faith, Love and Hope. This pattern seems to be the “instruction” Paul is referring to here in chapter 4. It can also be seen in Ephesians, Colossians, and other letters written by Paul and others.

For the purposes of this teaching of Paul, faith encompasses not just the belief that brings about change in the believers life; it also changes the Christians “walk.” When a person comes to faith in Jesus Christ it changes who they are. They leave behind sinful behaviors and embrace a new way of living. This behavior change or repentance is one of Paul’s big three areas of instruction.

Everyone has their own particular areas where they struggle; their own sins they struggle with. However, there are certain areas that pose a universal struggle. One such area is sex. Sometimes we fall into the trap of ranking sins; some are considered bigger or worse than others. Sex is on of these “baddies.” Ranking sins is a misguided and fruitless endeavor. What makes sex so big on such lists is the fact that it is an area that everyone deals with, and it is a big area of surrender.

Here Paul exhorts the thessalonian believers to abstain from sexual immorality. This is a good starting point in the discipleship of new believers. Our sex lives are a good barometer of our spiritual health. Mentally and physically, sexual purity is a discipline we should practice.

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