Tuesday, 1 August 2017
…not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 1 Thessalonians 4:5
Paul’s previous words showed that each person should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor. Now, in contrast to that, he says, “…not in passion of lust.” The word translated as passion, pathos, indicates strong feelings which are not guided by God. Rather, they are those sensual feelings which draw one away from Him. He then combines in a word translated as “lust” which is not limited to sexual desires, but includes all sorts of desires. They can be positive or negative, but in the context of the verse, they are negative. One of the main uses of the word is that of covetousness.
What Paul is describing is completely contrary to “sanctification and honor.” To sanctify oneself is to be separated from the surrounding, worldly things we face. If one is consumed with the passion of lust, they are going full steam ahead into those worldly things, not away from them. Likewise, there is nothing honoring of God in such lusts, but rather choosing the path of the devil is what is seen. To confirm this, he then says, “…like the Gentiles who do not know God.”
Here he is writing to Gentile believers, but he contrasts them to Gentiles who do not know what they, as believers, know. The difference has set them on a completely different path. They have come to Christ, and have been instructed in what is pleasing to Him. The path they have chosen is one which follows the sanctification and honor that he wrote about. The only way the other Gentiles are going to know how to conduct themselves before God is by their example. Otherwise, how could they ever come to know the truth?
Life application: Our conduct in the presence of others should be as Paul describes. Reading his epistles is the way to come to a right understanding of proper church-age doctrine. Let us read, meditate on, and apply these words to our daily lives – to the honor of God and for the sanctification of ourselves.
Heavenly Father, it sure is precious to be in Your marvelous presence. Because of Christ Jesus, we can speak to You without fear of our prayers being hindered by the mistakes we make. Instead, we have full and unfettered access to Your attentive ear at all times. It is an honor and a joy to know this. Thank You for such a wonderful freedom to interact with You in this way. Amen.