Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sunday Explanatory Notes: 1 Thessalonians 5

It's a little funny to me that the first whole book of explanatory notes I finish would be 1 Thessalonians. I spent lots of time on Hebrews, but still lack three chapters. I spent a while on Philippians, but lack about a chapter. I have most of Galatians. But the one I actually finish first proves to be 1 Thessalonians. Oh well.

Here are the links to earlier chapters, and I suppose I'll eventually put the whole thing on my archive site.

1 Thessalonians 1
1 Thessalonians 2:1-16
1 Thessalonians 2:17-3:13
1 Thessalonians 4

And now, 1 Thessalonians 5:
_________
5:1-2 Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you do not have need to write to you for you yourselves know accurately that the Day of the Lord comes as a thief in the night.
After writing of the nature of the resurrection of the dead corpses of believers in 4:13-18, Paul proceeds to discuss the timing of the Lord Jesus' arrival, as well as readiness for living believers. The Day of the Lord, of his parousia, his return from heaven and the Day of Judgment, will come without clear warning. It will come like a thief.

A thief does not announce his (or in theory her) arrival. Similarly, the Lord's arrival will not come on any precise schedule that believers might know or find out.

The fact that the Thessalonians do know these things accurately confirms our initial hunch that Paul's preaching in Thessalonica focused on the arrival of Christ to judge the world and save those who believe. He did not teach about resurrection because of the imminence of Christ's return.

5:3 Whenever they say, "Peace and security," then suddenly destruction comes to them as birth pain to a woman having in the womb and they will never escape.
The Day of the Lord for Paul, as we might expect from the Old Testament usage, refers to the arrival of Christ in his judging role. Those who think they are okay and that they are accountable to no one are in for a rude awakening. They may think they are safe from judgment on their wrongdoing, but they will not escape judgment.

The image of birth pain is particularly interesting. On the one hand, a woman does not know exactly when labor will begin. This part of the metaphor fits well with the thief in the night image of the previous verses. On the other hand, a woman does know she is pregnant. It is not clear that Paul wished the Thessalonians to follow through with this potentiality of the metaphor, namely, that one might know that the child is coming at any time.

In any case, 2 Thessalonians explores the opposite angle on the Day of the Lord, namely, certain general indications that the Day is near.

5:4-5 But you yourselves, brothers, you are not in darkness so that the Day should overtake you as a thief, for you yourselves all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.
Those who are destined for judgment will experience the coming of the Day like a thief, a bad event that takes place at night when it is dark. Paul now shifts his metaphor somewhat and now distinguishes the audience from those for whom the suddenness will not be a pleasant surprise.

The image of the elect as sons of light versus outsiders as sons of darkness is found in the Dead Sea Scrolls and so would seem to be an apocalyptic Jewish image. The Day should not be like the coming of a thief for the audience for they are waiting for the arrival and are ready for it, whenever it will come.

5:6-7 Therefore, let us thus not sleep as the rest but let us be awake and let us be sober, for those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who are drunk are drunk at night.
So while those destined for judgment are asleep and not expecting the thief, believers are awake and are sober. They have not passed out after a night of drunken revelry, but are awake and ready, as if it were day.

5:8 But since we are of the day let us be sober, being clothed with the breastplate of faith and love and as a helmet, the hope of salvation,
The idea of Christian armor appears in its fullest form in Ephesians 6, but here we find an earlier form of it. In Ephesians, of course, it is a breastplate of righteousness, but the helmet is also one of salvation. Ephesians thus corresponds more closely to Isaiah 59:17, from which the image originally comes, although it is applied to God there (see also Wisdom 5:18). Paul will expand on the triad of faith, hope, and love in 1 Corinthians 13.

We hope for salvation because, as we have already seen, salvation is predominantly future oriented for Paul. It is on the Day of Wrath that believers are saved from that wrath.

5:9-10 ... because God has not appointed us for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or are sleeping, we might live together with him.
This verse confirms the future orientation of salvation for Paul. When the Day of the Lord comes, believers will not experience God's wrath in judgment but salvation from that wrath. The death of the Lord Jesus Christ has made this salvation possible. Here are the very deeply ingrained assumptions about sacrifice and the wrath of gods. Christ's death accomplishes this "deep magic" of reconciliation to God and avoidance of God's wrath.

Thus far in chapter 5, Paul has used the imagery of being awake or being asleep in reference to readiness for Christ's return, and he has in fact used a different word for sleep than he did in the last part of chapter 4. But as Paul closes out this section on the arrival of Christ, he returns to the theme with which he began the section, namely, those who die before the parousia.

In an inclusio, he changes to speak of those who sleep in reference to those who die before Christ's return (although he uses the word for sleep he has used in chapter 5 rather than the one he had used in chapter 4). Whether we are alive at his return or whether we are sleeping, dead, at his arrival, we will live with him then.

5:11 Therefore, admonish one another and build each other up, each one the other, just as you are even doing.
Paul ended the first half of his discussion of the arrival in 4:18 with an admonition for the Thessalonians to encourage one another with these truths. He ends the second half of the discussion with a similar admonition. In this case, however, the Thessalonians already had an accurate understanding, so he can simply encourage them to continue what they have already been doing.

5:12-13 Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and care for you in the Lord and instruct you. Regard them with the greatest respect in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.
These verses begin the closing of the letter. He will make some final exhortations and greetings and then close it.

This verse apparently indicates that the community had Christian leaders, perhaps some sort of group of elders, who would of course literally be older members of the Christian assembly. These individuals were apparently responsible for Christian instruction and were thought to hold spiritual authority. The admonition for the audience to be at peace, in this context, perhaps refers particularly to peace between these leaders and the rest of the assembly, a relationship in which the potential for conflict is not unfamiliar to us today.

5:14 And we admonish you, brothers, instruct the lazy. Encourage the discouraged. Help the weak. Be patient with all people.
The issue of certain lazy at Thessalonica is taken up particularly in 2 Thessalonians 3. But we should be careful not to overread this comment in the light of 2 Thessalonians. Paul does not clearly have specific individuals in mind here. In any collection of people, we can expect there to be some who do not do their share.

The other admonitions are similarly general. Christians encourage people who are discouraged. They help those who are not able to help themselves. Christians are patient with others. These are all manifestations of Christian love, the fundamental Christian virtue in Paul's thought as far as human relationships.

5:15 Look that someone does not repay someone with evil for evil, but always pursue the good toward one another and toward all people.
The similarity of this comment to Jesus' teaching in the Sermon on the Mount is often noticed (e.g., Matt. 5:38-48). Clearly the death and resurrection of Jesus were far more important for Paul than any teaching Jesus did on earth. Nevertheless, Paul does occasionally show that he knows some of Jesus' earthly teachings, and this is one such case.

This admonition once again reflects the fundamental Pauline ethic of love toward one's neighbor. Vengeance for wrongdoing is God's business, not a believer's concern. The believer must pursue reconciliation even with those who wrong him or her. They pursue the good not only toward one another within the fellowship of the Christian assembly, but also toward all people who are not believers.

5:16-18 Always rejoice. Be praying constantly. Give thanks in everything, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
This series of admonitions have to do with the believer's attitude. A believer should be a person with a positive attitude, someone who rejoices and gives thanks. The mention of frequent prayer appears in this context of giving thanks to God for the things that happen to you. Paul punctuates these exhortations by noting it is not just him saying them but in fact that this attitude is the will of God, manifested in what he did through Jesus the Messiah.

5:19-22 Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecy. Test all things. Hold fast to the good. Stay away from every form of evil.
The next series has to do with interaction with the spiritual realm. As much as some might like to see Paul as a heady thinker, his ministry was filled with what we today would consider charismatic ministry. He performed miracles. Signs followed him. Although we have no reason to think that tongues played much of a role in his ministry (he only mentions them in 1 Corinthians 12-14, where they are presenting a problem in Corinthian worship), he seems to consider prophecy a regular feature of early Christian worship.

Any individual in the church (including women, as we find in 1 Corinthians 11) may have a word of prophecy. Leaders are not to squelch the possible speaking of the Spirit through anyone. At the same time, they are not to follow the prophecy simply because someone thinks they have a word from God. Such messages must be tested, as Paul also says in 1 Corinthians 14:32 and 1 John 4:1 also indicates.

After the testing of the prophecy, they should cling to what is proven to be good, but stay away from anything bad. Indeed, they are to avoid evil in any form it might take.

5:23-24 Now may the God of peace himself make you thoroughly holy, and may your entire spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the arrival of our Lord Jesus Christ. The One calling you is faithful, who also will do [it].
The rapid fire of brief admonitions in the closing section come to a close, and Paul begins his closing greeting and farewell. 5:23 is a wish for the audience to be thoroughly blameless before God. He wishes the entire assembly of believers to be completely set apart to God as God's in every part of their being and thus be at peace with the God of peace and reconciliation.

We read verses such as this one in context when we do not overread them or take comments down paths that were never the real point. For example, the image is primarily corporate rather than individual in focus. Paul's wish is for the entire assembly collectively to be blameless before God when the Lord arrives.

Further, blamelessness here is not a matter of not being able to do wrong, of never accidentally wronging another, or of having no imperfection. Blamelessness is a matter of doing what one knows is right under the assumption that one knows what is right. God's faithfulness includes His enablement to be blameless in this way (e.g., 1 Cor. 10:13).

Such blamelessness is essential if one is to be saved on the Day. The verb "to sanctify" or "make holy" is used parallel to "becoming blameless." Blamelessness does not exhaust the meaning of making holy, but it is clearly part of what is involved in becoming holy. Sanctification here presumably also involves purification from past sins.

We should not see in the mention of body, soul, and spirit some absolute statement of how God views the make-up of the human psyche. For one thing, this division of the human person is almost unique in the Bible (Heb. 4:12 comes close). The Old Testament and much of the New Testament does not use the word soul (psyche) in relation to a component or part of a person but rather to an entire, living being. Spirit (pneuma), breath, is much more often used in reference to the living part of a person that survives death.

But these are, in the end, simply expressions made from within the paradigms of the ancient world. They are the clothing of the message rather than the point of the message. To try to integrate such images with modern psychology would produce some very strange conceptualizations indeed.

5:25-26 Brothers, be praying for us. Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss.
The greeting of one another with a holy kiss indicates that believers are family to each other. And prayer for each other is a regular feature of Paul's own practice.

5:27-28 I adjure you by the Lord to read this letter to all the brothers. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ [be] with you.
The letter, presumably first to be received by the leaders of the community, should then be read to the entire assembly, most of whom would be illiterate. We do not know who Paul planned to have deliever the letter, but the fact that Timothy had made a first trip makes it not unlikely that he might take another trip with this letter.

Paul then closes with a characteristic ending for him, the wish that God's graciousness be with them in their continued pilgrimage until he saw them or wrote to them again.

33 comments:

Angela Bozak said...

The concept of communal holiness that mentions mentions near the end of this chapter is something that I find to be foreign in American Christianity. American Christians, for the most part, seem to understand their faith as a purely personalized and individualized possession. But what Paul is talking about in this passage is a sort of group effort at righteous and holy living. It is in community that a body of believers is edified, encouraged, and made accountable. God created us in a way that we are unable to live in isolation from others, and especially from other believers. It is because of this human characteristic that I believe Paul insist on corporate Christianity.

Anonymous said...

Verses 19-21 caught my attention as I have come from a charismatic background. My home-church likely overemphasizes the role of prophecy and speaking in tongues in relation to life in Christ, however, I would say that seem to take prophecies seriously, following the command of verse 20 to not treat them with contempt. Certainly Wesleyans seem to understand prophecies differently than members from my home-church and I am curious how Wesleyans understand them to take place. Is prophecy understood as more than preaching?

Adam Otto

Anonymous said...

Referencing Wisdom 5:18 when referring to Christian armor shocked me a little bit. I was raised Catholic, but discovered there was a lot of tradition and things I didn’t agree with in this denomination. This book included. I didn’t agree with the fact that books were added to the bible. I don’t know all the historical reasons on why this happened, but I never read or regarded the book because it was put in there only by leaders of the Catholic denomination. So now I conclude that this book is relevant and has right information (like many others) but is not Holy Scripture.

Katie Hamilton

Ken Schenck said...

I think it is slightly misleading Katie, to say that the Catholic Church added the book of Wisdom to the Bible. I think it would be more accurate to say that the Council of Trent in 1545 raised the status of the Apocrypha beyond what they had been, but also that Protestants downgraded these writings below the status they had had from the beginning. Hebrews 1:3 seems already to allude to Wisdom 7:26 and Paul may draw on Wisdom as well in Romans 1.

That doesn't mean we have to treat these books as just as authoritative as the Old Testament, but I don't think we should think of them as bad books either.

That's where I'm at with regard to them.

Ken Schenck said...

Adam, you'll have to tell me how the charismatic movement might differ from the understanding of prophecy I have, namely, God revealing something about the church or about individuals or about society through someone. I would say that the grass roots of the Wesleyan Church generally distinguishes "preaching" from "teaching," where what happens in a Presbyterian church would be thought of more as teaching.

Kristie Coombs said...

Paul writes to the Thessalonians about how they are not supposed to be worried about the coming date and time of Jesus' return. How strange that we still try to figure these things out today! Everyone wants to know when he is going to return so that they can live their lives the way they want to and repent with just enough time left before Jesus returns. Paul explains that this is not possible. Only the Father knows the day of Jesus' return and we cannot know. The "thief in the night" analogy works perfectly for Paul's case because we do not know when to expect a thief and he comes to take something. We do not know when the time is coming, but we know to be ready at all times.

TJ said...

i find the series within 16-18 so encouraging. rejoice, pray and persevere. such simplistic matters that many people bypass too often. to pray and rejoice are so often left behind for matters of "i need help" and the thankyou's are bypassed. this philosophy is such a perfect and simple one that anyone could reach it if they took the time to just simply relax and take life in. there is so much to worry about and yet there is even more to just take in and rejoice about.

Anonymous said...

The discussion on the metaphor of the Day of the Lord coming as labor pains to a pregnant woman really stuck out to me. I had never really thought about it much until reading how she would not know the day she would have the baby, but she would know that she was pregnant. This knowledge causes action for her. Pregnant ladies take classes to be prepared for the day they give birth. They prepare a bag of clothes and other necessities so that it is ready to grab on the way out the door whenever the time comes. They make plans for what their kids will do while they are in the hospital. A pregnant lady is not going to sit around ignoring what must be done ahead of time, but is going to live in a way so as to be ready whenever labor comes.

-Andrea Meredith

Anonymous said...

Being blameless collectively is somewhat of a new concept for my ears. I think that in many churches we are taught to be holy because God is holy. But Paul seems to be addressing everyone as a whole to be holy. I wonder what this looks like or how it differs from individual holiness. I suppose they would go hand in hand because you cannot have a blameless assembly of individual's who are not blameless. And how would one even focus on the holiness of an entire congregation, how would that be gauged?

Hannah Arend

steve.hands said...

That last set of admonitions showed up in my Theo II class as evidence for entire sanctification. Coming from a baptist background, I still have trouble reading them that way. It may be that they do advocate a Wesleyan understanding of entire sanctification, but I do not think that they can be used to indicate an instantaneous moment of baptism with the Spirit. I hope we do not skew the verses to say that, at least.

I find it interesting that Paul uses the imagery of a thief for the Day of the Lord. The immediate connection in my head is that "the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy." I do not know if Paul had knowledge of this teaching, or even if connecting the imagery is the right thing to do. It's just what pops into my mind. How often do God's actions and the devil's have similar/same imagery attached to them?

--Steve Hands

Anonymous said...

I am still trying to come out of being molded by modern evangelicalism and its view of salvation. We see in this chapter that salvation is future oriented about being saved from God's wrath and not necessarily the way it is painted in many churches today. I wonder how this would change the practice of communicating the gospel in our churches if we took a closer look at what "salvation" meant to Paul instead of reading our own understandings of salvation into the text.
Joel Larison

Jeremy Armiger said...

Like Angela, I found the passage on communal holiness to be enlightening... I find it to be a beautiful thing as it speaks to how God works in the church and how His transforming work takes place corporately and individual...

I was also wanting some further clarification of salvation as "future oriented" and if Joel's statement is accurate in observing the church today...

Andy said...

This section is what I usually think of when I think of 1 Thessalonians. This idea of the immimence of Christ's return. This is part of the reason that this letter is touted as one of the first letters of Paul. This is before the permanence (or at least just a lot longer than they thought at first) of our time on earth sat in. This idea has creeped back into today's views. People are so excited about getting out of here that they ignore many of the things that need to be done for Christ while here on earth.

Ken Schenck said...

Joel, Jeremy, it's not that I think the way we use the word salvation reflects something that is untrue. It is just not the primary way I think Paul used the word soteria in Greek.

Marta Tillett said...

Because blameless should be understood in the group context, should verses 16-18? I know in the past I have taken these verses personally, never conscientiously thinking that I should be praying continually in a group, taking joy with a group, or giving thanks in every circumstance with a group. Should this common view of a fervent prayer life be changed from personal to communal?

I am also wondering if verses 16-18 should be taken in context with verses 19-22? Perhaps they're not directly related, but I'm prone to thinking that if we stop praying together, we are (inadvertently or advertently) are going to quench the fire of the Spirit... and perhaps our discernment of the prophecies will also go out the window?

Anonymous said...

On a funny note, I was visiting a church recently that had the people greet each other with a Holy kiss instead of a handshake! Talk about awkward for a visitor! But back to the subject at hand... I think it is key how Paul encourages accountability and a communal experience of our faith. I agree with Angela that here in America we tend to view our walk with God in a very individual sense... Can we even truly fully realize all God has for us in our walk with Him without our brothers and sisters in Christ?

-Matthew Aspinall

Mason Bragg said...

I want to highlight verses 16-18. They may be short and simple, but I think there is a lot to take away from what Paul is saying here. "Always be joyful." This is what I saw in some Christ followers that made me want to figure out exactly who God is. "Never stop praying." I think the power of prayer is often underestimated and something we all need to learn a little more discipline in. "Be thankful in all circumstances." I wish I could say this was my mindset all the time, but it is not. However, I always end up being more happy and at peace when I think of all the positive things that come out of a situation. I think Paul's words here are simple, yet profound at the same time.

TJ's Blog said...

With this chapter I decided to read it out of the message. When reading verse 5 states that we as Christians should not be "sleep walking" like others, but we need to be fully awake to be able to live our lives with faith, hope and love. Paul says in this chapter that as Christians we wont know when the day is. We cant put it on our calendar. However, we can prepare for it by living out as God wants us to everyday and not be half awake and have asleep. We are to be fully awake to what he is doing around us.

Anonymous said...

Like Adam, I too come from a charismatic background. I find the verses about prophecy very helpful. I have been in churches where it seems people shut-off their minds and don't critically think about what is being said in the name of prophecy. Just like everything else, we should test prophetic words to make sure they are in line with the Truth.
-Rachel Arend

Anonymous said...

I do not know what i believe about what happens to us after we die until the day the Lord comes back. Growing up i have just always believed that when you die, you
go straight to heaven to be with God. Paul makes the statement when talking about the returning of the Lord, "whether we are awake or are sleeping?" Is Paul saying that
when we die we go into a state of "sleep" until the Lord comes back, and then we will go to heaven and be with him?

-sean schwarze

Chris Bello said...

Looking at the chapter as a whole i felt that it was a great ending. Through out the whole book the relationship between Paul and the Thessalonians was deepened. The encouragement that Paul gave the people to reach out was great. When looking the people that Paul recommended, they were not easy people to talk to. Paul continually encouraged the people to grow the community of God.

Sharon said...

I never thought about verses 23-24 being meant in more of a corporate sense. I always think of verses such as these as having individual meaning and I forget sometimes that Paul is not writing to me! Anyways, I think if we focused more on corporate holiness or blamelessness it would bring about more accountability in some ways. It just makes sense that if we were concerned with the holiness of the body of believers as a whole, we would be more likely to keep each other accountable. When we lose sight of the corporate aspect of our faith it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that “it’s all about me” and forget how much we need to rely on each other as the body of Christ.

Daric Geyer said...

I had never thought of Jesus' return as being like a woman in labor. When you made the connection like that it really made sense to me. I felt like the fact that a woman knows she is pregnant didn't really take away from the metaphor, but still fit well. Like the woman in labor knows she is pregnant, we know Jesus is returning. We just don't know when He is returning.

Anonymous said...

When I have read in the past, I have read verses 23-24, defining blamelessness as I know it – as a matter of not doing wrong. After reading your comments it makes it more understandable as blamelessness isn’t a matter of doing wrong, but it is concerning the entire body of Christ, and doing what one knows is right. I found it insightful to know that this language is corporate, also. It was interesting also to look at the idea that blamelessness is a part of becoming holy.

Kristi Moore

Anonymous said...

Thessalonians 5 is full with great verses, that can form discussions among people. It was interesting to think about the Day of the Lord being a thief in the night to the people who are not believers. It is a bad thing, but to believers, the Day of the Lord is a time of rejoicing. Blamelessness is a confusing topic to be discussed, along with sanctification. These two topics correlate with each other, because blamelessness leads to sanctification. I struggle with someone being holy.

~Amber Davies

Zach Vincent said...

The most interesting aspect of 1 Thess. 5 is Paul's view of salvation as a future thing rather than a current thing. Today we talk in terms of "I am saved" or "I was saved December 12 last year". But Paul is focused on future salvation, or rather, salvation from the wrath of God's judgment.
Why do we, as Christians, always talk about the day of judgment as something we have to endure. Isn't that what we are saved from? Isn't that what Paul is pointing out in this chapter? We aren't the one to be judged if we are truly accepting and following Christ.
The other extremely interesting aspect of this chapter is Paul's talk of corporate blamelessness.We focus so much on personal salvation from sin and judgment that we ignore our accountability as God's kingdom on earth. We are one in the body, a theme in Paul's writings, and, thus, we will also be held accountable as a body to God. That is only if we are not blameless as the Church before the Lord.

Joel Clark said...

It would seem that one of two things was happening. One possibility is that Paul truly felt that the return of Christ was near and he wanted this congregation to be ready. The second may be that while the church was doing good works, they didn’t expect Christ to return, so Paul is urging them to remain vigilant at all times.

The last half of this chapter reminds me of Proverbs. Paul seems to just fire one wise saying after another.

The biggest surprise came to me in verse 27 where Paul commands them to read the letter to all. Before this all of Paul’s remarks seem so caring, and suddenly he is commanding.

Gwen said...

This connection was made after working through the content questions. I thought it was interesting. 4:13-18 seems to suggest that Paul did not give instruction on the Lord’s return while he was in Thessalonica. 5:1 seems to suggest that Paul had at least given some indication about what the Lord’s return would be like. The Thessalonians appeared to at least be aware that the day of the Lord would be unexpected.

Elizabeth Goshorn said...

I like how Paul acknowledges what the Thessalonians are doing right and encourages them to continue what they are doing instead of ignoring it. I think so much in our Christian walk and in our lives we are taught to find our faults and concentrate on them. We do this so much that when it comes time to look at our strengths, we cannot see them. I think that by writing this letter, Paul is not only giving a pat on the back for a job well done, he is also reminding them, or making them aware, of their strengths. Whenever I read 1 Thessalonians I am reminded of the good things I am doing but also of the things I need to be doing more of.

Anonymous said...

It certainly comes as no surprise to hear Paul describing the Day of the Lord through metaphors, because the mystery of such a theme provokes questions in believers which will remain unanswered. The best that Paul can do is describe what he thinks it might be like and how it will come. The first, like a thief in the night, is significant because Jesus spoke similar words in Matthew 24:42-44 in regards to being ready and prepared for the coming of the Son of Man. Also, Paul mentions that while people are assuming peace and security, destruction will come upon them like birth pains on a pregnant woman. This seems like a incredibly frightening metaphor for those who are not "children of light," but Paul encourages his readers that they ARE children of light, and so the thief will not sneak up on them like it will those who are of the darkness. I appreciate the way that Paul talks about something so incredible through such simple words and images. If they help me to better grasp the coming of the Lord, I know that they gave hope to the Thessalonians then as well.

- Liz McClellan

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that Paul makes the point in 5:23-24 to say that God is the one to sanctify and make His body, the body of Christ, blameless out of His faithfulness and grace. While it is necessary for us to do whatever we can to position ourselves in a way that we are open and available to be shaped into this fashion, it is ultimately God's faithful, loving, and grace-filled work that transforms us and sanctifies us so we may stand before His presence. I also think that we tend to forget that when we sin, we do not simply sin against ourselves or God, but we sin against the body of Christ; this is why Paul seems to emphasize the corporate nature of living holy lives.

-Sarah Meyer

Anonymous said...

I said in the last post that often have no idea how to read Paul writings. That is true for this chapter also. I cetainly want to be careful of what joel mentioned in his post. I found that i recognized many verses from Paul's benediction at the end of chapter five. I could be worng, but Im sure we are toread to much theology into Paul's closing statement.

Matthew Potter

Anonymous said...

I really like how the book ends with a blessing. Its telling you of this judgment day and that it will sneak up on them, and they know what will happen if there not ready. But there is such a love between Paul and the church that its awing.