The world around us is a mess! People do not give any thought to how they treat each other. There are television shows that stay on the air year after year airing peoples’ dirty laundry. The messed-up personal situations that people are willing to talk about on national television are amazing to me. They did not have a television in Paul’s day, but the world was a big mess then, too. In his letter to the Thessalonians, Paul encourages them to be strong in their faith. He knew that they were surrounded by a world that had very low moral standards.
In 1 Thessalonians 4:6 (NKJV), he writes, “That no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified.”
When you hear these words, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? What I think is that we are not to cheat, steal, swindle, deceive, or tell lies about the people in our life.
Paul is closing his letter with instructions to the people of Thessalonica so that they would understand how God expects His people to live. Of course, these words still hold true for us today.
As we read the text, we find that Paul was thankful for the growth that he saw in the Thessalonians, but he still was expecting them to continue to grow in their walk with the Lord. Paul hoped that the teaching he was doing with the Thessalonians helped them to know the purpose of their lives. He wanted them to understand that they should be living to please God, not themselves, and that would lead to living lives that showed their love and respect for themselves and those around them.
As Christians, we should not live as the world does, but to please the Lord, as instructed here in Thessalonians. The instructions in Paul’s letter, are not suggestions, they are commandments from the Lord that we all must follow. Paul explains to us in Romans that God judges those who are immoral. Romans 1:18 (NLT) says, “But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness.”
Commentaries say the first century Roman Empire people were immoral, and morality was not thought of or even practiced. This was an unknown virtue, they truly lived in the world of self-satisfaction, and in carnal sin. Paul made the instructions clear what the will of God was for them, and it is the same today for us. He tells the Thessalonians that they should live differently than those who did not follow the Lord. The world should see us as different, too. As believers, we should not be living a life that is viewed as immoral. We must remember that when we received the free gift of salvation as a Christian, we now should be living for the Lord.
That leads me to think about our walk, and our maturity with the Lord. Are we growing today? Is our fruit visible to the world?