In Holiness and Honor

1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 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. 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.”

There are people today within the gatherings of the church who will tell you that you don’t have to do anything to please God, for you already please God just by your profession of faith in him.

They will also tell you that you don’t have to repent (leave your lives of sin behind you) and that you don’t have to obey the Lord and his commands. They will tell you that a confession of faith in Jesus Christ is enough to ensure you heaven, and it doesn’t matter how you live your life from that moment forward.

But that is not what the Bible teaches, and that is contrary to the divine nature of God and his expressed will for our lives. Thus, it is a LIE!

We do need to live (walk) to please God. We must live morally pure lives. We have to abstain from sexual immorality. We must control our own bodies in holiness and honor. And, that one is not just about living morally pure. That has to do with rage and violence, too. For we are to do nothing to transgress (disobey) and to wrong other people. We don’t return evil with evil, and we don’t return good with evil, either.

There is no excuse for anyone, really, to purposefully and to willfully harm another. Every time you wife, or you husband, choose to look lustfully at another, or to flirt with another, or to have secretive chats with another, or to fantasize sexual or romantic thoughts about another, or you choose to look at porn, or choose to have an extra-marital affair, you hurt your spouse. You wrong him or her. And, that is not love. That is hate.

Yet, there are many leaders within the church who are telling you that God’s grace is free license to do those things, and that when God looks at you that he doesn’t even see your sin. All he sees is Jesus, and thus he just smiles on you while you are rebelling against him, and willfully harming others, and degrading your own bodies with your thirst for lust.

That is not the God I know! That is not the God of the Scriptures! Our God says you MUST NOT do those things! For, God has not called us for impurity, but for HOLINESS!

And, do you know that it is not our profession of faith in Jesus Christ which saves us? It is our walk of faith. For, the Scriptures teach that the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in us who WALK (in lifestyle) according to the Spirit of God, and NOT according to our sinful flesh. For, if we WALK according to the flesh, we will die in our sins. But if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live (Rom. 8:1-17).

Oh, what lies we have been fed that tell us that we can just “believe” in Jesus and now heaven is secured for us and that how we live doesn’t matter. For, this cheapens God’s grace, and it is a slap in the face to Jesus Christ who died that horrible death on a cross so that we would DIE with HIM to sin, and so we would LIVE to HIM and to his righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24).

1 Thessalonians 4:9-12 ESV

“Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.”

We, as followers of Jesus Christ, are to love all people, including our enemies. But we are especially commended here to love one another, for not everyone who professes Jesus as his Lord and Savior loves his brothers and sisters in Christ.

Get on Facebook or Twitter and it will be obvious. For, brothers and sisters in Christ are fighting with each other vehemently, probably about some things that don’t even exist, if truth be told. For, they are believing whatever social media presents to them, which ignites them, and which is the plan (the scheme). For, the devil wants us fighting one another. So, don’t bite!

But this love we are to have, one for the other, is not just some warm affectionate feeling. It is a love which is centered in moral preference. In fact, it means to prefer what God prefers, which is what is holy, pure, righteous, trustworthy, upright, truthful, faithful, just and kind.

It is to prefer to live through Christ, and not in our own flesh. And, this love embraces God’s will for our lives, and it obeys his commands in His power, not snubs them.

So, if we are loving our brothers and sisters in Christ in this way, we are not going to lie to them, cheat on them, steal from them, trick and manipulate them, commit adultery against them, gossip, slander them, or commit acts of violence against them. For, this kind of love is not what we feel, it is what we do. And, we can love like this and not feel love towards others, too.

Mind Your Own Business

So, if we are to live quietly and to mind our own affairs, that would mean that we would not commit adultery, or gossip, or cheat someone, would we? And, we wouldn’t get involved in angry disputes with others that turn ugly, and we wouldn’t participate in violent protests where we are causing harm to others. We can express our disagreements peacefully, when called for.

And, on another note here. Let me say what this is NOT saying. This does not mean that we don’t share the gospel with other people. It doesn’t mean that we don’t call out lies and that we cease from proclaiming the truth. It doesn’t mean that we agree to being silent about Jesus so as not to offend people with the gospel message. We are not to “stay in your own lane” when it comes to sharing the truth that can set people free from their bondage.

Yet, we are not to live unruly lives. We are not to be out of control. But we are to be under the Holy Spirit’s control. We are to do nothing willfully to harm another, so we are not free to continue living in sin just because of God’s grace. For, God called us to holiness. He did not free us to live in wickedness without guilt! So, we need to live self-controlled lives, which is really Holy Spirit controlled, for that is one aspect of the fruit of the Spirit.

Bottom line? We just need to surrender our lives to Jesus Christ as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to him, which is our acceptable worship of him. And, we are to no longer walk according to the flesh. We are not to be conformed to the ways of this sinful world. But we are to be transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God away from sin to walks of obedience to our Lord. And, there we will find peace. And, there we will find love, too.

Soldiers of Christ Arise

Lyrics by Charles Wesley, pub. 1741

Soldiers of Christ, arise, and put your armor on,
Strong in the strength which God supplies, through His Eternal Son.
Strong in the Lord of Hosts, and in His mighty power,
Who in the strength of Jesus trusts is more than conqueror.

Stand then in His great might, with all His strength endued,
But take, to arm you for the fight, the panoply of God;
That, having all things done, and all your conflicts passed,
Ye may o’ercome through Christ alone and stand entire at last.

Leave no unguarded place, no weakness of the soul;
Take every virtue, every grace, and fortify the whole.
From strength to strength go on; wrestle, and fight, and pray;
Tread all the powers of darkness down and win the well-fought day.

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21 thoughts on “In Holiness and Honor

  1. Hi Sue,

    Bit of a prayer request.

    I need to make amends with my earthly dad. Not easy at all for me since who I am on the outside vrs what I’ve done behind closed doors WAS stark. But Jesus won’t let me get out of doing this. That’s how I know a lot of people have a false god. My Jesus don’t let me get away with sin or with excuses. I’ve hated Him for it. But in retrospect I can love Him for it.

    It’s a huge step of obedience I’m absolutely weak and scared to do. I cannot predict the reaction and I’m not good at all with vulnerability. But I need to take up my cross. Christianity is soooo hard.

    I’ve been stubborn about this for a while and have even had great chances to do this but getting the words out is like tasting death to this FAKE PERSON I have been. This thing is like the light at the end of my tunnel and being crucified at the same time. I don’t want my old life. And the status quo is getting depressing.

    I would really appreciate prayer. I will do it, but that doesn’t take how hard this is out of the picture. I have a strong feeling it will set me free in a lot of ways and heal a bunch of junk.

    I hardly comment or am on WordPress at all but I read your posts through emails. Every single one touches me in some way whether it be comforting or convicting so praise God 🙂

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    • Brittany, certainly I will pray for you. Sorry for the delay in responding, but your response went to spam.

      I understand needing to make amends with an earthly father. My father was an abuser of the worst kind. I forgave him many times. But the year my mother was dying in Hospice he would not let up on the verbal abuse and I got very angry with him, and not like me at all, I truly did not care if he lived or died. I was bitter of spirit, and I held on to that bitterness for 6 months. Then, Thanksgiving Day we got a call from my sister. My dad was dying and he wanted to see me. We were in the middle of making Thanksgiving dinner with our family, who were adults now, so we left it all with them and we drove 500 miles to Florida so I could see my dad. He apologized to me and I forgave him. He died two weeks later or less. So, don’t put it off. Do it right away. I am so glad I did. Praying for you. Thank you for sharing that with me.

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      • Thank you so much for sharing your story! Yes I definitely need the prayer. Just saw this now and you are right we don’t know how long we have and I think it is good that you were able though to make amends with him before his death.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Brittany, thank you for responding. Yes, we should not take time for granted. Tomorrow is not guaranteed anyone. Praying for you to do the right thing.

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  2. God has provided a Great Salvation that is holistic: (PAST meaning I was saved from the PENALTY of sin called justification), (PRESENT, I am being saved from the POWER of sin called sanctification, (FUTURE, I will be saved from the PRESENCE of sin called glorification). We are not saved by works. Ephesians 2:8 says, “for by grace are we saved through faith not by works lest any man shall boast.” Salvation is a gift of God offered to us through the Gospel. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him 2 Corinthians 5:21. The righteous demand of God was satisfied in His Son. Jesus Christ paid the penalty and we get the life. We now can receive eternal life through faith in the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are not saved by what we do. God has never ever been appeased by moral behavior. We can not please God by our “walk” you find that nowhere in scripture, God is pleased by our faith. The scripture says, but without faith it is impossible to please Him (Hebrews 11:6).

    Why can’t we please God with our moral acts? Because He says, I am a Holy God and as a Holy God, I require perfection (Matthew 5:48). We have this false thinking we can please God with our “upright living.” God is never impressed with us. It says in Isaiah 64:6 all of our righteous deeds are as filthy rags. So, does that mean we can just live any ole kind of way we want? Of course not, but when we are talking about “holiness” we have to be declared Holy by God, holiness cannot be obtained it must be declared by God. Holy means kadosh in Hebrew to be set aside; when we have given our lives to Christ we organically live upright lives and follow God’s laws. We still live in our adamic nature even after we get saved so when we do miss the mark, which is what sin means, we need to repent. Repent means metanoeno in Greek which means “a change mind.” Repentance means that you turn away from something and turn towards God.

    Even when we “struggle” and we will struggle with sin (If we say that we have no sin we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us 1 John 1:8) we should not be discouraged. God is still with us! I’m so thankful for the transforming Power of the Holy Spirit!

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    • Pleasing God

      Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. Ro. 8:8

      So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 2 Co. 5:9

      Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Gal. 6:8

      Eph. 5: 10: “…and find out what pleases The Lord.”

      9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience… Col. 1:9-11

      On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts. 1 Thess. 2:4

      As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. 1 Thess. 4:1

      No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. 2 Tim. 2:4

      And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrew 11:6

      And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. Hebrew 13:6

      …and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. 1 Jn. 3:22

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      • If you have an authentic salvific experience you are going to want to organically desire the Word, you are going to want to live holy (to be set aside for God’s use) but understand that you are not going to know how to do this therefore the Spirit has to led you. We must be led by the Spirit, Romans 8:14 says they that are led by the Spirit these are the sons of God. Hebrews 11:6 without faith it is impossible to please God is what I quoted in my previous response, my faith has to be in Jesus Christ. Galatians 2:20 says, I have died, but Christ lives in me and I now live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave his life for me. When Paul said he died in this verse he is talking about he died to his old life. Ephesians 2:8-10 tells us that we are saved by grace though faith not of works lest any man shall boast. Once again you see “faith” without faith it is impossible to please Him. Then you see Paul say in Ephesians that we are saved by grace through “faith.” I understand that you are saying that we should walk upright, I agree with you. But, walking upright void of the Holy Spirit, void of being led by the Spirit, void of a relationship with God will not save you. We are saved by grace, as Believers we stand on Ephesians 2:8, that has to be the basis upon which you base your argument. Your argument seems to be if you do “this” or “that” then you are pleasing unto God and that is not true. That’s what the Bible calls repentance from dead works (Hebrews 5:12), my works does not save me. These works are wonderful–yes, I have to walk upright, yes I have to live holy, yes I have to watch my morality but those things do not save me, Christ saves me. If my works save me then Christ’s death on the Cross was in vain. My “good works” do not save me. There are going to be a lot of people who did “good works” in hell (Matthew 7:21). There are going to be people in the lake of fire who did greater works than folks in the church. Again, ‘our works do not save us.” We don’t do good works to be saved we do good works because we are saved. We are to give our lives to Christ, then we do good works. God is well pleased in His Son and His finished work on the Cross, He’s not pleased with us. There is nothing we can do in and of ourselves to please God. When Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan River God said, “this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased,” Jesus is the fulfillment of the law and is our sacrificial lamb hence when John saw him coming he said “behold the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” I can only be truly pleasing to God when I am in Christ because Christ is the propitiation for the sins of the world. So, my “walk’ can only please God when I’m walking in Christ. Now, if I’m trying to walk in good works that’s not going to work (no pun intended) but we have to walk in Christ as Paul stated giving my life to the Lord, dying to my flesh and being alive to Christ. Now, if its due to semantics when we talk about “walk” or “life” that’s fine we can differ on that but at the end of the day we’ve got to make sure what we do we do out of a relationship with God not because we are trying to save ourselves.

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      • Kim, I agree with you. I believe you have misread what I wrote. We are not saved by our works. We are saved only by God’s grace, through faith in Jesus Christ. But, what is faith? It is dying with Christ to our old life of sin and it is living to Christ and to his righteousness, which can only be done in the power of God’s Spirit. It is walking according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh, which, again, can only be done in the power of the Spirit. We die WITH CHRIST. We live TO CHRIST. We walk according to THE SPIRIT. It is humanly impossible to do any of those outside of faith in Jesus Christ. And, if we make sin our PRACTICE, we will die in our sin, not have eternal life with God. So, faith in Jesus Christ is not a feeling, it is doing, not in our flesh, but in the Spirit, by the Spirit.

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      • I’d like to expound on that if I may:

        When we come to God for salvation, the part we play is the exercise of faith. The Bible says that if we confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead, we shall be saved (Romans 10:9). Faith is the vehicle that allows us to accept God’s gift of salvation, because it is with the heart that one believes unto righteousness and with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation (Romans 10:10). Although salvation is by grace alone, by scripture alone, by faith alone and by Christ alone God supplies all four–even our faith. He granted grace (Ephesians 2:8), inspired the Word (2 Timothy 3:16), gave His only begotten Son (John 3:16) and even supplied the gift of our faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). In repentance from dead works, the scripture teaches us that is nothing whatsoever in ourselves that we can rely on, place merit in or fall back on to say, “God offered to save me because I wasn’t so bad.” All of our deeds, or our “works” are like filthy rags—contextually, rags were used to clean a woman’s afterbirth–and we had to place our faith in Jesus in order for God to declare us righteous.

        In the same vein, now that we are saved, the only way we can please God is by faith (Hebrews 11:6). Believers do everything by faith! We live by faith (Romans 1:17), we walk by faith (Romans 4:12), we pray by faith (Matthew 21:22), we resist evil by faith (Ephesians 6:16), we overcome the world by faith (1 John 2:13-17), and we die in faith (Hebrews 11:13). Of course, we are not just talking about any kind of faith but “biblical faith” that has its sole object, the God of the universe.

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      • Kim, I agree! This is what I teach. But that faith is proved genuine by what we do, not in our own strength, but by faith in Jesus Christ. Too many people today are teaching a faith in Jesus Christ that is lip service only, and they think they don’t have to turn away from their sins, and that they don’t have to follow Jesus in obedience, but the Scriptures teach that we do. For, this is grace, that Jesus died to deliver us out of our bondage to sin so that we can live and walk in his righteousness. Because, as you pointed out, our faith is a gift from God, so if our faith is from God, then it will submit to him, not continue living in sin. For, if we make sin our practice, we will die in our sins. We are all going to reap what we sow. If we sow to please the flesh, from the flesh we will reap destruction, but if we sow to please the Spirit, we will reap eternal life. And, we can’t please the Spirit in our flesh. It is not possible!

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      • 2 Corinthians 5:9-10: “So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.”

        Galatians 6:7-8: “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”

        Romans 2:6-8: “He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.”

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      • Keep in mind that gathering a bunch of scriptures is not enough nor effective, you need to know the context in which it was used for example Galatians 6:7-8 is talking about sowing and reaping as it relates to money. I recommend using commentaries that will help you properly understand the scriptures from an exegetical and expository standpoint. Here is a online study tool that reference that particular scripture https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/gills-exposition-of-the-bible/galatians-6-7.html if you are interested in checking it out. I’m not going to go through all of the scriptures, I also recommend Matthew Henry that’s a real good commentary to use when studying the scriptures. I hope this is helpful, God bless!

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      • Kim, this is going to be my last response to you. Here is the context of Gal. 6:7-8, beginning in chapter 5 of Galatians:

        For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.

        16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

        25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

        Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. 5 For each will have to bear his own load.

        6 Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. 7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

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    • Romans 8:3-8: For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

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