1 Thessalonians 4:1 ESV
Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more.
Before we get into the “how to” walk (conduct our lives), and the “how to” please God, I would like to look at why we should walk (in practice, in lifestyle) to please God. I would like to lay the foundation for why this is essential that we walk to please God, and then we can learn “how to” do it.
First off, it goes back to the Garden of Eden. God created man and woman in his image, and he made them perfect and sinless, and they had pure fellowship with him. But, then they sinned against God, and now their fellowship with God was broken, and so God banned them from the Garden of Eden and he put a curse on them and on the earth, and on all humankind.
Since that time, all humanity has been born into sin, with sin natures, separate from God, and unable in our own flesh to be approved by God and to be righteous in his sight (Rom. 3:23; 5:12-19; 1 Co. 15:21-22, 42-49).
But, God had a plan all along for how he was going to save us from our sins and to restore us back to fellowship with himself. God, who is three persons in one – Father, Son (Jesus Christ), and Holy Spirit – planned all along that Jesus Christ, the Son, would die on a cross for our sins. In his death, he became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God.
He died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He died, too, that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. And, he died and he was resurrected from the dead so that in him we might be crucified with him in death to sin, and we might be resurrected with him to new life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15, 21; Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24).
So, the whole purpose of our salvation from sin is to deliver us out of our slavery (bondage, addiction) to sin and to restore us to pure fellowship with God. For, Jesus bought us back for God with his blood, which he shed on that cross for our sins, so that we would now be God’s possession, and so that we would now honor God with our lives (Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Co. 6:20).
Thus, he says that if we walk (in lifestyle) according to the flesh, that we don’t have fellowship with God or eternal life with God. But, if by the Spirit, we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, and we are walking (in practice) according to the Spirit of God, then we have eternal life with God (See: Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 5:19-21; Gal. 6:7-8).
1 Thessalonians 4:2-8 ESV
For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.
Ok, so now that we know why it is essential that we walk (conduct our lives in practice) to please God, we can look at how we ought to do that.
First and foremost, we must be in relationship with Jesus Christ. We must have submitted our lives over to the Lordship of Christ, been crucified with Christ in death to sin, and have been risen with Christ to newness of life in him, which is now to be lived to him and to his righteousness (Rom. 6:1-23).
The Holy Spirit, thus, should have come into our lives to dwell within us, to teach us all things about Christ, to comfort and encourage us, and to equip, train, and empower us to walk righteously before God all our days. For, this is not something we can do in our own flesh. This is the work of God in our lives as we surrender our lives to him and cooperate with that work of grace.
Then, we have to be in the Word of God, in prayer, listening to what he has to teach us through his Word, and then we have to do what he says and not be hearers of the word only. We are never going to have victory over the flesh if our lives are not yielded to our Lord, and if we resist him and we refuse to do what his word says we must do (Jas. 1:22-25; Jn. 14:23-24).
Put Off/Put On
Then, by the Spirit, we must be putting to death the deeds of our flesh. We must put off falsehood, stealing, hatred, gossip, slander, immorality, impurity, and the like, and we must put on (apply to our lives) all that is moral, upright, godly, pure, honest, and faithful, etc. (Eph. 4:17-32).
And, we must not make any provision for the flesh or allow for any obstacles that would continually keep leading us back into sin. For, many people “struggle” with (regularly give in to) sin, because they play with sin and with temptation.
They know what is leading them down that same path over and over and over again, and yet they will not cut out of their lives what is leading them into sin on a regular and consistent basis. So, they are not really serious about being set free, because they won’t let go and let God.
In other words, for example, we can’t watch TV shows and movies and videos, and listen to music and play video games, and the like, which have in them sexually suggestive or sexually explicit material, and then make excuses for why we can’t live in victory over sexual sin. If we are not willing to cut out of our lives what is leading us into sin, then we will continue down that path of “struggling” (regularly giving in to sinful practices).
And, we have to stop making excuses for why we continue in sinful practices, if that is what is happening in our lives. For, if you keep making excuses for why you can’t obey the Lord, and why you continue to “struggle,” and if you are living in denial, and so you minimize your sin, and you call it something it isn’t, or if you diminish your sins’ true impact on your life, and on the lives of others whom you are sinning against, you will never know victory. And, that is because you are willfully self-deceived.
Also, if you are then lying about your sin to others, especially to your spouse, or to your parents (if you are a minor), or to your boss(es), hoping they won’t find out, you are just adding insult to injury, making matters so much worse. Now you are in a tangled web of deceit and betrayal, and it is going to be so much harder for you now to get free.
And, then if you then fake your Christianity and your walk with the Lord, in order to deceive people into thinking you are living righteously, while you hide your secret sinful practices from those who love you, or from those to whom you owe your loyalty and devotion and faithfulness, you are just sinking deeper and deeper into sin. And, for those who proclaim faith in Jesus Christ, especially, there is just no excuse for this at all!
The Bible says that love does no harm to its neighbor. We can’t love other people if we are willfully, knowingly, and often premeditatedly sinning against them, because we love our own flesh more. In fact, when we choose to walk in sin, even knowing that we are hurting others, that is called hate.
And, God’s word says that if we hate (in practice) others, that we don’t love God, and we don’t know God, and we have no part in him at all, for we are still in the darkness, and God’s light is not in us (1 Jn. 2:9-11; 3:15; 4:20).
Yet, so many people today are willfully believing the lies of Satan, and they are knowingly rejecting the truth of God’s Word, because they want to continue in their sinful addictions (practices) without guilt, no matter who gets hurt in the process.
But, God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.
An Original Work / September 14, 2012
Based off Romans 12:1-2; 6:11-14 NIV
Oh, holy ones, I counsel you,
In view of God’s mercy,
To give yourselves to God in love
As living offerings,
Pleasing to God, holy in love.
This is your true worship.
Do not conform to worldly lives.
Let God transform you today.
Then you’ll be able to
Test and approve of what
God’s will is – His pleasing
And perfect will. Oh, holy ones,
I counsel you – Offer yourselves unto God.
Oh, holy ones, I counsel you –
Do not be conceited.
Humble yourselves before your God.
Do not be self-righteous.
The strength you have to live in love
Comes from your Lord God, so
Live your new lives in pow’r of God.
Be changed in heart, mind and will.
Do this because of what
Christ did for you when
He died on the cross to save
The world from sin. Oh, holy ones,
I counsel you – Humble yourselves before God.
Oh, holy ones, I counsel you –
Count yourselves dead to sin,
But be alive to God in Christ.
Do not let sin reign in
Your earthly lives so you
Obey its evil desires.
Offer yourselves unto your God
As those who’ve been born again.
For sin shall no longer be
Your lord and master.
Give of yourselves to God
For righteousness. Oh, holy ones,
I counsel you – Be alive to God in Christ.
Tuesday, May 7, 2019