1 Thessalonians 4:1-10 … We move from the encouragement given to the Thessalonians in chapter 3 to exhortation to live godly and holy lives, which the Scripture calls “sanctification” or being set apart for special purposes. Sanctification isn’t a one-time event like baptism; sanctification occurs continuously in a growing relationship with Christ to become more Christ-like as we walk with Him. That’s the exhortation given here. Paul begins on a very personal note, urging believers to abstain from sexual immorality, which apparently was as big an issue in first century Thessalonica as it is today. A person who wants to walk with God therefore needs to weigh moral issues carefully and choose a path that will continue godly development, possessing his vessel (a first century expression for body) in honor, not in immorality. The “wrong to a brother” mentioned in 4:6 may refer to sexual or financial matters, but the vivid application is that violation of moral issues is not only fraud before God but also to the indwelling Holy Spirit. Included in the exhortation (4:9-10) is not only love toward others, but also to excel in that love even more, which is an interesting concept to think about. How might we display more excellent love, more apparent, more sincere, more meaningful love, one to another?
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