Friday, 4 August 2017
Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 4:8
The word translated as “Therefore” is rare, being used only here and in Hebrews 12:1. It is a combination of three separate words which come together to form an emphatic “what must follow.” It extends the same thought which precedes it. It covers everything from verse 1 which said, “exhort in the Lord Jesus.” After that, Paul mentioned the commandments that were given “through the Lord Jesus,” and then he mentioned “the will of God.” Each of these was explained, but now he emphatically states, “Therefore,” and then he says, “…he who rejects this does not reject man.”
The word “this” is inserted by translators, but it was purposefully left out by Paul to add emphasis to the second clause. It actually then reads, “Therefore he who rejects does not reject man.” It causes the mind to reach forward in anticipation of what it then must reject. He then immediately explains it by saying, “but God.” The highlighting of Jesus and “the will of God” in the previous verses was given to lead us to this.
Those who conduct themselves in the ways he has presented in verses 3 through 7 are not rejecting Paul, as if he alone made up the commands. Rather, they are rejecting God Himself by rejecting His commands. The word translated as “reject” signifies “to break faith with.” In conducting our lives in a manner contrary to the words given, we demonstrate a lack of faith in God’s word, and we cancel His authority over us. We become rogue agents with a perverse agenda.
Paul then notes as a confirmation of this that God “has also given us His Holy Spirit.” Those who came to Thessalonica and instructed the new believers were filled with the Spirit’s gift of inspiration. It logically follows through then that Paul’s words continue to be inspired. He is writing on behalf of the Lord. And what then follows is that all of Paul’s letters that are included in Scripture are, in fact, the word of God. He was selected by Christ Jesus (Acts 9), he evangelized and ministered to the Gentiles, and he wrote letters of instruction as inspired by the Holy Spirit. Those letters have been saved in the pages of the Bible, and they are doctrine for the Gentile-led church age.
Life application: Ignore Paul’s writings, and you have no sound doctrine at all for the conduct of your life in Christ during this dispensation. Don’t ignore Paul’s writings.
Lord God, the more we look into Your word, the more we see it confirms that it is, in fact, Your word. You are the only God, You have spoken Your one and only word to the people of the world, and You have confirmed it through fulfilled prophecy time and time again. What a great comfort it is that we have the surety of knowing this, and thus that our pursuit of You is not in vain. What a sound and wonderful anchor we have for our souls! Amen.