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October 26, 2023 - 1 Thessalonians 4

Paul begins this fourth chapter, “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” (4:1). The Thessalonians, like Paul and like us, were not yet what they would become. Sometimes, I put it like this: “We are not yet what we one day will be, but we are certainly not what we once were.” These believers, like Paul and like us, were continuing to grow up in Christ and that “more and more.” They were becoming more like him every day. And Paul gives this encouragement/incentive, i.e., that the Lord will return and gather to himself not only ourselves but all believers who have gone before us. What a wonderful and joyous future we have to look forward to, and this assurance should cause us more and more to look to Christ. I am reminded of the counsel from the epistle to the Hebrews: “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:23-25).

Leaving every day behind

Something which might hinder;

Running swifter every day,

Growing purer, kinder—

Lord, so pray we every day,

Hear us in Thy pity,

That we enter in at last

To the holy city. -- Mary Butler (1881)

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