1 Thessalonians 4:6 MEANING

1 Thessalonians 4:6
(6) That no man.--The form of the Greek shows that this is not exactly parallel with the preceding clauses, as if it ran, "this is God's will, your sanctification, for you to abstain, for you to know how to possess, for you not to go beyond," &c. It is a final clause, expressing the purpose of such continence as has just been described. Men are to be chaste and self-possessed, not only for their own salvation's sake, but in justice to their brethren. In 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13, they were to love for the sake of becoming holy; here they are to be holy for the sake of charity--a blessed action and reaction.

Defraud his brother.--The original word implies a rapacious dishonesty, of which any person is guilty who gives the rein to his lusts, especially the adulterer. The substantive formed from it is usually translated covetousness, and is generally thought to be used in this special sense in Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5. When all men are brethren the sin becomes worse.

In any matter should undoubtedly be in the matter. St. Paul chooses the phrase for delicacy's sake, both here and in 2 Corinthians 7:11.

Because that the Lord.--Again an anticipation of the Advent, for the vengeance meant is that of the Judgment Day, not the natural retribution which carnal sin brings with it. The "Lord," therefore, in this context probably means more particularly the Incarnate Son, who has a special claim upon men's bodies (1 Corinthians 6:13).

Have forewarned.--Rather, did forewarn. It was part of the Apostles' original teaching at Thessalonica.

Verse 6. - That no man go beyond; or, transgress. And defraud; or, as it is in the margin of our Bibles, oppress, or, overreach; wrong (R.V.). His brother. Not an exhortation against dishonesty, or prohibition against all attempts to overreach in usual mutual intercourse, as the words would at first sight seem to imply, and as some consider it (Hofmann, Lunemann, Riggenbach); but, as is evident from the context, a continuation of the former exhortation, a prohibition against impurity. In any matter; or, more properly, in the matter, namely, that about which I have been discoursing. "An example of the modest reserve and refined delicacy which characterize the holy apostle's language in speaking of things which the Gentiles did without shame, and thus, by a chaste bashfulness of words, commending the duty of unblemished purity in deeds" (Wordsworth). Because the Lord is the Avenger of all such; either of all such as are thus defrauded or of all such sinful practices. As we also have forewarned you and testified.

4:1-8 To abide in the faith of the gospel is not enough, we must abound in the work of faith. The rule according to which all ought to walk and act, is the commandments given by the Lord Jesus Christ. Sanctification, in the renewal of their souls under the influences of the Holy Spirit, and attention to appointed duties, constituted the will of God respecting them. In aspiring after this renewal of the soul unto holiness, strict restraint must be put upon the appetites and senses of the body, and on the thoughts and inclinations of the will, which lead to wrong uses of them. The Lord calls none into his family to live unholy lives, but that they may be taught and enabled to walk before him in holiness. Some make light of the precepts of holiness, because they hear them from men; but they are God's commands, and to break them is to despise God.That no man go beyond, and defraud his brother in any matter,.... Or "in this matter", as the Syriac version. This is commonly understood of transgressing the bounds of justice and equity between men and men; and of cheating and defrauding in trade and business, by increasing or lessening the value and prices of goods by the buyer and seller, by not keeping to the bargain, contract, covenant, or sample, by false weights and measures, and by taking the advantage of the weakness and ignorance of men; all which is aggravated by dealing thus with a brother; see 1 Corinthians 6:8 and this hint is thought the rather necessary, since Thessalonica was a place of great trade and business. But the matter, or business referred to, is not trade, but the subject of chastity or uncleanness the apostle is speaking of, both before and after; and the phrases used either design the act of adultery, coveting a brother's wife, and lying with her, and so a defrauding and wronging of him by defiling his bed; or rather sodomitical practices, an unnatural lust and desire in men after men, and copulation with them; for rendered, "go beyond", answers to , "to go upon", or "lie with", so often used in Jewish writings for lying with women, men, and beasts, in an unlawful way. Thus, for instance (y),

"these are to be burned, , "he that lies with a woman", and her daughter, &c.''

And again (z),

"these are to be beaten, , "he that lies with" his sister, or his father's sister, &c.''

And the word translated "defraud", signifies a greedy, insatiable, and unnatural lust and desire after a man, a brother, or the committing of sodomitical practices with greediness: see Ephesians 4:19 which abominable iniquities are dissuaded from by the following reasons,

because that the Lord is the avenger of all such; or "with respect to all these things", as the Vulgate Latin and Syriac versions render it; or "for all these things", as the Arabic and Ethiopic versions; as fornication, adultery, lasciviousness, and all sorts of abominable uncleanness. The person that commits these things the Lord avenges, either in this life, by the hand of the civil magistrate, who is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath on him that does evil; or by a violent death, as in the case of Zimri and Cozbi, and twenty four thousand more at the same time; or by some awful judgment from heaven, as in the case of Sodom and Gomorrah; or in the world to come; for the law of God is made and lies against such persons; these living and dying in such sins God will judge, to whom vengeance belongs; these shall not inherit the kingdom of God, but have their part and portion in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone.

As we have also forewarned you and testified; not by a former epistle, as if this was the second to them, and what follows the first, as Grotius thought; but they did this when they were in person with them, knowing that these abominable vices greatly prevailed in their city; therefore they bore their testimony against them, and exposed the evil of them, and warned them of the danger by them, so that they could not now plead ignorance. The Ethiopic version reads in the first person singular, "as I have before said unto you, and testified to you".

(y) Misna Sanhedrim, c. 9. sect. 1.((z) Misna Maccot, c. 3. sect. 1.

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