Reflections on 1 Thessalonians: 1 Thessalonians 4-5
1 Thessalonians 4-5
From now on, then, brothers and sisters, we urge and implore you in the Lord Jesus that, just as you received from us how you ought to live and be pleasing to God (as indeed you are living), you should do so more and more. For you know what instruction we gave you from the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God: your sanctification -- to keep yourselves away from immorality; to learn, each one of you, how to marry in holiness and honour, not in the lust of covetousness as indeed the pagans that do not know God do, so as not to wrong or cheat your fellow-Christian in the matter, since the Lord exacts judgement for all these things, as we warned you before and solemnly declared. For the Lord did not call us in uncleanness but in holiness. For that very reason the person that rejects this is not rejecting a human being but the God who gives his Holy Spirit to you!
Now concerning love for your brothers and sisters, you have no need for us to write you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; in fact you are carrying that out for all the brothers and sisters in all Macedonia. But we call on you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more and to strive to live quiet lives and to mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you to do, so that you would behave properly before those outside the community and have need of no-one.
Now we do not want you, brothers and sisters, not to know about those who sleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest that have no hope indeed. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, so also we believe that God will lead those who sleep through Jesus to be with him.
For we tell you this as the Lord's word, that we the living, those who remain at the Lord's coming, will by no means precede those who have fallen asleep; that the Lord himself at the shout of command, at the archangel's voice, at the blast of God's trumpet will come down from heaven and the dead in Christ will rise first, then we the living, those who remain, will be caught up in the clouds to a meeting with the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Thus encourage one another with these words.
Now about the times and the occasions, brothers and sisters, you have no need for us to write you, for you know perfectly well that the Lord's Day is coming in this way, like a thief by night. Whenever they will say "Peace and security!", then sudden ruin will be near them, just as labour pains are near in a pregnant woman's belly, and they will by no means escape. But you, brothers and sisters, are not in the dark, that the Day will catch you like a thief! For you are all sons and daughters of light and sons and daughters of day. We are not part of night or of darkness, so don't fall asleep like the rest but stay awake and stay sober! For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night but we, belonging to day, stay sober, clothed in the armour of faith and love and the helmet of salvation, hope, because God has not intended us for wrath but to gain salvation through our lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we will be alive with him! Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as indeed you do.
For we ask you, brothers and sisters, to show respect for those who labour among you and are your leaders in the Lord and teach you and to hold them in very high regard in love because of their work. Live in peace among yourselves. We call upon you, brothers and sisters -- warn the disorderly, encourage those that are discouraged, help the weak, show patience with everyone. See that no-one repays anyone with evil for evil but always strive for what is good toward one another and toward everyone.
Always rejoice, pray uninterruptedly, give thanks in everything, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Don't extinguish the Spirit, don't reject prophecies, but test everything, hold on tight to what is good, avoid every appearance of wickedness.
May the God of peace himself make you entirely holy and may your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved spotless at the coming of our lord, Jesus Christ. The One that calls you is faithful and He will do this.
Brothers and sisters, pray for us!
Greet all the brothers and sisters with a holy kiss. I solemnly charge you, in the Lord, to make this letter known to all the brothers and sisters.
The grace of our lord Jesus Christ be with you.
Continue to the final section.