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You are here: Home > Bible Commentary > 1 Thessalonians > Chapter 4 > Verse 4

1 Thessalonians 4

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1 Thessalonians 4:4
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1 Thessalonians 4:4
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That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;

Note 8 at 1Th 4:4: Notice Paul's use of the words "every one." Holiness is not just for some in the body of Christ; it is God's will for every one of His children.

Note 9 at 1Th 4:4: Paul's wording here is worth noting. We are to "possess" our "vessel." Many of us Christians acknowledge that a spirit can possess our bodies, but we don't normally speak of possessing our own bodies. That's because most of us think of our bodies as the real us. Paul thought differently.

The spiritual part of us--which, as Christians, is our true self--has been made brand-new through the new birth. Our bodies are just our "earth suits" that allow us to function in this physical world. Our bodies are just vessels that hold the divine life, located in our spirits, and keep it from "running out," back to God.

Understanding this gives us an advantage over nonbelievers. Our bodies are just temporary homes. We should take care of them, but we should not be devastated at their demise or impending destruction. We have a better home coming (2Co 5:1-9).

Note 10 at 1Th 4:4: "Esteem" and "respect" are synonyms for the word "honor." Paul was saying that the way to self-esteem and respect, in the natural realm, is through doing what is right. That's radically different from modern psychology's approach to self-esteem.

The way people are being taught to have respect for themselves today is to reject all standards of right and wrong so that they can feel good about themselves regardless of what they do. That's not the approach Paul took, and it's not the will of God.

There are times we should feel bad about our actions. If we rape, murder, steal, are lazy, sow strife, or do a multitude of other destructive things, we should feel rotten. That's healthy. Instead of seeking to justify every perversion known to man so that we can have self-esteem, we should confess our sins and receive forgiveness. Then we can feel good about what Christ has done for us and esteem Him and His work in our lives (see note 12 at 1Co 1:28).


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