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1 Thessalonians 4 - Strings Attached

God's grace is unconditional, but there are strings attached.

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1 Thessalonians 4 Summary

This short chapter has two parts. In the first half, Paul calls his readers to a life of holy living, following the pattern set by our Lord Jesus Christ. The lifestyle Christians must pursue is modeled on Jesus' summary of the commandments: Love God and love your neighbor.

The way you are to show your love for God is in how you control your body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God (v4-5).

Paul echoes Jesus' words that we are to love one another (v9), but he adds an interesting twist. Certainly there's lots of ways to love your neighbor, but Paul's command here is to just simply live quietly, and mind your own affairs, and work with your hands (v11).

Dig Deeper

In our high school catechism class, we've been learning that Christians are unconditionally elected by God. This means that God's choosing you for salvation was not based on any conditions you had met.

But this does not mean that salvation itself is unconditional. It's not that your salvation depends upon you doing certain things, rather there are expectations for how you live subsequent to your salvation because of God's grace in your life. In other words, God has placed these conditions in your life not so you can be saved, but because you are saved.

In theology, we call this idea sanctification. The root word sanct means 'holy' (think of how the word 'sanctuary' often means 'holy place'). Thus, becoming sanctified means looki