Lesson 6: THE MANNER OF HIS LIFE Part 2 of 2 (series: Lessons on 1 Thess.)

by John Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)


The KEY word here is “dealt” and the idea is that Paul came to the side of them to help, to entreat, and to convict them. Remember that the Lord Jesus said He would send the Holy Spirit who would convict the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment (see John 16:7-11). We saw that meaning on the mother’s side of the apostle’s ministry (see v. 9). Paul’s hope for the Thessalonians is “to persuade” them. There was urgency in Paul’s message to the Thessalonians. He often said, “I beseech you”—I beg you. That is the way the Gospel should be presented even today.

Paul “dealt” with them. That has a note of severity in it—it involves discipline. It is a viral word, a robust, firm, masculine word. I’m afraid that we find a lot of sissy preaching in our pulpits today. The popular thing is to have a little sermonette given by a preacherette to Christianettes. There is so little urgency. Someone has defined the average church service in a liberal church as with a mild-mannered man gets up before a group of mild-mannered people and urges them to be more mild-mannered. Oh, that is sickening, my friend!

Paul recalls here, the faithful pastoral care that was given to every convert. “The apostle compared himself to a nurse-mother (v. 7) in his tender, gentle affection; now he is a father in the fidelity and manly strength of his counsels.” The dual nature of this exhorting is specified by “encouraging” and “testifying” (NEB has, “appealing to you by encouragement as well as by solemn injunctions”) thus to encourage and admonish believers is essential for their spiritual progress, which will be in proportion to their grasp of the privileges and the responsibilities of their high calling.


A special feature of these Epistles is the continued emphasis which Paul lays on the relation of the Christian believer to God. “It was God’s message these apostles of Christ had brought to the Thessalonians (vv. 2, 9); “unto God the living and true,” they had “turned from their idols to serve” Him (1:9). They must, therefore, now live a life “worthy of God”—worthy of those who have such a God and are His servants and sons. Our compliance with this lofty demand becomes a practical possibility only through the enabling power of God’s calling―“for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” (Philippians 2:13). “For it is God who works in you,” Which is both an encouragement to persons conscious of their own weakness to work, as before exhorted to; see Haggai 2:4; and a reason and argument for humility and meekness, and against pride and vain glory, since all we have, and do, is from God; and also points out the spring, principle, and foundation of all good works; namely, the grace of God wrought in the heart, which is an internal work, and purely the work of God: by this men become the workmanship of God, created unto good works (Ephesians 2:10), and are new men, and made fit for the performance of acts of righteousness, and true holiness; and this grace, which God works in them, is wrought in a powerful and effective manner, so as not to be frustrated and made void. The word used here signifies an inward, powerful, and efficient effective operation; “to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”; God forms in converted men a will to do that which is spiritually good; which is to be understood, not of the formation of the natural faculty of the will; or of the preservation of it, and its natural liberty; or of the general motion of it to natural objects; nor of his influence on it in a providential way; but of the making of it good, and causing a willingness in it to that which is spiritually good. Men have no natural desire to come to Christ, or to have him to reign over them; they have no desire, nor hungering and thirsting after his righteousness and salvation; wherever there are any such inclinations and desires, they are wrought in men by God; who works upon the stubborn and inflexible will, and, without applying any force to it, makes the soul willing to be saved by Christ, and submit to his righteousness, and do his will; he sweetly and powerfully draws it with the cords of love to himself, and to his Son, and so influences it by his grace and Spirit, and which he continues, so that it freely wills everything spiritually good, and for the glory of God: and he works in them also to "do"; for there is sometimes in believers a will, when there is a lack of a power for doing. God therefore both implants in them principles of action to work from, such as faith and love, and a regard for his glory, and gives them grace and strength to work, without which they can do nothing, but having these, can do all things: and all this is "of his good pleasure.”

The present tense is used because God is calling to that which, in its fullest realization, is still future. For though believers are already by grace the subject of God’s kingly rule, they yet await the final manifestation of the kingdom in Glory. “The Glory to which He calls us is His own eternal Glory, of which all the true members of the Messianic kingdom shall be partakers; (compare Romans 5:2: “through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.” See note 12.1).

(note 12.1) If you have ever attempted to call the President of the United States, you know how relatively inaccessible he is. To the unbeliever, God the Father is even more inaccessible than the President. He cannot be reached, since there is no common ground and no mediator between the unbeliever and God. To the believer, there is free, abundant, and immediate access to God, because He has justified (saved) us. Jesus Christ provides immediate and consistent access to God for all those whom God has declared and treats as righteousness. Also, we enjoy access into an indescribable position of favor with God. We are accepted in the Beloved One; therefore we are as near and dear to God as His own Beloved Son. The Father welcomes us as sons, not strangers. This grace, or standing in favor with God is as perfect and permanent as Christ’s, because we are in Him.

Access means that you and I have access to God in prayer. Due to our standing as children of God, we have access to a heavenly Father who will listen to us here and who does answer our prayer. He will answer according to His wisdom, not according to our will.

Into this grace in which we now stand. An age-old problem is this, “How can a sinner stand in the presence of a holy God?” The psalmist wrestled with this question—“If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?” (Ps 130:3). We do not have a leg to stand on when it comes to a defense of our sinful actions. How is it possible for a sinner to stand before God? The Swiss reformer Robert Haldane said, “And it is by Him (Jesus Christ) they enter into the state of grace, so by Him they stand in it, accepted before God; secured, according to His everlasting covenant, that they shall not be cast down” (Robert Haldane, Romans, p. 186). The only possible way we can stand before God is by His grace.

And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.” The word “hope” confuses many new Christians. Hope is not vague, it is concrete. We have joy in hope. The glory of God, of which we have fallen short, is the perfect standard of Christ’s righteousness—“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (Jn. 1:14). We can rejoice in the fact that whatever we are like today, one of the benefits of having been justified is the hope that one day we shall be like Him—“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1 Jn 3:2–3). We joyfully look forward to the time when we will not only gaze on the splendor of God, but will ourselves be enveloped in glory—“And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one” (John 17:22). We cannot comprehend the full significance of that hope here on earth, nor will we get over the wonder of it through all eternity.

The Hope that is mentioned here is the hope that the scriptures hold out. Paul said to a young preacher by the name of Titus, “Looking for the blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). To look for the Lord to come and take His church out of this world, that’s a glorious hope, and it will take place at His appearing at the Rapture.

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