JohnSWilson3 Blog

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field.”

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field.” Matthew 13:44.

“But seek his kingdom…Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom…For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also…What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds perched in its branches.” Luke 12:31a,32,34, 13:18-19.

“God…was pleased to reveal his Son in me…Christ lives in me…I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you…Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Galatians 1:15-16, 2:20, 4:19, 5:25.

“…God, who tests our hearts…the Word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe…May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May he strengthen your hearts…” 1 Thessalonians 2:4,13, 3:12,13.

“…that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith.” 2 Thessalonians 1:11.

“…God has been making it grow…God…makes things grow…the Holy Spirit, who is in you…But God has put the body together…you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it…follow the way of love.” 1 Corinthians 3:6-7, 6:19, 12:24,27, 14:1.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7.

“…he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus…it is God who works in you to will and act in order to fulfill his good purpose…the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…” Phlippians 1:6, 2:13, 3:8.

“…if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you…his Spirit who lives in you.” Romans 8:10-11.

“…that you may know him better…that you may know…the riches of his glorious inheritance in his people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe…God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ…he might show the incomparable riches of his grace…the boundless riches of Christ…I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith…” Ephesians 1:17-19, 2:4,5,7, 3:8,16-17.

“…God has chosen to make known…the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory…in Christ you have been brought to fullness…Christ, who is your life” Colossians 1:27, 2:10, 3:4.

” ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.’…See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks…we have a clear conscience…” Hebrews 3:15, 12:25, 13:18.

“God’s work…is by faith. The goal…is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith…take hold of the life that is truly life.” 1 Timothy 1:4,5, 6:19.

Verses from Today’s New International Version.

Words on Losing the Soul Life

From the last section of Hebrews 10 I have been led to other passages related to the soul life and God’s desire to express Himself by saving, preserving, obtaining, and possessing our soul life by His Spirit through His body. There is a lot to chew on here and I have been doing so for many weeks.

I have purposefully left much of the passage to help in understanding of the context, but of course like any letter it should also be viewed in the wider context of the letter or teaching given.

After Hebrews sections I have the provided the passages in the Thessalonians and Ephesian letters and then the gospels. I have inserted in the text the original meaning of some of the words from the NASB.

Hebrews 10:

32 But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings, 33 partly by being made a public spectacle through reproaches and tribulations, and partly by becoming sharers with those who were so treated. 34 For you showed sympathy to the prisoners and accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and a lasting one. 35 Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.


39 But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving (possession or obtainment) of the (soul life).

Hebrews 4 (I have capitalized the Divine Word of God):

8 For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that. 9 So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. 10 For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. 11 Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience. 12 For the (Word) of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of (soul life) and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

Hebrews 6:

9 But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation, though we are speaking in this way. 10 For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. 11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

13 For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, 14 saying, “I WILL SURELY BLESS YOU AND I WILL SURELY MULTIPLY YOU.” 15 And so, having patiently waited, he obtained the promise. 16 For men swear by one greater than themselves, and with them an oath given as confirmation is an end of every dispute. 17 In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, 18 so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. 19 This hope we have as an anchor of the (soul life), a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, 20 where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

1 Thessalonians 5:

4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; 5 for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; 6 so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober. 7 For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night. 8 But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. 9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.

2 Thessalonians 2:

13 But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. 14 It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain (obtain) the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.

16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, 17 comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word.

Ephesians 1:

11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, 12 to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. 13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.

Matthew 10:

37 “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who has found his (soul life) will lose it, and he who has lost his (soul life) for My sake will find it.

40 “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. 41 He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. 42 And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.”

Matthew 16:

21 From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day. 22 Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.” 23 But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”

24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 25 For whoever wishes to save his (soul life) will lose it; but whoever loses his (soul life) for My sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his (soul life)? Or what will a man give in exchange for his (soul life)? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and WILL THEN REPAY EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS.

28 “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”

Mark 8:

31 And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And He was stating the matter plainly. And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. 33 But turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter and *said, “Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”

34 And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 35 For whoever wishes to save his (soul life) will lose it, but whoever loses his (soul life) for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his (soul life)? 37 For what will a man give in exchange for his (soul life)? 38 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”

Luke 9:

21 But He warned them and instructed them not to tell this to anyone, 22 saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed and be raised up on the third day.”

23 And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. 24 For whoever wishes to save his (soul life) will lose it, but whoever loses his (soul life) for My sake, he is the one who will save it. 25 For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself? 26 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. 27 But I say to you truthfully, there are some of those standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.”

Luke 17:

28 It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; 29 but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. 30 It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed. 31 On that day, the one who is on the housetop and whose goods are in the house must not go down to take them out; and likewise the one who is in the field must not turn back. 32 Remember Lot’s wife. 33 Whoever seeks to keep his (soul life) will lose it, and whoever loses his (soul life) will preserve it. 34 I tell you, on that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other will be left. 35 There will be two women grinding at the same place; one will be taken and the other will be left. 36 [Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other will be left.”] 37 And answering they *said to Him, “Where, Lord?” And He said to them, “Where the body is, there also the vultures will be gathered.”

John 12:

20 Now there were some Greeks among those who were going up to worship at the feast; 21 these then came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and began to ask him, saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22 Philip *came and *told Andrew; Andrew and Philip *came and *told Jesus. 23 And Jesus *answered them, saying, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 He who loves his (soul life) loses it, and he who hates his (soul life) in this world will keep it to life eternal. 26 If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.

27 “Now My (soul life) has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came out of heaven: “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29 So the crowd of people who stood by and heard it were saying that it had thundered; others were saying, “An angel has spoken to Him.” 30 Jesus answered and said, “This voice has not come for My sake, but for your sakes. 31 Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. 32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” 33 But He was saying this to indicate the kind of death by which He was to die.

The First Letter to the Gathering of Believers in Thessalonica (A modified translation of TNIV)
November 24, 2011, 5:09 am
Filed under: H First Letter to the Thessalonians

1 Thessalonians (words in parenthesis are more defined or literal and modifies the TNIV; notes to the translation are after the letter)

Paul, Silas and Timothy,

To the (gathering) (1) of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace and peace to you.

We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our (good news) (2) came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and (with much assurance.) (3) You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the (Word) (4) in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a (pattern) (5) to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. (The Word of the Lord) (6) rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, for they themselves report what happened when we visited you. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.

You know, brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not (in vain.) (7) We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you (the good news of God) (8) in the face of strong opposition. For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the (good news.) (2) We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts. You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed—God is our witness. We were not looking for praise from any human being, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our prerogatives. Instead, we were (gentle) (9) among you.

Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the (good news) (2) of God but our lives as well. Surely you remember, brothers and sisters, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we (proclaimed) (10) the (good news) (2) of God to you.

You are witnesses, and so is God, of how (pure, just, and without fault) (11) we were among you who believed. For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you (to the kingdom and glory of himself.) (12)

And we also thank God continually because, when you received the (Word) (4) of God, which you heard from us, you accepted (this not as a human word, but actually as) (13) the (Word) (4) of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe. For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of (the gatherings of God) (14) in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your fellow citizens the same things those gatherings (1) suffered from the Jews, who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to everyone in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. (The wrath) (15) has come upon them at last.

But, brothers and sisters, when we were orphaned by being separated from you for a short time (in person, not in thought), out of our intense longing we made every effort to see you. For we wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, did, again and again—but Satan blocked our way. For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown (of glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus?) (16) Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy.

So when we could stand it no longer, we thought it best to be left by ourselves in Athens. We sent Timothy, who is our brother and co-worker in God’s service in spreading the (good news) (2) of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. You know quite well that we are destined for them. In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know. For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter had tempted you and that our labors might have been in vain.

But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you. Therefore, brothers and sisters, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord. How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see (your face) (17) again and supply what is lacking in your faith.

Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you. May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May he strengthen your hearts (blameless in holiness before our God and Father in the presence of our Lord Jesus with all God’s people.) (18)

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. For you know what instructions we gave you (through) (19) the Lord Jesus.

(For this is God’s will – your separation to God:) (20) that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is (separated to God) (20) and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. For God did not call us to be impure, but to (live a life separated to God.) (21) Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.

Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. And in fact, you do love all the brothers and sisters throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, dear friends, to do so more and more, and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.

Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left (in the presence) (16) of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to (a face-to-face meeting of the Lord) (22) in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.

Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who (are working hard among you, who are caring for you in the Lord and who are warning you.) (23) Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Do not put out the Spirit’s fire. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject whatever is harmful.

May God himself, the God of peace, (separate you to himself complete.) (24) May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless (in the presence) (25) of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.

Brothers and sisters, pray for us. Greet all God’s people with a holy kiss. I charge you before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers and sisters.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
Notes to Modified Translation:
(1) gathering. “Church” incorrectly translates “ekklesia” which means “gathering.” (Vines, 42)
(2) good news. “Gospel” is normally the word translated for “euangelion” which means “good news.” (Vines, 275)
(3) with much assurance. “Deep conviction” incorrectly mistranslates “plerophoria polle” which means “much full assurance.” (Vines, 43). The word “elencho” means “to convict.” (Vines, 128).
(4) Word. Lower case “word” incorrectly translates “logon” which is a singular masculine part of speech of “logos” which signifies the indwelling Lord Jesus Christ in His people and so I have capitalized it to show the Person of Christ. (Vines, 683)
(5) pattern. “Model” is used by the translators but “pattern” or “example” is the better translation for “tupon.” (Vines, 463)
(6) The Word of the Lord. “The Lord’s message” incorrectly translates “o logos tou kuriou” which means “The Word of the Lord.” This construction always describes the Person of Christ Jesus in scripture. (Marshall, 597)
(7) in vain. “Not without results” mistranslates the words “ou kenon” which means “empty” or “vain.” (Vines, 657)
(8) the good news of God. “His gospel” is literally “the good news of God.” (Marshall, 597)
(9) gentle. “Like young children” incorrectly translates “epioi” which means “mild” or “gentle.” The TNIV translators seem to try and connect the word with the next verse but the word actually refers to “a nurse with trying children.” (Vines, 263)
(10) proclaimed. “Preached” incorrectly translates “ekeruxamen” which comes from the word meaning “to proclaim.” (Vines, 481, 489)
(11) pure, just, and without fault. “Holy, righteous and blameless” is better translated “pure, just, and without fault.” “Holy” or better, “holily,” translates “hosios” which means “pure.” (Vines, 308) “Righteous” or better, “righteously,” translates “dikaios” which comes from the word for “just,” meaning to be fair or tolerant. (Vines, 535) “Blameless” or better, “blamelessly,” translates “amemptos” which means “without fault.” (Vines, 68)
(12) to the kingdom and glory of himself. “Into his kingdom and glory” is literally “to the kingdom and glory of himself” and gives the sense that He is the kingdom and glory! (Marshall, 599)
(13) this not as a human word, but actually as. “It not as a human word, but as it actually is” adds the words “it” into the translation when they are not in the original passage. It is literally translated: “not as a word of men but as truly is word of God.” (Marshall, 599)
(14) the gatherings of God. “God’s churches” is literally “the ekklesias of God” which means “the gatherings of God.” This is the plural form for the word “ekklesia.” In Judea there was more than one gathering of believers. A gathering of believers, an ekklesia, was formed in more than one city in Judea, one being in Jerusalem. (Marshall, 599)
(15) The wrath. “The wrath of God” is literally “the wrath.” The sense of the passage is the consequences that a person can expect here on earth as they miss the mark of God’s purpose.
(16) of glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus. “In which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes” actually adds a number of words to give a future sense to Paul’s description but the literal translation is “of glory…before the Lord of us Jesus in the presence of him.” (Marshall, 599) Translators tend to make the word “parousia,” which means “presence,” give only a future time of being in the presence of Jesus when the word gives an actual present meaning of being in Jesus’ presence with and in His ekklesia. (Vines, 111)
(17) your face. “You” is literally “your face” and means an actual face-to-face gathering. (Marshall, 601)
(18) blameless in holiness before our God and Father in the presence of our Lord Jesus with all God’s people. “So that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.” Here again the translators are using “parousia” to describe a future event without giving credence to the present literal rendering of the passage. The passage is literally translated: “blameless in holiness before our God and Father in the presence of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.” (Marshall, 601)
(19) through. “By the authority of” is not in the original language. The translators interpret the instructions that the apostles gave as having Christ’s authority since they were spoken “through the Lord Jesus” which is the literal translation. (Marshall, 601)
(20) For this is God’s will – your separation to God. I think the literal translation along with the word “separation to God,” “hagiasmos,” which means “sanctification,” provides a better sense of the phrase Paul is using instead of “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified.” (Marshall, 601; Vines, 545)
(21) live a life separated to God. “Live a holy life” is literally translated “in sanctification” which again means to live a life separated to God which refers back to Paul’s statement in verse 3. (Marshall, 601)
(22) a face-to-face meeting of the Lord. “Meet the Lord” while it describes the gathering of the ekklesia with Christ the word “apantesis” comes from the word which means literally “to come face to face with.” A very encouraging word to the believers. (Vines, 402)
(23) are working…are caring…are warning. The words “work…care…admonish” is literally translated “laboring….caring…admonishing.” I use the literal sense of the words to show the active sense of the words and prevent a thought that some in the body who work or care or admonish may somehow “retire” from doing so, who stop living by Christ’s life in this regard. But God’s people continue to do so in the ekklesia as they live by His life. The word “admonish” means to warn. (Vines, 13)
(24) separate you to himself complete. “Sanctify you through and through” is literally translated “may he sanctify you complete.” “Sanctify” again means “separation of yourself to God.” (Marshall, 605)
(25) in the presence. “At the coming” is literally translated “in the presence.” The sense in context of this verse and the following verse seems to indicate both a present and active sense as well as a future sense.

“We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…”
August 24, 2009, 1:16 am
Filed under: H First Letter to the Thessalonians

I spent this weekend reading and re-reading with prayers the First Letter to the Thessalonians by Paul. What an incredible letter of encouragement! The Lord impressed upon me the devotion that Paul not only had for Jesus but also for His Body! In fact can we really love Jesus without loving His Body?

After Paul, Silas, Timothy, and Luke and perhaps some others with them left Philippi they journeyed to Thessalonica and spent roughly three weeks their “explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead” and “some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and not a few prominent women.” Paul and Silas left to Berea due to a riot in the city and then to Athens and finally on to Corinth. Based on the letter that Paul sent from Corinth to the church at Thessalonica, having only known them for about three weeks, Paul could write to them with such brotherly love! Because Paul and Silas had to leave only after three weeks of being with the church he felt necessary to send Timothy, his church planting assistant, back to Thessalonica to find out how they were doing because of the trouble that had occured in the city. When Timothy returned and Timothy shared with Paul how the church was doing, Paul was overwhelmed at what God had done in the church’s life! Paul felt compelled to write a letter to them and share his joy for them!

A year or so earlier he had written to the churches in Galatia about the importance of knowing their freedom in Christ and focusing on loving one another as demonstrated by the fruit of the Spirit in their lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. In this letter to the church in Thessalonica Paul focuses his desire for “the Lord (to) make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.” This family of believers got it! They followed the instruction and example Paul set for them on “how to live in order to please God” and urged them “in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more.” I think of Jesus saying His new commandment which was to love one another as He had loved them, and that “this is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

By focusing on Jesus, being devoted to applying the teachings of Jesus together in their lives, devoted to sharing life together, praising God and sharing this good news of salvation by faith in Jesus to others this church “suffered from (their) own countrymen.” Paul told them that as followers of Jesus “we were destined for” trials. Paul was confident that God was at work in their lives because of how they were living for Christ! Paul told them that God had “chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction.” Man, what an experience Paul and his group had when bringing the gospel to them!

Jesus desires that His Body “encourage one another and build each other up” and that can’t happen if I’m a solo Christian. I need a small group of brothers and sisters who are free to speak truth to one another, to me and vice versa, who can enjoy Jesus together, everyone participating in each others lives to let our “love increase and overflow for each other!”

Is it possible that when a body of believers meet together, whether in a home or office, or where they can meet in life, that when they make Christ the Head of their time together, with no one being a leader, except Christ, sharing His love towards one another, that the body can experience the gospel “not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction” “in spite of severe suffering”? Can I let “the word of God” when shared with one another “work in” me? Lord work in me, work in Your Body! You are “faithful and” You “will do it”! Amen!