! Thessalonians 4:6
1 Thessalonians 4:1 - 18
NASB - 1 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 excel still more. 2 For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.
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This chapter has nothing to do with punishment towards believers, which would defeat the purpose of having a savior in Jesus Christ. Paul is asking believers to grow in their faith and abstain from the previous sinful acts they performed while in the entrapment of their sinful flesh and prior to finding salvation. The love of God is the motivating factor that gives us the power to love Him in return. We then desire to live as righteously as possible for God post-salvation. We look to the shed blood of Jesus Christ as our reminder, and to know with certainty just how much God truly loves us (Rom 5:8). We will not be punished for our failures during our walk in faith, as Christ alone took the punishment on the cross that we deserve (Rom 3:25). We are humans born into a sinful nature (Rom 5:12). Because of this we will simply fail on our own accord. Jesus Christ is the true and only remedy from our sinful human selves. Our acknowledgement of this, knowing that we ALL need God's help, is the first step in finding hope through our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. The blood that Christ shed for us on the cross is God's offer of reconciliation to all mankind as He forgave the world of all our trespasses that day (Eph 1:7, Col 1:14, 2 Cor 5:19). It is by belief in this that we avoid God's punishment and find eternal salvation (Eph 2:8-9). Rom 7:14-25 "For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin." Jesus Christ, who knew no sin, was made to be sin for us (2 Cor 5:21). It is having faith in His death, burial, and resurrection that protects and seals us for eternity (1 Cor 15:1-4). Notice 1 chapter later: 1 Thes 5:9-11 "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. 11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do." We would find no comfort if believing that God will some day still punish us for our sins, failures, and iniquities. Find true peace knowing that Jesus Christ took care of all of that for us on the cross! He alone finished the work that we are incapable of doing.
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