christine's bible study

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. Isa 40:8

1 thessalonians 4, the will of God

Read 1 Thessalonians 4 at Bible Gateway.

"For this is the will of God: your sanctification."

A major chiastic structure of 1 The 4 is:

1 The 4:1-12
1a) 1 The 4:1-2, Abound more and more + how you ought to walk + know the commandments;
1b) 1 The 4:3-6a, God wills your sanctification + abstain from immorality and lust (false love);
1c) 1 The 4:6b, We warned you that the Lord will avenge;
central axis) 1 The 4:7, For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness;
2c) 1 The 4:8, Warning not to reject God;
2b) 1 The 4:9-10, Taught by God to love one another in brotherly love (true love);
2a) 1 The 4:10-12, Increase more and more + as we commanded + walk properly.

I was taught as a young believer that no where in the Bible does God clearly say, “This is My will:” except for in the next chapter, when Paul writes, “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” We can plainly see that this teaching is untrue, for not only does Paul expound in many places throughout the epistles, that it is will of God that we increase in sanctification, followed by examples of what such a sanctified life would look like (as in today’s reading), but Jesus also did not mince words about the matter. Nor, if anyone reads the Bible for themselves, does Moses, nor do the Psalms, the Proverbs, or the Prophets.

We can know the will of God. It begins with His general will for all mankind: do not worship idols, honor the Sabbath day to keep it holy, do not murder, do not steal, and so on as the Ten Commandments summarize. If someone were seeking the direction of God’s will for their life, start there! Learn the general will of God for all mankind and begin to implement it. The people who actually do this are relatively few and far between, and when someone sets their heart on obedience to God, believe me, it gets His attention.

Then as that person asks and keeps on asking for revelation of His specific and individual will for them, I think they would find God to not be slow in answering that prayer. Why does the process start with His general will? Because the one who is willing to start there, is willing to begin at the beginning of wisdom (Psa 111:10), and they open themselves up for greater and greater wisdom as they progress.

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