Commentary on "Living Holy Lives (1 Thess. 4:112)"
Day 2: Sunday, August 12, 2012 - Abounding More and More (1 Thess. 4:1, 2)
Today’s lesson, entitled “Abounding More and More”, focusses on the desired goal of increasing sanctification.The lesson ends with questions about whether or not our behaviors ever please God.
First, the lesson breaks up the week’s passage so the context of it is almost lost. This passage is not about moving towards perfection. It is about learning to excel in submitting one’s behavior’s to God increasingly as one grows.
Our behavior never pleases God. At least, it never contributes to His pleasure in us or to our worthiness before Him. Our behaviors do not measure our rightness with God.
Sanctification is something God does in us that results in our submitting our desires and temptations to Him. It’s giving up our rights and instead allowing Him to be all we need at any given time.
Sanctification is not learning to perfect our behavior according to the commands of the Law. Romans 3:20-21 says that now “the righteousness of God apart from works of the law has been revealed, to which the Law and the Prophets testified.” Our sanctification is never tied to obeying the law, nor are we asked to work toward perfection.
Instead, we are asked to trust Jesus and allow Him to make us new, born of the Spirit. When we are born again we receive the actual righteousness of God because we are hidden with Christ in God (Col. 3:3). We are credited with a completely alien righteousness; we are never asked nor expected to obey the law more and more perfectly.
We are covered with the life and righteousness of the Lord Jesus, and His Spirit changes our hearts and gives us new desires and new loyalty.
We do not abound more and more in works of the law and in law-keeping sexual purity. We become the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Cor. 5:21).
God is not scrutinizing our behaviors. He is looking for circumcised hearts, and He is looking for us to have increasing levels of trust and faith in Him so that we can let go of our natural self-protection and control. He asks us to trust Him.
Purity only comes when our hearts release to Him the deep desires and fears that shape our natural selves. It is not our deeds and behaviors that God demands. It is not more and more perfect law-keeping that He expects.
God wants our trust and belief; He wants to give us His own righteousness and new hearts of flesh instead of stone. It’s not about behaviors. It’s all about belief.
Those who believe in the Lord Jesus are saved; those who do not believe are condemned already because they have not believed (Jn. 3:18).
Copyright 2012 BibleStudiesForAdventists.com. All rights reserved. Revised August 11, 2012. This website is published by Life Assurance Ministries, Camp Verde, Arizona, USA, the publisher of Proclamation! Magazine. Contact email: BibleStudiesForAdventists@gmail.com.
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