1 Thessalonians 2:12

Thursday, 6 July 2017

…that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory. 1 Thessalonians 2:12

This verse reads differently than Galatians 1:6 –

I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel…”

As you can see, that is in the past tense – “who called you.” For this reason, the translators of some versions, such as the KJV, erringly changed this verse in 1 Thessalonians to “hath called.” They probably did this to clear up a seeming theological inconsistency, but that results in an incorrect translation. The verb here is a present participle, active. It should read “calls” or “is calling.” There is not any inconsistency. Paul was telling the Galatians that they had been called into the grace of Christ, and they stood in that grace which they were then turning away from.

Here in 1 Thessalonians, he is telling the congregation that though they have been called into God’s grace, they are still here in this life and must live it out until that grace is fully realized in their being gathered together to Him. Thus, they needed to (right now and continually) “walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.” As you can see, there is no contradiction. There is the calling which is already granted, but it is not yet actualized. It is sad that translators will often change what the literal reading is because of misunderstandings about theology. Translators are to translate, not presuppose and then translate.

The purpose of this life in Christ is not merely to be called and then sit around waiting for Jesus to swoop us up and out of here, but to work out our calling daily. We are to tell others about Christ, and do that in a spirit of grace and in a manner worthy of God. He has called; we have received; now we need to act in accord with that. Someday we will enter into his kingdom and glory, and so let us not now act in a manner which will bring regret, but in a manner which will show that we are truly thankful for having been called out of darkness and into His marvelous light.

Life application: Reading several translations of the Bible is always wise. The translators of the King James Version knew this and said as much in their preface remarks. They say that a “variety of Translations is profitable for the finding out of the sense of Scriptures.” Let us be wise and discerning, and let us not get captivated by one, fallible, translation of Scripture.

Lord God Almighty! Through Christ Jesus, You have called us out of darkness, and into the light of Your marvelous kingdom. Because of this, you have asked us to walk in a manner worthy of You while we are still here. Help us in this. Remind us of the great salvation which has been granted to us, and help us to be proper stewards of our time that remains. May You be pleased with the conduct of our lives, lived out as sacrifices honorable and holy to You. Amen.

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