Today, I am reading and commenting on 1 Thessalonians 1-5.
Once again Paul indirectly reminds us of the importance of prayer when he greets the believers in Thessalonica by telling them that he prays for them constantly. I seek the discipline to pray a fraction of the amount which Paul obviously did. Paul goes on to write about how the believers in Thessalonica embraced the Gospel message even though doing so immediately subjected them to persecution. The way in which they joyfully followed the Gospel in the face of persecution served as a beacon to draw people in other areas to the Gospel as well. Further Paul writes that rather than wear down their faith the ongoing persecution strengthened it.
Paul writes that the believers should live in a way that pleases God, something he is confident that they already know. It is worth noting that, despite many in our society to downplay its importance Paul once again emphasizes that living a holy life means staying away from all sexual sin. In this letter Paul focuses on adultery, but it is clear from his other letters that adultery was not the only sexual sin he was warning us to stay away from. Paul even links staying away from sexual sin to loving one another, which is once again contrary to the way our society looks at things. If we love those around us we will be sexually pure, which means reserving our sexual desire for our spouse (and because our society has changed the meaning of words, that means an individual of the opposite sex to whom we are faithful as long as we both live), or restraining it entirely if we do not have a spouse.
Paul goes on to discuss the resurrection of the dead and Christ’s return. He reminds us that if we believe that Christ was raised from the dead then we should also believe that God will raise from the dead the believers who have died. As a result of this belief we do not need to grieve for our fellow believers who have died, because we know that we will see them again. This resurrection will occur when Christ returns. Paul then makes an important point, Christ’s return will be unexpected. We do not know when He will return, so we must remain alert and ready for His return at all times. Part of being ready for Christ’s return is building each other up and encouraging each other when we begin to lose heart because of the evil in this world.