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Thessalonians 5:9-11 Commentary
Word and Power
of the Spirit
Calling & Conduct
Exemplary Hope of
Motivating Hope of
Purifying Hope of
Comforting Hope of
Invigorating Hope of
Written from Corinth
Modified from the
Jensen's Survey of
FOR GOD HAS NOT DESTINED US
FOR WRATH: hoti ouk etheto (3SAMI) hemas o theos eis orgen:
(1Th 1:10; 3:3; Ex 9:16; Pr 16:4; Eze 38:10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 18,
17; Mt 26:24; Acts 1:20,25; Ac 13:48; Ro 9:11-23; 2Ti 2:19,20; 1Pe
2:8; 2Pe 2:3; Jude 1:4)
How does one put on the helmet of
salvation? How does salvation give us confidence in the face of God's
wrath, something that some of the Thessalonian believers were fearful
that they might experience?
These are some of the questions Paul
answers in 1Th 5:9, 10.
Stott introduces this
section recalling that...
So far Paul has based how we should
behave (awake, alert, self-controlled, well-armed - 1Th 5:8-note)
on who we are (children of the day and of the light - 1Th 5:5-note).
Now he goes on to base who we are on Who God is and on what He has
done for us. He makes two great statements (1Th 5:9, 10). (Stott, J.
R. W. The Message of Thessalonians. Leicester, England; Downers Grove,
Ill., U.S.A.: Inter-Varsity Press)
means since, because, for (this reason) here introduces the reason
that as believers, we must put on our armor, especially the helmet,
the hope of salvation.
small inward voice I hear,
That whispers all my sins forgiven;
Still the atoning blood is near,
That quenched the wrath of hostile heaven.
-- from Charles Wesley's
And Can It Be That I Should Gain?
Not destined us for wrath -
But for...salvation. If the juxtaposition of these two eternal
destinies (of all mankind) does not cause you to pause and offer up a
doxology, nothing will! Let me encourage you dearly beloved of the
Father (1Th 1:4-note),
pause for just a moment (YouTube
- The Doxology or
YouTube - Doxology) and offer up a
sacrifice of praise (He 13:15-note)
to the only One worthy to receive our praises, now and throughout
eternity. Amen (Re 4:11-note,
Paul began this letter with
the emphasis that the believers were...
to wait for His Son from heaven,
whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, Who rescues (rhuomai-word
not just the day of our justification by faith, but every day of our
sanctification by faith [2Co 5:7]!) us from the wrath to come.
(More literally = the wrath, the continually coming). (1Th
(tithemi) means first to set, to place or to put. Here it is
used figuratively to mean appoint. Our salvation proceeds from God's
appointment and is connected with the past act (Ep 1:4-note) and
with deliberate purpose
of an infinitely merciful, gracious God. The use of the
indicates that that God thus acted in His own interest, while the
indicates this event occurred in the past and was a completed event.
God, Who acted according to His own will and good pleasure (Ep 1:11-note), has
destined believers to salvation as His gracious intention for us.
This is a cause for rejoicing for believers do not have an
"appointment" with God's wrath! Hallelujah. Thank you Jesus, the Lamb
of God Who bore our deserved wrath (Ga 3:13, Jn 1:29, 1Pe 2:24-note,
cp Lv 16:22 [Day of Atonement ~ Yom Kippur!], Nu 21:8, 9, Jn 3:14 =
lifted up on the Cross [Jn 12:32, 33], He 9:28-note,
Is 53:4, 5, 6)
In His message to the church at
Philadelphia Jesus declared...
'Because you have kept the word of
My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that
hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who
dwell upon the earth. (cf Re 3:10-note)
Many commentators take this as a promise promise that believers will
be delivered from the time of the Great Tribulation that will come
upon the entire earth Mt 24:14-21.
Wrath (3709) (orge
from orgaô = to
teem, to swell) from the idea of a swelling which eventually bursts,
orge then applies more to an anger that proceeds from one’s
settled nature. In context this wrath speak of God's just condemnation
our intractable rebellion and hatred of God (Ro 1:30-note)
Hiebert makes the important
God wills not our destruction but
our salvation (Ed: This is important to comprehend! cp 2Pe
3:10-note). He has no intention that we should become the subjects
of His wrath, fall under its punitive action, when the day of "sudden
destruction" (1Th 5:3-note)
falls upon the unsaved. He cherishes no angry purposes toward His
redeemed children; the divine wrath against sin was diverted from us
when by faith we were united with "the Son of his love" (Col
Wrath is the destiny of Christ rejecting souls. (Hiebert,
D. Edmond: 1 & 2 Thessalonians: BMH Book. 1996)
Orge in this verse describes God's holy, righteous wrath, which
is not an uncontrollable anger His settled opposition to and
displeasure with sin. God’s wrath is his holy hatred of all that
is unholy, His righteous indignation against everything that is
unrighteous. The picture of the orge of God is an
inner, deep resentment that seethes and smolders.
If indeed the
Day of the Lord commences at the midpoint of the last 7
years and the Great Tribulation begins with bowl
judgments filled with God's wrath, it would appear that the wrath Paul
is referring to here is that described in Revelation 6-19, although obviously
it all culminates in the Lake of fire which is a manifestation of His
eternal wrath. Either way this truth by Paul is good news...we are
delivered (the meaning of the word soteria translated "salvation")
from the wrath to come (cp 1Th 1:10-note, 2Th 1:7,
Orge - 36x in 34v in the NAS
- Matt. 3:7; Mk. 3:5; Lk. 3:7; 21:23; Jn. 3:36; Rom. 1:18; 2:5, 8;
3:5; 4:15; 5:9; 9:22; 12:19; 13:4f; Eph. 2:3; 4:31; 5:6; Col. 3:6, 8;
1 Thess. 1:10; 2:16; 5:9; 1 Tim. 2:8; Heb. 3:11; 4:3; Jas. 1:19f; Rev.
6:16f; 11:18; 14:10; 16:19; 19:15
God's settled indignation and controlled passionate hostile
feeling toward sin in all its various manifestations. "Settled"
indignation means that God’s holiness cannot and will not coexist with
sin in any form whatsoever. Orge is not the momentary, emotional, and
often uncontrolled anger (thumos) to which human beings are prone.
Orge as used of God
refers to His constant and controlled indignation toward sin, while
thumos (which originally referred to violent movements of air,
water, etc., and consequently came to mean “well up” or “boil up”)
refers more to a passionate outburst of rage. Thumos type anger
represents an agitated, vehement anger that rushes along relentlessly.
The root meaning has to do with moving rapidly and was used of a man’s
breathing violently while pursuing an enemy in great rage!
Orge of God describes the strongest kind of
anger which builds and builds until it reaches the end of God’s patience and tolerance
with unregenerate, unrepentant mankind and swells into His final,
furious anger which He pours out on all those who have persistently
rebelled against Him.
William Barclay writes
The Greeks defined thumos
as the kind of anger which is like the flame which comes from straw;
it quickly blazes up and just as quickly subsides. On the other hand,
they described ogre as anger which has become habitual...Orge
is anger which has become inveterate; it is long-lasting, slow-burning
anger, which refuses to be pacified and nurses its wrath to keep it
warm...To the Christian the burst of temper and the long-lived anger
are both alike forbidden." (Barclay,
W: The Daily Study Bible Series. The Westminster Press
Larry Richards in
describing God's anger writes that...
The OT clearly specifies what human
actions provoke God to anger. The NT treats wrath as a basic
relational state, showing that the unsaved are under God's wrath. But
God never acts capriciously in his anger. He always acts in full
harmony with his character as a loving, forgiving, compassionate, and
just person." (Richards,
L O: Expository Dictionary of Bible Words: Regency)
Arthur Pink defined God’s
His eternal detestation of all
unrighteousness. It is the displeasure and indignation of Divine
equity against evil. It is the holiness of God stirred into activity
against sin” (Arthur W. Pink, The Attributes of God, p83).
Bishop Trench defines
a wrath of God who would not love
good unless He hated evil, the two being inseparable, that He must do
both or neither.” Trench adds that
is an anger “which righteous men not merely may, but as they are
righteous, must feel; nor can there be a surer and sadder token of an
utterly prostrate moral condition than the not being able to be angry
with sin—and sinners” (Trench,
R. C. Synonyms of the New Testament. Hendrickson Publishers. 2000)
is used of our Lord when, after healing the man with the withered
hand, He observed the hardness of heart of the Pharisees, and looked
upon them with anger (Mk 3:5).
C H Spurgeon writes that...
The wrath of God does
not end with death. This is a truth which the preacher cannot mention
without trembling, nor without wondering that he does not tremble
more. The eternity of punishment is a thought which crushes the heart.
You have buried the man, but you have not buried his sins. His sins
live and are immortal. They have gone before
him to judgment, or they will follow after him to bear their witness
as to the evil of his heart and the rebellion of his life. The Lord
God is slow to anger, but when He is once aroused to it, as He will be
against those who finally reject his Son, he will put forth all his
omnipotence to crush his enemies." He adds that "I am certain that to
preach the wrath of God with a hard heart, a cold lip, a tearless eye,
and an unfeeling spirit is to harden men, not benefit them...The
conscience of man, when he is really quickened and awakened by the
Holy Spirit, speaks the truth. It rings the great alarm bell. And if
he turns over in his bed, that great alarm bell rings out again and
again, "The wrath to come! The wrath to come! The
wrath to come!...There is no trouble like genuine conviction of
sin. Racks, scorpions, death—these are troubles to be laughed at, as
compared with the weight of guilt pressing on the conscience, the
sight of an angry God, and the fear of the wrath to come."
J. I. Packer sounds a sad
note writing that
of divine wrath
has become taboo in modern society, and
Christians by and large have accepted the taboo and conditioned
themselves never to raise the matter (Knowing God, p. 149).
Vine has an interesting
insight writing that...
The subject of the
recurs throughout the first part of the Epistle
(1Th 2:5, 8; 3:5;
4:15; 5:9; 9:22). In this Epistle, which treats
especially of the gospel, the differing attributes of God are set
forth in a manner which reveals His character as a whole. While the
gospel reveals Him as infinitely merciful, His mercy is not
characterized by leniency toward sin. The Scriptures never reveal one
attribute of God at the expense of another. The revelation of His
wrath is essential to a right understanding of His ways in grace." (Vine,
W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson
The Shaw Pocket Bible
Handbook has the following note on "God's Wrath"...
In Scripture, God’s strong and
vigorous opposition to everything evil. There is a Greek verb that can
be used both of anger and of the swelling of buds as the sap rises. It
points to the kind of anger that results from a settled and consistent
disposition, and not to a losing of one’s temper. God’s wrath is
like that, rather than like human anger on a grand scale. With us,
wrath always has elements of passion, lack of self-control, and
irrationality. The wrath of God does not." (The Shaw Pocket Bible
Handbook, Walter A. Elwell, Ed, Harold Shaw Publ., Wheaton , IL; 1984)
The respected expositor
Albert Barnes writes that ...
It is clear that when we think of
the word “wrath” as applicable to God, it must be divested of
everything that is like human passion, and especially the passion of
revenge. It is one of the most obvious rules of interpretation that we
are not to apply to God passions and feelings which, among us, have
their origin in evil. [God’s wrath] is the opposition of the divine
character against sin; and the determination of the divine mind to
express that opposition in a proper way, by excluding the offender
from the favors which He bestows on the righteous. We admire the
character of a father who is opposed to disorder, vice, and
disobedience in his family, and who expresses his opposition in a
proper way. We admire the character of a ruler who is opposed to all
crime in the community, and who expresses those feelings in the law.
Why shall we not be equally pleased with God, who is opposed to all
crime in all parts of the universe, and who determines to express His
opposition in the proper way for the sake of preserving order and
A W Tozer said that...
The holiness of God, the wrath
of God and the health of the creation are inseparably united. Not
only is it right for God to display anger against sin, but I find it
impossible to understand how He could do otherwise
One of the great tragedies of
modern Christianity, which sadly has crept into much of
evangelicalism, is the failure to preach and teach the wrath of God
and the condemnation it brings upon all with unforgiven sin.
Instead how often does one hear a truncated, sentimental gospel that
is frequently presented today falls far short of the gospel that Jesus
and Paul proclaimed. Examine any 19th century Psalter and you will note
that many of the psalms in those hymnals emphasize the wrath of God,
just as much of the book of Psalms itself emphasizes His wrath. It is
tragic that few hymns or other Christian songs today reflect that
important biblical focus. Both the Old and New Testament consistently
emphasize God’s righteous wrath.
Ray Pritchard has the
following note on the forgotten doctrine of God's wrath declaring
It is truly a forgotten doctrine,
even in the evangelical church. I’ll dare say that many of you have
never heard a sermon on God’s
is, not a full sermon devoted to this one topic. The reasons for this
apparent neglect are not hard to find. Most of us would rather hear
about love and grace. I know I would rather preach about God’s grace.
After all, to speak of the
wrath of God
makes us appear narrow-minded, judgmental, and God help us,
wrath is difficult to
comprehend, so in some ways, this is a doctrine that is easy to
overlook. The thought that nice people we know might someday go to
eternal hell is so overwhelming—and so disheartening—that we’d much
rather not think about it at all." (Forgotten
Doctrine: The Wrath of God)
J C Philpot (Light
Affliction and Eternal Glory)
From the cradle to the coffin,
affliction and sorrow are the appointed lot of man. He comes into the
world with a wailing cry, and he often leaves it with an agonizing
groan! Rightly is this earth called "a valley of tears," for it is wet
with them in infancy, youth, manhood, and old age. In every land, in
every climate, scenes of misery and wretchedness everywhere meet the
eye, besides those deeper griefs and heart-rending sorrows which lie
concealed from all observation. So that we may well say of the life of
man that, like Ezekiel's scroll, it is "written with lamentations, and
mourning and woe."
But this is not all. The scene does not end here! We see up to death,
but we do not see beyond death.
To see a man die without Christ is like standing at a distance, and
seeing a man fall from a lofty cliff—we see him fall, but we do not
see the crash on the rocks below.
So we see an unsaved man die, but when we gaze upon the lifeless
corpse, we do not see how his soul falls with a mighty crash upon the
rock of God's eternal justice! When his temporal trials come to a
close, his eternal sorrows only begin! After weeks or months of
sickness and pain, the pale, cold face may lie in calm repose under
the coffin lid; when the soul is only just entering upon an eternity
But is it all thus dark and gloomy both in life and death? Is heaven
always hung with a canopy of black? Are there no beams of light, no
rays of gladness, that shine through these dark clouds of affliction,
misery, and woe that are spread over the human race?
Yes! there is one point in this dark scene out of which beams of light
and rays of glory shine! "God did not appoint us to suffer wrath, but
to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Thessalonians
BUT FOR OBTAINING SALVATION
THROUGH OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST: alla eis peripoiesin soterias dia tou
kuriou hemon Iesou Christou: (Romans11:7,30; 2Th 2:13,14;
1Ti 1:13,16; 2Ti 2:10; 1Pe 2:10; 2Pe 1:1)
But for obtaining - This
strong contrast introduces the positive aspect of God's intention for
believers - for obtaining salvation. This
could be rendered but for the purpose of experiencing salvation.
Note that he does not say "attain" but "obtain" for we can do nothing
to attain salvation.
Obtaining (4047) (peripoiesis
perí = acquisition + poiéo = make) means literally to
make around and the idea is the obtaining of something in its
completeness. It describes the act of
obtaining something or the experience of acquiring something for
oneself. The idea in 1Thes 5:9 is of the possessing of salvation
as our present property! It refers to the experience of an event or
state which has been acquired.
Peripoiesis - 5x in 5v in
the NAS - Eph. 1:14; 1Th 5:9; 2Th 2:14; He 10:39; 1Pe 2:9
Hiebert summarizes this next
section noting that...
The salvation He intends for us is
described as to its nature (1Th 5:9 ), its agent (1Th 5:9, 10),
and its goal (1Th 5:10)...those who obtain this salvation do so
according to the appointment and calling of God, hut they must make a
willing response to the call and exert personal effort toward its
realization. The divine calling necessitates a human response. While
salvation is of God, the actual gaining of our salvation as a personal
possession demands on our part "a wakeful, soldier like activity, such
as will be crowned by the 'winning of salvation,' the glorious end for
which 'God destined' them when He first 'called them to His own
kingdom and glory' (1Th 2:12)."
Each believer must give diligence
to make his calling and election sure (2Pe 1:10-note).
It seems clear from the hortatory nature of the context that the
emphasis here is upon the human activity needed actually to obtain the
salvation. Our versions accordingly use such terms as acquiring,
winning, and to gain salvation." Those who now by faith accept God's
salvation and actively endeavor to make it their personal possession
will enter into "the full attainment of salvation" (NEB) when the Lord
While diligent effort on the part
of believers is needed, the added phrase "through our Lord Jesus
Christ" leaves no uncertainty as to the real source of all salvation.
Salvation can only be obtained through Him. He is the Mediator of
salvation, and through Him, whom we have accepted as "our Lord," our
hope of salvation will assuredly be realized. (Hiebert, D. E. First and Second
Salvation (4991) (soteria
soter = Savior in turn from
sozo = save, rescue, deliver) (Click
here for in depth discussion of the
related terms, the noun Savior or
soter and the verb, to save or
sozo) describes the rescue or
deliverance from danger, destruction and peril.
Salvation is a broader term in Greek than we often think of in
English. Other concepts that are inherent in soteria include
restoration to a state of safety, soundness, health and well being as
well as preservation from danger of destruction.
The idea of salvation is
that the power of God rescues people from the penalty of sin, which is
spiritual death which is followed by eternal separation from the
presence of His Glory. Salvation delivers the believer from the
power of sin (see discussion on Romans 6-8 beginning at Ro 6:1, 2, 3-note)
F F Bruce observes that...
salvation in view here includes salvation from eschatological “wrath”
(cf. Ro 5:9-note,
quoted in comment on 1Th 1:10-note)
but positively it involves being raised to life with Christ. It is
that definitive and consummated salvation which, as Paul says in
another epistle, “is nearer to us now than when we first believed” (Ro
in a context where the same call for vigilance is sounded). Cf. 2Th
2:13, 14; also Heb 10:39-note,
where the peripoiesis psuches (“gaining of one’s soul”) through
faith is set in contrast with apoleia (“perdition”) through
term soteria, occurring in 1Th 5:8, 9 (and in 2Th 2:13), seems to be
used by Paul to include all the blessings of the gospel—present life
in Christ and future life with Christ, the indwelling Spirit
maintaining the former and guaranteeing the latter; redemption from
the mastery of sin, justification by faith, adoption into God’s
family, progressive conformity to the character of Christ,
preservation from the end-time “wrath” and the hope of glory.
conception of Salvation provides both a centre and a framework for all
the religious and ethical ideas which have real importance in
Christianity as St Paul understood it” (C. A. A. Scott, Christianity
according to St Paul, vii). (Bruce, F. F. Vol. 45: Word Biblical
Commentary : 1 and 2 Thessalonians. Word Biblical Commentary
Dallas: Word, Incorporated)
Comment: Notice how Bruce's amplification of the term "gospel" is
so much broader than we commonly think of it ... as the good news by
which we were first saved. And yet as Bruce so wisely reminds us, the
gospel is the good news by which we are saved not just the first time
(justification), but every day (progressive sanctification Romans 6-8)
and throughout eternity in glory (glorification).
carried tremendous meaning in Paul’s day, the most basic being deliverance,
and it was applied to personal and national deliverance. The Roman emperors
in fact were looked upon as "saviors". Physicians who healed
illness were also looked upon as saviors.
It is interesting that Collin's
(secular) dictionary defines salvation as
the act of preserving or the state
of being preserved from harm...deliverance by redemption from the
power of sin and from the penalties ensuing from it. (Excellent
In short, this so great a
salvation is not just escape from the penalty of sin but includes
the concepts of safety, deliverance from slavery and preservation from
danger or destruction.
In addition, this so great a
salvation includes the idea of what is often referred to as the
Three Tenses of Salvation
(justification = past tense salvation = deliverance from sin's
penalty, sanctification = present tense salvation = deliverance from
sin's power and glorification = future tense salvation = deliverance
from sin's presence). It follows that the discerning student will
check the context to determine which
of the three "tenses" a given use of soteria is referring to.
Here in 1Th 5:9 soteria
refers to future tense salvation as well as meaning #3 below.
The meaning of soteria can be
summarized by the following 3 aspects...
1) A physical deliverance -
rescue from danger deliverance, preservation, safety. For example the
writer of Hebrews records that...
By faith Noah, being warned by God
about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the
salvation (soteria) of his household, by which he condemned the
world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to
faith. (He 11:7-note)
2) A religious technical term
describing safety of the soul and so in a spiritual sense referring to
"(The preaching of John the Baptist
was) To give to His people the knowledge of salvation (soteria)
by the forgiveness of their sins" (Luke 1:77)
And there is salvation
(soteria) in no one else (other that Messiah); for there is no other
name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be
saved (sozo)." (Acts 4:12)
from childhood you (Timothy) have
known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that
leads to salvation (soteria) through faith which is in Christ
Jesus." (2Ti 3:15-note)
3) A Messianic deliverance
at the end of this present age.
"Christ also, having been offered
once to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time for
salvation (soteria) without reference to sin, to those who eagerly
await Him." (He 9:28-note)
And this do (do what? express agape
love which is unconditional), knowing the time, that it is already the
hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation (soteria)
is nearer to us than when we believed. (Ro 13:11-note)
(cf 1Th 5:9-note;
(Those "born again to a living
hope") are protected by the power of God through faith for a
salvation (soteria) ready to be revealed in the last time." (1Pe
soteria means rescue, preservation safe
and sound and
includes the idea of the delivering of one who is in danger from
destruction or peril or suffering (as will occur to those who do not
get rescued or escape from the Day of the Lord). (cf Re 3:10-note)
Through our Lord Jesus Christ
- Through = by means of. Paul specifies the Source of all salvation which can only be
obtained through Him and amplifies this with (1Th 5:10) explaining
that the Christ "opened" the door to paradise by His death and His
resurrection (clearly implied by the phrase "that ...we will live
together with Him" for He would have to have experienced resurrection
after His death for us to live with Him) . He is the Mediator of salvation
(1Ti 2:5, He 8:6-note,
He 12:24-note), and
Him, Whom we have accepted as "our Lord," our hope of salvation will
assuredly be realized.
Consider the following simple study
- observe and record the wonderful truths that accrue through Him
- this would make an edifying, easy to prepare Sunday School lesson - then
take some time to give thanks for these great truths by offering up a
sacrifice of praise...through Him.
[NIV reads "through Him"],
John 1:10, Jn 3:17, Jn 14:6, Acts 2:22, 3:16,
Acts 7:25, Acts 10:43, Acts 13:38, 39, Ro 5:9
[note], Ro 11:36 [note];
1Co 8:6, Ep 2:18
[note], Php 4:13
Would you like more study on the
wonderful topic of through Him?
Study also the
NT uses of the parallel phrase through Jesus (or similar
phrases - "through Whom", "through our Lord", etc) - John 1:17, Acts 10:36,
Ro 1:4, 5-
note; Ro 1:8-note,
Ro 5:2-note Ro 5:11-note,
1Cor 15:57, 2Cor 1:5, 3:4, 5:18, Gal 1:1, Eph 1:5-note,
1Th 5:9-note; Titus 3:6-note,
He 2:10-note, Heb 13:21-note,
All things are
from Him, through Him and to Him. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.
Spurgeon notes that...
making us children of light, he gave evidence that our appointment was
for the light — that his eternal ordinances were that through the
light of gospel grace we should enter into
the light of eternal glory by and by.
><> ><> ><>
Our Daily Walk - F B Meyer- The
Assurance of Salvation - "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the
Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him
from the dead, thou shalt be saved."-- Ro 10:9-note.
Salvation is a great word. It is
conjugated in three tenses:
The Past Tense - We were
saved at the moment when we first trusted Christ. This salvation is a
distinct and definite matter, which is ours at the moment we exercise
simple faith in Jesus. "Being now justified by His blood, we shall be
saved from wrath through Him" (see note
The Present Tense -
"To us who are being saved, Christ is the power of God," such is the
accurate rendering of 1Co 1:18. We are being saved perpetually from
the love and power of sin. The disinfectant of Christ's Presence is
ever warding off the germs of deadly temptation. The mighty arm of the
Divine Keeper is always holding the door against the attempts of the
adversary. The water is always flowing over the eye to remove the tiny
grit or mote that may alight. "We are being saved by His life" (Ro
The Future Tense -
We are being kept by the power of God unto a salvation which waits to
be revealed in the last time (1Pe
1:5-note). Salvation is a great word.
It includes the forgiveness that remembers our sin no more;
deliverance from the curse and penalty of our evil ways; emancipation
from the thrall of evil habit; the growing conformity of the soul to
the image of Christ, and the final resurrection of the body in
spiritual beauty and energy, to be for ever the companion and vehicle
of the redeemed spirit.
PRAYER: Oh blessed Spirit of God, we pray Thee to give us the
assurance of being the children of God, the sons and daughters of the
Lord God Almighty; and so prepare us for the glory to be revealed to
us, and for that great hour when the whole creation, which now groans
and travails in pain, shall be delivered from the bondage of
corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. AMEN.
(See related discussion on
Three Tenses of Salvation)
Devotional by Octavius Winslow
- For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by
our Lord Jesus Christ, - 1Th 5:9
Salvation is God's greatest work;
in nothing has He so manifested forth His glory as in this. He
embarked all His infinite resources, and staked all His Divine honor,
in the accomplishment of this work so dear to His heart-the salvation
of His church. The universe is full of His beauty, but myriads of
worlds, on a scale infinitely more vast and magnificent than this,
could give no such idea of God as the salvation of a single sinner.
Salvation required the revelation and the harmony of all the Divine
perfections. Creation affords only a partial view of God. It displays
His natural but not His moral attributes. It portrays His wisdom, His
goodness, His power; but it gives no idea of His holiness, His
justice, His truth, His love. It is but the alphabet, the shadow of
God. These are parts of His ways, and how little of Him is known! But
in the person of Immanuel, in the cross of Christ, in the finished
work of redemption, God appears in full-orbed majesty. And when the
believing soul surveys this wondrous expedient of reconciling all the
interests of heaven, of uniting all the perfection of Jehovah in the
salvation of sinners by the blood of the cross-"Mercy and truth
meeting together, righteousness and peace kissing each other"-it
exclaims in full satisfaction with the salvation of God-"Oh the depth
of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!"
The anxious question of an awakened soul, as it bears its weight of
sin to the cross, is, "Is the salvation of the Lord Jesus a work
commensurate with my case? Will it meet my individual condition as a
sinner? May I, in a deep conviction of my guiltiness, venture my soul
upon Jesus? Am I warranted, without a work of my own, apart from all
my merit or my demerit, to believe in Christ and indulge the hope that
I shall be saved?" The Bible, in brief but emphatic sentences, answers
these inquiries. "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be
saved." "Him that comes unto me I will in no wise cast out." "By grace
are you saved." "If by grace, then it is no more of works." "You are
complete in Him." The Holy Spirit giving the inquirer a possession of
these declarations, working the faith that receives the Lord Jesus
into the heart, the believing soul is enabled to say, "I see that it
is a salvation for sinners-for the vilest, the poorest, the most
unworthy. I came to Christ, and was received; I believed in Him,
rested in Him, and I am saved. Christ is mine, His salvation is mine,
His promises are mine, His advocacy is mine, His heaven is mine."
Dear Reader, is your soul saved? Are you converted by the Spirit of
God? Everything else in comparison is but as the bubble that floats
down the stream. This busy life will soon cease; its last thought, and
care, and anxiety will yield to the great, the solemn realities of
eternity. Are you ready for the result? Are you in a state of pardon,
of justification, of peace with God through Christ? How is it with
your soul? Will it be well with you in death, well with you after
death, well with you at the judgment-seat of Christ? Have you come to
the Lord Jesus as a Savior-to His blood for cleansing, to His
righteousness for acceptance, to His cross for shelter, to Himself for
rest? Have you fled as a sinner to Jesus as the Savior? Look these
questions, I beseech you, fairly, fully in the face, and answer them
in your own conscience, and as in view of that dread tribunal at whose
bar you will soon be cited. What if you should prosper in temporal and
be lean in spiritual?! What if you should pamper the body, and starve
the soul! What if you should gain the world-its riches, its honors,
its pleasures-and be yourself through eternity a castaway! To die in
your sins, to die without union to Christ, to die un-reconciled to
God, tremendous will be the consequences; so dire will be your
condition, so fearful and interminable your sufferings from the wrath
of a holy and righteous God, it would have been good for you never to
have been born. The unrighteous will be "punished with everlasting
destruction, from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His
But there is hope! Does this page meet the eye of a penitent
mourner-one whose heart is smitten with godly grief for sin? Be it
known you that the sacrifice of a broken heart and of a contrite
spirit God will not despise. Despise it! Oh, no! It is the precious,
holy fruit of His Spirit in your soul, and in His eye it is too holy,
too costly and too dear to be despised. Bring to Him that broken heart
and Jesus will bind it up, heal and fill it with joy, and peace, and
hope. It was His mission to receive and save sinners-it is His office
to receive and save sinners-it is His delight and glory to receive and
save sinners; and if you will but approach Him, exactly as you are, He
will receive and save you.
WHO DIED FOR US
THAT WHETHER WE ARE AWAKE OR ASLEEP
WE MAY LIVE TOGETHER WITH HIM: tou apothanontos (AAPMSG) huper hemon hina
eite gregoromen (1PPAS) eite katheudomen (1PPAS) hama sun auto zesomen.
(1PAAS): (Matthew 20:28; John 10:11,15,17; 15:13; Ro 5:6, 7,
8; 8:34; 14:8,9; 1Corinthians 15:3; 2Corinthians 5:15,21; Ep 5:2;
1Timothy 2:6; Titus 2:14; 1Peter 2:24; 3:18) (1Th 4:13,17)
The Cross supremely and
eternally manifests God's infinite mercy and grace to we who were
lost in Adam (Ro 5:12-note,
1Co 15:22) and were destined for a Christless eternity (cp 2Th 1:9, Mt
Sin always separates = Ge 3:8, 9, 4:14, 16, Mt 22:13)...amazing grace...
For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died
for the ungodly.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet
sinners, Christ died for us.
who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He Who died, yes, rather
Who was raised, Who is at the right hand of God, Who also intercedes
continually! Even as you are reading this great truth our the King is
pleading with His Father on our behalf! cp He 7:25-note)
1Cor 2:1 And when I came to you,
brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom,
proclaiming to you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined to know
nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also
received, that Christ died for (as our personal substitute) our sins
(substitutionary atonement) according to the Scriptures (i.e., this was
prophesied in the Old Testament - Isa 53:3, 4, 5,6)
For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so
that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the
flesh, but made alive in the spirit;
Who died (599)
(apothnesko from apo = intensifies meaning, away from +
thnesko = die) means literally to die off. It means to die a natural
death, applied to both men and animals stronger than thnesko
points back to Calvary as a historical fact. It asserts that He
"experienced death" (Berkeley Version) in all the grim reality of the
term. Furthermore the
points out that this Christ's choice to die for us. As Hiebert
He was not "killed" but was willing to die of His own accord. (Ibid)
The Cross of Christ is now and
forever the source of power for our supernatural life....
For the word of the Cross
is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being
saved ("Present Tense" Salvation- See
Three Tenses of Salvation) it is the
power of God. (1Co 1:18)
The Cross of Christ provides
not only the power but the motivation to live for
He died for all, so that they who
live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died
and rose again on their behalf. (2Cor 5:15)
The Cross of Christ means we
are now the personal property of the King of kings (!)...
Who gave Himself for us to redeem us
from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His
own possession (1Co 6:20, 7:23, 1Pe 2:9-note,
cp Lv 20:26, Dt 26:18, 19, Ex 19:6KJV), zealous for good deeds. (Titus
(huper) in this context means on our behalf, in our place, as our substitute.
It refers to truth of the vicarious death of Christ and His
substitutionary atonement. His substitutionary death was foreshadowed in
the OT where sin was pictured as a burden to be placed upon the head of
an animal prior to sacrificing, the animal's death representing the just
penalty for sin. In other words, the animal died in place of the sinner
who confessed his sins by placing his hands on the animal's head, which
symbolized the transfer of his sin to the substitute. (Cp Lv 4:4, 15,
He 10:1, 2, 3, 4) The sprinkling of
the blood of the sacrificed animal on the altar depicted atonement
indicating that the penalty of sin had been paid - Lv 17:11,12, 13, 14,
Ge 9:4, 5, 6, Dt 12:23). Christ died the death we should have died,
paying the penalty we should have paid that we might in Him live the
life He lives. As Irenaeus said “Christ became what we are, in order
that we might become what He is”.
The idea of Christ dying on behalf of
or for others is frequently expressed in the NT with a number of
phrases - the purpose of the death, Ro 14:9, He died, 2Co 5:15, He
tasted death, He 2:9, He suffered, 1Pe 2:21, He became a curse, Ga 3:13,
He offered Himself, Hebrews 9:14, He offered His body, Hebrews 10:10, He
laid down His life, 1Jn 3:16, cp. Jn 10:18, He gave His life a ransom,
Mt 20:28, He gave Himself, Ga 1:4, He gave Himself as a ransom,
1Ti 2:6, He gave Himself up, Ga 2:20.
Green observes that...
This is one of the few texts in the
Thessalonian letters where the author mentions the cross of Christ (see
1Th 2.15; 4.14), and the only place in these books where the purpose of
Christ’s death is explained (cf. Ro 14.9; 2Co 5.15, 21; Ga 1.4)... The
absence of a fuller elaboration of the theology of the cross at this
point implies that the first readers already understood the teaching
about the death of Christ. This was part of the initial instruction the
church had received (see Acts 17.3), and it became the foundation of the
church’s confession (1Th. 4.14). (Green, G. L. The Letters to the
Thessalonians. The Pillar New Testament commentary. Grand Rapids, Mich.;
Leicester, England: W. B. Eerdmans Pub.; Apollos)
So that (2443)
(hina) is a conjunction introducing a purpose clause, in this
case explaining the purpose of His death - that believers might live in
in Christ Jesus
[word study] from egeiro = to waken, to raise up, to rouse
from sleep) means to arouse from sleep and in context refers to those
who are still alive at the return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
(katheudo from katá = an intensifies meaning + heúdo = to sleep) to sleep,
fall asleep, be fast asleep and here is a figurative reference to
Paul's point again was that there
was no advantage or disadvantage for one class of believer (living) over
for us will not be determined whether we are "waking in life or sleeping
in death" (Moffatt). When our Lord returns, both the living and the dead
believers will receive their glorified bodies (1Co 15:51, 52, 53, 54; 1Th
4:16,17) and the grand purpose of God for us will be realized, "that ...
we may live together with him." Then both groups will enter into life in
all its fullness.
This was designed to calm their minds
in their trials, and to correct an error which seems to have prevailed
in the belief that those who were found alive when he should return,
would have some priority over those who were dead. (Albert Barnes.
Barnes NT Commentary)
Live together with Him - Observe how this statement clearly implies
Jesus did not just die on the Cross but was resurrected from the grace.
Williams renders this clause to "live in fellowship with
Him". The idea is to live in intimate (sun/syn
speaks of one mixed with another so that no one can tell the
difference from the other) fellowship with the very One Who Himself is
the very essence of eternal life (cp Jn 20:31, 1Jn 5:12, Col 3:4-note). Simply incomprehensible bliss! This
blessed eternal life will be realized when the Bridegroom returns for
His Bride, the church (see
The Jewish Wedding Analogy), and we receive our glorified bodies (1Co
15:51, 52, 53, 54, 1Th 4:16-
Peter explains that the Lamb
of God, the only begotten Son of God...
Himself bore our sins in His body on
the Cross, so that we might die to
(Justification - cp Ro 6:11-
and live (Progressive sanctification - cp Gal 2:20-
to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. (1Pe 2:24-
Comment: In this passage Peter
sums up the very heart of the Gospel of God. Be careful here - What is
the context? [Remembering context is king for accurate interpretation]?
"Sins...sin...righteousness" - so clearly Peter is not referring to
physical healing but to spiritual "healing" from the ravages of the "sin
Forever to "live in fellowship with
Him" (Williams) is the highest description of our apocalyptic salvation
in the Scriptures. This will be the very essence of eternal life.
In Romans Paul explains our
inextricably intertwined lives as believers writing that...
For not one of us lives for himself,
and not one dies for himself; 8 for if we live, we live for the Lord, or
if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are
the Lord's. 9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might
be Lord both of the dead and of the living. (Ro 14:7, 8, 9-note)
(zao) in this usage refers to the supernatural, spiritual,
eternal life available in union with Christ.
The verb live is in the
states is in the
First aorist active subjunctive
constative aorist covering all life (now and hereafter) together with
(hama sun as in 1Thes 4:17) Jesus.
(hama) is a marker of simultaneous occurrence, at the same time,
denoting the coincidence of two actions in time. Here it refers to those
who are alive and those who are dead. There would be no priority or
Him (hama sun auto) is a strong statement indicating that not
only will believers live with their Lord but also that both the
awake (living) and the asleep (dead) together will
be living with Him. The same idea of "togetherness" has seen in the
discussion of the rapture where Paul used hama to specify that both
living and dead will be caught up together (see note
Here Paul is saying that both the living and the dead, will be living
together, united with Him.
speaks of intimacy in contrast to the
other Greek preposition for with, meta, which speaks of nearness
without the idea of intimacy. An excellent illustration of this
difference is the two thieves on the Cross. The believing thief was
crucified (physically but more importantly spiritually) with (sun)
Christ (see word study on crucified with
while the other thief was crucified (physically next to) with
(meta) Christ. The first thief experienced intimate union with Christ,
while the second experienced only close proximity to Christ, the result
of which was eternal separation from Christ.
They who have
served their day and generation, when they sleep are
not parted from their Lord. They become not the
children of the darkness by that fact, for he died for
us, that whether we wake or sleep we should live
together with him. Whether we are living here or
living there, we shall still live together with him.
1Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore
just as you
Amplified: Therefore encourage (admonish, exhort) one another and
edify (strengthen and build up) one another, just as you are doing.
Bible - Lockman)
NLT: So encourage each other and build each other up,
just as you are already doing. (NLT
- Tyndale House)
Phillips: So go on cheering and strengthening each other
with thoughts like these, as I have no doubt you have been doing.
Wuest: Wherefore, be encouraging one another and be building
one another up, one believer the other believer, even as also you are
Young's Literal: wherefore, comfort ye one another, and build
ye up, one the one, as also ye do.
ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER
AND BUILD UP ONE ANOTHER JUST AS YOU ALSO ARE DOING: Dio parakaleite
(2PPAM) allelous kai oikodomeite (2PPAM) eis ton ena, kathos kai poieite.
4:18) (Hebrews 3:13; 10:25) (Ro 14:19; 15:2; 1Co 10:23; 14:5,12,29; 2Co
12:19; Ep 4:12,16,29; 1Ti 1:4; Jude 1:20) (1Th 4:10; Ro 15:14; 2Pe 1:12)
Therefore (dio) is a
conjunction meaning on account of such a thing, for this reason or for this
purpose. Therefore because of the foundational truth regarding our blessed hope
just explained, Paul now issues a two part exhortation. Doctrine always
precedes duty. Our belief is the foundation for our behavior
Both verbs in this
exhortation are in the
signaling that they are
both commands to continually carry out the tasks of encouraging and
edifying. Both are always needed by day people who are surrounded by
night people and who live in a world of ever increasing spiritual
Thomas Watson writes that
In other races, many times, one
hinders another; but, in the race to heaven, one Christian helps
another. 1Th 5:11, "So encourage each other and build each other up,
just as you are already doing." One Christian helps by his prayer,
advice, and example—to confirm another. What is the fellowship of
saints, but one Christian helping forward another in the heavenly race?
The more of this the better.
Christian people should constantly converse with one another for mutual
Encouragement should not be an
intermittent occurrence but a daily occupation and it should be an ever
increasing occupation in view of the fact that each day draws us one day
closer to the return of Christ.
But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still
called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the
deceitfulness of sin. (See
The Deceitfulness of Sin)
(Context = He 10:24) not forsaking our own assembling together (it's
difficult to encourage one another if we don't assemble together), as is
the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more
as you see the day (of the Lord's return) drawing near. (Older
men who have walked with Christ for a decade or more, let me ask you -
Are you discipling the next generation?
cp Mt 28:18, 19, 20).
Encourage one another -
Earlier Paul used this same verb with the idea of comforting one
another. Hiebert notes that...
Many commentators, and most of our
modern versions, " hold that the better rendering is "encourage," since
the section being concluded is definitely calculated to cheer the hearts
of the readers and to encourage them to diligence in their Christian
life. But comfort as well as encouragement may well be implied in the
verb, depending upon the individual need. (Ibid)
After explaining that no believer
will has to grieve as does the unbelieving world which has no hope Paul
explained the Rapture and then said...
one another with these words. (1Th 4:18-note)
God comforts believers so that we
might comfort others -- a clear responsibility for every Christian as
Paul explains in his second epistle to the Corinthians...
Blessed be the God and Father of our
Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort who
comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort
those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves
are comforted by God. (2 Corinthians 1:3, 4)
The writer of Hebrews gave a
Let us hold fast the confession of
our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us
consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not
forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but
encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing
near. (See notes
(Comment: So as we see the imminent return of Jesus drawing
closer day by day, we are to encourage one another even more.)
Encourage (3870) (parakaleo
[word study] from
para = side of, alongside, beside +
kaleo [ word study]
= call) means literally
to call one alongside, to call someone to oneself, to call for, to
summon. Parakaleo can include the idea of giving help or aid but
the primary sense in the NT is to urge someone to take some action,
especially some ethical course of action. Sometimes the word means
convey the idea of comfort, sometimes of exhortation but always at the
root there is the idea of enabling a person to meet some difficult
situation with confidence and with gallantry.
Kent Hughes illustrates the root idea of parakaleo
"to come alongside and encourage" with the following example
I see this exemplified every time my
church has a roller skating party, and the parents put their little ones
on skates for the first time. Mom and Dad skate with their child, holding
on to his or her hands, sometimes with the child’s feet on the ground and
sometimes in the air. But all the time the parents are alongside
encouraging....[exhortation] is a wonderful gift, and we are to place
it at Christ’s feet and be willing to be worn out in its use.
Paul uses parakaleo over 50
times and his specific meaning is determined from the context - Ro 12:1,
8; 15:30; 16:17; 1Co. 1:10; 4:13, 16; 14:31; 16:12, 15; 2 Co. 1:4, 6;
2:7f; 5:20; 6:1; 7:6f, 13; 8:6; 9:5; 10:1; 12:8, 18; 13:11; Ep 4:1;
6:22; Phil. 4:2; Col. 2:2; 4:8; 1Th 2:12; 3:2, 7; 4:1, 10, 18; 5:11, 14;
2Th 2:17; 3:12; 1Ti 1:3; 2:1; 5:1; 6:2; 2Ti 4:2; Titus 1:9; 2:6, 15;
Philemon 1:9, 10.
historian described a military regiment which had lost heart and was
utterly dejected. The general sent a leader to talk to it to such
purpose that courage was reborn and a body of dispirited men became fit
again for heroic action.
With what truth were they to encourage and build up one another?
They were to remind each other of the
confidence that they could look to the future, knowing that
because Christ died for them and now lived in them, they would never know the
of God which would be meted out in the day of the Lord. The
Blessed Hope of the Lord’s Return should encourage every believer to
resist the spirit of the dark age in which we live.
(allelon) means each other and speaks of a mutuality or sharing
of sentiments between two persons or groups of persons. Allelon is a
reciprocal pronoun which denotes that the encouragement and edification
is to be a mutual beneficial activity. As each one encourages and
edifies the other, they will both benefit. This is the description of a
healthy physical body and here of a healthy spiritual body or church. We
have all experienced that when we have come to the aid of a brother or
sister in regard to their spiritual life, we have invariably received a
blessing to our own life.
One another is a common
Pauline phrase with most but not all the occurrences being descriptive
of some aspect of the body of Christ, the Church. As such, this list
would make an excellent Sunday School study, stopping at each one
another to ponder whether the specific trait is being manifested in
your local body and if it is a desirable trait seeking to
excel still more.
for the list of the
one another's in the Pauline epistles (note: not all refer to
believers but you can readily determine the intended audience from the
context. Note also that Studylight assigns the authorship of Hebrews to
Paul but I do not agree with their assignment).
for the one another's in the
Build up (3618) (oikodomeo from oikos = dwelling +
doma = building [of a house] from demo = to build - see
word study on derivative verb
means literally to build, construct or erect a dwelling. Oikodomeo
is used here as a metaphor meaning to build up, establish, confirm,
edify. See Alexander Maclean's sermon below on
The church is not to be a place of
passive absorption but of active participation in the lives of others.
Oikodomeo - 40x in 38v in
the NAS - Mt. 7:24, Mt 7:26; Mt 16:18; 21:33, 42; 23:29; 26:61; 27:40;
Mk. 12:1, 10; 14:58; 15:29; Lk. 4:29; 6:48, 49, 7:5; 11:47, 48; 12:18; 14:28,
30; 17:28; 20:17; Jn. 2:20; Acts 7:47, 49; 9:31; 20:32; Ro 15:20; 1Co. 8:1, 10; 10:23; 14:4, 17; Ga 2:18; 1Th 5:11; 1Pe 2:5, 7.
The NAS renders
oikodomeo as build(13), builders(4), building(2), built(10),
edified(1), edifies(3), edify(1),rebuild(4), strengthened(1).
Webster's dictionary says our English
edify is derived from the Latin aedificare to instruct or
improve spiritually, in turn from Latin, to erect a house, in turn from
aedes temple, house. What a picture of the power of Spirit saturated
believers on their brethren.
Vine summarizes the word group of
(noun) and oikodomeo (verb) noting that these is used...
both in a literal sense, Mt 7:24; Lk 4:29, and in a figurative, Ac
20:32; Ga 2:18. The corresponding noun, oikodome, building,
edification, is used in a similar way, literally, Matthew 24:1 (noun -
figuratively, Ro 14:19 (noun -
The word expresses the strengthening effect
of teaching, 1Co 14:3 (noun -
oikodome), and example, 1Co 10:23, upon oneself and upon
others, 1Co 14:4, whether for good, 2Co 10:8, or for evil, 1Co 8:10,
“emboldened.” From the familiar spectacle of building operations it
transfers to the spiritual realm the idea of assured progress as the
result of patient labor. The word is used of national life, Mt 21:42,
and of church life, Ac 9:31, as well as of the individual, Ro 15:2 (noun
is used of the “Church which is His Body” in Mt 16:18; Ep 4:12
cp. 1Pe 2:5, and of the local church in 1Co 3:9; 14:5, 12; Ep 2:21 (noun
it describes the resurrection body, 2Co 5:1. God is said to be the
Builder, in 1Co 3:9 (noun -
oikodome); Christ in Mt 16:18; Paul in Ro 15:20, cp. 1Co
3:10; 2Co 10:8; 13:10 (both use the noun -
oikodome); the “gifts” of the ascended Lord are the builders
in Ep 4:12 (noun -
oikodome), cp. 1Co 14:12; individual believers, here; and in Ep 4:16
the church is said to build itself up in love. Building up is effected
by: (1) love, 1Co 8:1, cp. Ep 4:16 (noun -
oikodome): (2) prophesying, 1Co 14:3, 4
(noun in 14:3 -
exhortation, 1Th 5:11, cp. He 10:25.
W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson
It has been stated that
is always a social word, having
regard to the mutual improvement of members of the Church, and the
growth of the whole body in faith and love. (Howson, John: The Metaphors
of St Paul and Companions of St Paul)
In Romans Paul exhorted the
So then let us pursue the things
which make for peace and the building up (oikodome) of one
another. (Ro 14:19-note)
Paul used oikodomeo in his last words
of warning to the Ephesian elders (if you are an elder beloved, hearken
to his wise words)...
And now I commend you (literally -
set you before) to God and to the word of His grace, which is able
(dunamai - has the capacity or power to) to build you up
(oikodomeo) and to give you the inheritance among all those who are
sanctified. (Acts 20:32)
Believers do not need to be hearing
something new all the time, but they do need to remind themselves of
what they already know so that they do not forget it. This verse gives
some insight into the meetings of the early church. They included
opportunity for mutual edification among the believers. Mutual
encouragement and edification are still needed in every local church.
And encouragement and edification with reference to their hope in
Christ’s return is especially needed.
Just as you also are doing -
Paul as a wise father in the faith, again recognizes the efforts of the
believers to excel still more, which can only serve to spur them onward
were actively and habitually accomplishing these tasks. But Paul's
desire was for them to excel still more...
(Paul prays for them) and may the
Lord cause you to increase and abound (excel) in love for
one another, and for all men, just as we also do for you; 13 so that He
may establish your hearts unblamable in holiness before our God and
Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints. (see notes
(Comment: One of the ways their love for one another was being shown was
in their mutual encouragement and edification)
Finally then, brethren, we request
and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that, as you received from us
instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you
actually do walk), that you may excel still more. (see note
That this activity of mutual
edification was carried forward in their assemblies is obvious. But it
seems implied that the believers also took advantage of occasions of
private conversation to talk about these subjects for mutual
strengthening. Wherever believers encourage and strengthen each other in
private conversation as well as in their assemblies by considering the
eschatological truths that have been presented in these two paragraphs,
there will he a healthy and flourishing church. (Hiebert,
D. Edmond: 1 & 2 Thessalonians: BMH Book. 1996)
The knowledge of the truth is one
thing; the Christian use of it is another: if we cannot help one another
very much with the first, there is more in our power with regard to the
last. We are not ignorant of Christ’s second coming; of its awful and
consoling circumstances; of its final judgment and final mercy; of its
final separations and final unions. Why have these things been revealed
to us? What influence are they meant to have in our lives? They ought to
be consoling and strengthening. They ought to banish hopeless sorrow.
They ought to generate and sustain an earnest, sober, watchful spirit;
strong patience; a complete independence of this world. It is left to us
as Christian men to assist each other in the appropriation and
application of these great truths. Let us fix our minds upon them. Our
salvation is nearer than when we believed. Christ is coming. There will
be a gathering together of all His people unto Him. The living and the
dead shall be forever with the Lord. Of the times and the seasons we can
say no more than could be said at the beginning; the Father has kept
them in His own power; it remains with us to watch and be sober; to arm
ourselves with faith, love, and hope; to set our mind on the things that
are above, where our true country is, whence also we look for the
Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. (Expositor's Commentary)
Helping Hand -
An 89-year-old man who enjoys creating new words to describe old
problems calls a person who finds fault with everything an
againstovist. "Whatever you suggest," he says, "that person is
against it, and will find something wrong with everything you do."
I have pondered his words and too often find myself guilty of being the
kind of person he describes. What I would like to call being a "realist"
is, in truth, more like being an "againstovist." And that is not
pleasing to God.
In the 58th chapter of Isaiah, the prophet said that the sacrificial
lifestyle God desires includes: "to undo the heavy burdens, to let the
oppressed go free" (Isaiah 58:6), to "take away the yoke from your
midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness" (Isaiah
If I'm oppressing someone by my critical spirit and stinging words, then
God says it's time for me to change. He doesn't want me to find fault;
He wants me to give freedom and release. Instead of pointing an accusing
finger, I am to lend a helping hand.
I can't think of a new word to describe the person who lifts burdens and
gives freedom, but I'm sure my friend can. And I hope that word
describes me. — David McCasland (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
It was only a sunny
And little it cost in the giving,
But it scattered the night like morning light
And made the day worth living. —Anon.
Build people up—don't tear them down.
What Type Are
You? - There are two types of people in the world," someone once
said, "those who come into a room and say, 'Here I am!' and those who
come in and say, 'Ah, there you are!'"
How different are those two approaches! One says, "Look at me! I need
attention"; the other says, "Tell me about yourself." One says, "I'm
important"; the other says, "You are important." One says, "The world
revolves around me"; the other says, "I'm here to serve you."
Wouldn't it be great to be known as that second kind of person—someone
others love to have around? Someone who displays the love of Christ
openly and unashamedly?
The New Testament gives us some practical suggestions about becoming the
kind of person who demonstrates Christ's love. We are told to give
preference to one another (Ro 12:10-note),
edify one another (Ro 14:19-note),
care for one another (1Co 12:25), serve one another (Ga
5:13), bear one another's burdens (Ga 6:2), forgive one another
comfort one another (1Th 5:11), and pray for one another
There should be only one kind of Christian: the "love one another" kind.
What type are you? —Dave Branon (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
Lord, teach us the
secret of loving,
The love You are asking today;
Then help us to love one another;
For this we most earnestly pray. —Anon.
People with a heart for God have a heart for people.
><> ><> ><>
Alexander Maclaren preached the following sermon
on 1 Thessalonians 5:11...
DO not intend to preach about that clause only, but I take it
as containing, in the simplest form, one of the Apostle’s favourite
metaphors which runs through all his ‘letters, and the significance of
which, I think; is very little grasped by ordinary readers.
‘Edify one another.’ All metaphorical words tend to lose their light and
colour, and the figure to get faint, in popular understanding. We all
know that’ edifice’ means a building; we do not all realize that ‘edify’
means to build up. And it is a great misfortune that our Authorized
Version, in accordance with the somewhat doubtful principle on which its
translators proceeded, varies the rendering of the one Greek word so as
to hide the frequent recurrence of it in the apostolic teaching. The
metaphor that underlies it is the notion of building up a structure. The
Christian idea of the structure to be built up is that it is a temple. I
wish in this sermon to try to bring out some of the manifold lessons and
truths that lie in this great figure, as applied to the Christian life.
Now, glancing over the various uses of the phrase in the New Testament,
I find that the figure of ‘ building,’ as the great duty of the
Christian life, is set forth under three aspects; serf-edification,
united edification, and divine edification. And I purpose to look at
these in order.
I. First, self-edification.
According to the ideal of the Christian life that runs through the New
Testament, each Christian man is a dwelling-place of God’s, and his work
is to build himself up into a temple worthy of the divine indwelling.
Now, I suppose that the metaphor is such a natural and simple one that
we do not need to look for any Scriptural basis of it. But if we did, I
should be disposed to find it in the solemn antithesis with which the
Sermon on the Mount is closed, where there are the two houses pictured,
the one built upon the rock and standing firm, and the other built upon
the sand. But that is perhaps unnecessary.
We are all builders; Building up — what? Character. ourselves. But what
sort of a thing is it that we are building? Some of us pigsties, in
which gross, swinish lusts-wallow in filth; some of us shops; some of us
laboratories, studies, museums; some of us amorphous structures that
cannot be described. But the Christian man is to be building himself up
into a temple of God. The aim which should ever burn clear before us,
and preside over even our smallest actions, is that which lies in this
misused old word, ‘edify’ yourselves.
The first thing about a structure is the foundation And Paul was narrow
enough to believe that the one foundation upon which a human spirit
could be built up into a hallowed character is Jesus Christ. He is the
basis of all our certitude. He is the anchor for all our hopes. To Him
should be referred all our actions; for Him and by Him our lives should
be lived. On Him should rest, solid and inexpugnable, standing
foursquare to all the winds that blow, the fabric of our characters.
Jesus Christ is the pattern, the motive which impels, and the power
which enables, me to rear myself into a habitation of God through the
Spirit. Whilst I gladly acknowledge that very lovely structures may be
reared upon another foundation than Him, I would beseech you all to lay
this on your hearts and consciences, that for the loftiest, serenest
beauty of character there is but one basis upon which it can be rested.
‘Other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus
Then there is another aspect of this same metaphor, not in Paul’s
writings but in another part of the New Testament, where we read: ‘Ye,
beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith.’ So that, in a
subordinate sense, a man’s faith is the basis upon which he can build
such a structure of character; or, to put it into other words — in
regard to the man himself, the first requisite to the rearing of such a
fabric as God will dwell in is that he, by his own personal act of
faith, should have allied himself to Jesus Christ, who is the
foundation; and should be in a position to draw from Him all the power,
and to feel raying out from Him all the impulses, and lovingly to
discern in Him all the characteristics, which make Him a pattern for all
men in their building.
The first course of stone that we lay is Faith; and that course is, as
it were, mortised into the foundation, the living Rock He that builds on
Christ cannot build but by faith. The two representations are
complementary to one another, the one, which represents Jesus Christ as
the foundation, stating the ultimate fact, and the other, which
represents faith as the foundation, stating the condition on which we
come into vital contact with Christ Himself.
Then, further, in this great thought of the Christian life being
substantially a building up of oneself on Jesus is implied the need for
continuous labour. You cannot build up a house in half an hour. You
cannot do it, as the old fable told us that Orpheus did, by music, or by
wishing. There must be dogged, hard, continuous, life-long effort if
there is to be this building up. No man becomes a saint per saltum. No
man makes a character at a flash. The stones are actions; the mortar is
that mystical, awful thing, habit; and deeds cemented together by custom
rise into that stately dwelling-place in which God abides. So, there is
to be a life-long work in character, gradually rearing it into His
The metaphor also carries with it the idea of orderly progression. There
are a number of other New Testament emblems which set forth this notion
of the true Christian ideal as being continual growth. For instance,
‘first the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear,’
represents it as resembling vegetable growth, while elsewhere it is
likened to the growth of the human body. Both of these are beautiful
images, in that they suggest that such progressive advance-sent is the
natural consequence of life; and is in one aspect effortless and
But then you have to supplement that emblem with others, and there comes
in sharp contrast to it the metaphor which represents the Christian
progress as being warfare. There the element of resistance is emphasised,
and the thought is brought out that progress is to be made in spite of
strong antagonisms, partly to be found in external circumstances, and
partly to be found in our own treacherous selves. The growth of the corn
or of the body does not cover the whole facts of the case but there must
be warfare in order to growth.
There is also the other metaphor by which this Christian progress, which
is indispensable to the Christian life, and is to be carried on,
whatever may oppose it, is regarded as a race. There the idea of the
great, attractive, but far-off future reward comes into view, as well as
the strained muscles and the screwed-up energy with which the runner
presses towards the mark. But we have not only to fling the result
forward into the future, and to think of the Christian life as all
tending towards an end, which end is not realised here; but we have to
think of it, in accordance with this metaphor of my text, as being
continuously progressive, so as that, though unfinished, the building is
there; and much is done, though all is not accomplished, and the courses
rise slowly, surely, partially realising the divine Architect’s ideal,
long before the head-stone is brought out with shoutings and tumult of
acclaim. A continuous progress and approximation towards the perfect
ideal of the temple completed, consecrated, and inhabited by God, lies
in this metaphor.
Is that you, Christian man and woman? Is the notion of progress a part
of your working belief? Are you growing, fighting, running, building up
yourselves more and more in your holy faith? Alas! I cannot but believe
that the very notion of progress has died out from a great many
There is one more idea in this metaphor of self-edification, viz., that
our characters should be being modelled by us on a definite plan, and
into a harmonious whole. I wonder how many of us in this chapel this
morning have ever spent a quiet hour in trying to set clearly before
ourselves what we want to make of ourselves, and how we mean to go about
it. Most of us live by haphazard very largely, even in regard to outward
things, and still more entirely in regard to our characters. Most of us
have not consciously before us, as you put a pattern-line before a child
learning to write, any ideal of ourselves to which we are really seeking
to approximate. Have you? And could you put it into words? And are you
making any kind of intelligent and habitual effort to get at it? I am
afraid a great many of us, if we were honest, would have to say, No! If
a man goes to work as his own architect, and has a very hazy idea of
what it is that he means to build, he will not build anything worth the
trouble. If your way of building up yourselves is, as Aaron said his way
of making the calf was, putting all into the fire, and letting chance
settle what comes out, nothing will come out better than a calf.
Brother! if you are going to build, have a plan, and let the plan be the
likeness of Jesus Christ. And then, with continuous work, and the
exercise of continuous faith, which knits you to the foundation, ‘build
up yourselves for an habitation of God.’
II. We have to consider united edification.
There are two streams of representation about this matter in the Pauline
Epistles, the one with which I have already been dealing, which does not
so often appear, and the other which is the habitual form of the
representation, according to which the Christian community, as a whole,
is a temple, and building up is a work to be done reciprocally and in
We have that representation with special frequency and detail in the
Epistle to the Ephesians, where perhaps we may not be fanciful in
supposing that the great prominence given to it, and to the idea of the
Church as the temple of God, may have been in some degree due to the
existence, in that city, of one of the seven wonders of the world, the
Temple of Diana of the Ephesians.
But, be that as it may, what I want to point out is that united building
is inseparable from the individual building up of which I have been
Now, it is often very hard for good, conscientious people to determine
how much of their efforts ought be given to the perfecting of their own
characters in any department, and how much ought to be given to trying
to benefit and help other people. I wish you to notice that one of the
most powerful ways of building up myself is to do my very best to build
up others. Some, like men in my position, for instance, and others whose
office requires them to spend a great deal of time and energy in the
service of their fellows, are tempted to devote themselves too much to
building up character in other people, and to neglect their own. It is a
temptation that we need to fight against, and which can only be overcome
by much solitary meditation Some of us, on the other hand, may be
tempted, for the sake of our own perfecting, intellectual cultivation,
or improvement in other ways, to minimise the extent to which we are
responsible for helping and blessing other people. But let us remember
that the two things cannot be separated; and that there is nothing that
will make a man more like Christ, which is the end of all our building,
than casting himself into the service of his fellows with self-oblivion.
Peter said, ‘Master! let us make here three tabernacles.’ Ay! But there
was a demoniac boy down below, and the disciples could not cast out the
demon. The Apostle did not know what he said when he preferred building
up himself, by communion With God and His glorified servants, to
hurrying down into the valley, where there were devils to fight and
broken hearts to heal Build up yourselves, by all means; if you do you
will have to build up your brethren. ‘The edifying of the body of
Christ’ is a plain duty which no Christian man can neglect without
leaving a tremendous gap in the structure which he ought to rear.
The building resulting from united edification is represented in
Scripture, not as the agglomeration of a number of little shrines, the
individuals, but as one great temple. That temple grows in two respects,
both of which carry with them imperative duties to us Christian people.
It grows by the addition of new stones. And so every Christian is bound
to seek to gather into the fold those that are wandering far away, and
to lay some stone upon that sure foundation. It grows, also, by the
closer approximation of all the members one to another, and the
individual increase of each in Christ-like characteristics. And we are
bound to help one another therein, and to labour earnestly for the
advancement of our brethren, and for the unity of God’s Church. Apart
from such efforts our individual edifying of ourselves will become
isolated, the results one-sided, and we ourselves shall lose much of
what is essential to the rearing in ourselves of a holy character. ‘
What God hath joined together let not man put asunder.’ Neither seek to
build up yourselves apart from the community, nor seek to build up the
community apart from yourselves
III. Lastly, the Apostle, in his writings, sets forth another aspect
of this general thought, viz., divine edification.
When he spoke to the elders of the church of Ephesus he said that Christ
was able ‘to build them up.’ When he wrote to the Corinthians he said,
‘Ye are God’s building.’ To the Ephesians he wrote, ‘Ye are built for an
habitation of God through the Spirit.’ And so high above all our
individual and all our united effort he carries up our thoughts to the
divine Master-builder, by whose work alone a Paul, when he lays the
foundation, and an Apollos, when he builds thereupon, are of any use at
Thus, dear brethren, we have to base all our efforts on this deeper
truth, that it is God who builds us into a temple meet for Himself, and
then comes to dwell in the temple that He has built.
So let us keep our hearts and minds expectant of, and open for, that
Spirit’s influences. Let us be sure that we are using all the power that
God does give us, His work does not supersede mine. My work is to avail
myself of His. The two thoughts are not contradictory. They correspond
to, and fill out, each other, though warring schools of one-eyed
theologians and teachers have set them in antagonism. ‘Work out.., for
it is God that worketh in.’ That is the true reconciliation. ‘Ye are
God’s building; build up yourselves in your most holy faith.’
If God is the builder, then boundless, indomitable hope should be ours.
No man can look at his own character, after all his efforts to mend it,
without being smitten by a sense of despair, if he has only his own
resources to fall back upon. Our experience is like that of the monkish
builders, according to many an old legend, who found every morning that
yesterday’s work had been pulled down in the darkness by demon hands.
There is no man whose character is anything more than a torso, an
incomplete attempt to build up the structure that was in his mind — like
the ruins of half-finished palaces and temples which travellers came
across sometimes in lands now desolate, reared by a forgotten race who
were swept away by some unknown calamity, and have left the stones
half-lifted to their courses, half-hewed in their quarries, and the
building gaunt and incomplete. But men will never have to say about any
of God’s architecture, He ‘began to build and was not able to finish.’
As the old prophecy has it, ‘His hands have laid the foundation of the
house, His hands shall also finish it.’ Therefore, we are entitled to
cherish endless hope and quiet confidence that we, even we, shall be
reared up into an habitation of God through the Spirit.
What are you building? ‘Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone.’
Let every man take heed what and how and that he buildeth thereon.
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