Monday, December 2, 2013

1 Thessalonians 4:7-12

“I want you to live raucous lives filled with debauchery and all types of heinous activities!” Imagine that these were the parting words of Jesus. Imagine that the Ten Commandments read in a completely different way: “Thou shalt murder! Thou shalt commit adultery! Thou shalt make thousands of idols to worship! Thou shalt bear false witness! Thou shalt steal! Thou shalt covet everything that everyone else has!” Imagine that in the Old Testament God never sent fiery serpents or disease on those who did wickedly; rather imagine with me that God sent fiery serpents on those who only did what was morally right. Imagine that Jesus came to earth and lived the filthiest life ever. Imagine that He was not the sinless Savior, but a disgusting man who did all the evil things that Hollywood so aptly portrays freely on the big screen.
This is a horrible exercise in imagination! It is borderline blasphemous. Why? Because God is in His very nature holy, perfect, just and pure; and He would never do any of these wicked things. And to accuse Jesus of debauchery is in itself one of the vilest things that any man could ever do. God’s Spirit is pure and perfect; it is exactly as His name indicates a truly “Holy" Spirit.
Sadly, something as perplexing as defaming God happens all of the time, but many Christians narrowly bat an eye. When we put our faith in the saving work of Jesus Christ, we receive the Holy Spirit of God inside of us. (Eph 1:13) Somehow, however, many people live as if this just isn’t the case. They respond to the call for holy living as something that is impossible and not worth attempting. They categorically hide behind expressions like “well, doesn’t everybody sin?” continuing on in their own vile living and wicked lifestyle.
As Paul writes his letter to the Thessalonian believers, he reminds them of the holy nature of God: “God didn’t call us to impurity, but to holiness.” It would be preposterous to say that we would live lives of unbridled, unconvicted sin and have the “holy” Spirit of God dwelling inside of us, as if God would be silent in the face of our sinfulness. I would argue rather that if there is quietness in sin, it is not because the Spirit doesn’t care, but rather because the Spirit is not there. It comes down to the simple truth that God has called us to holiness and Scripture compels us to live godly lives in obedience to His holy desires.

Food For Thought: Read 1 Peter 1:15-16, 22. What does Peter say we should do in light of God’s holiness? In verse 22, who does Peter say will help us in our obedience to God?