1 Thessalonians 4:8 MEANING

1 Thessalonians 4:8
(8) "So you see that to act contumeliously in the matter is to act contumeliously not only towards your neighbour, but towards God Himself, and that, too, after He has given you a gift which should have preserved you from these corruptions."

He . . . that despiseth.--The verb means to treat as insignificant either persons or things. Here the object is not supplied in the first instance, in order to heighten the effect of the second clause. If we were to supply it, it would include all the rights which the unclean liver spurns, "the commandments which we (mere men as you thought us) gave you," the "brother" whose domestic happiness has been invaded, the unfortunate victim herself, and, finally, the "honour" due to the sinner's own body. Since it was God who ordered the relations in which we all stand to one another, contempt for these relations is contempt for Him.

Who hath also given.--Mistranslated for "who also gave." St. Paul is looking back to the day when he confirmed them; for the right reading is not "unto us," but "unto you," or more correctly "into you"--i.e., "to enter into you, and dwell there" (John 14:17, and many other places). The word "holy" in the original is very emphatically put:" Who also gave His Spirit--His Holy Spirit--to enter you," thus bringing out the startling contrast between such foul lives and the holiness which befitted and was possible (Romans 6:14; Romans 8:3-4) for men in whom the Holy Ghost, communicated by the laying on of hands, vouchsafed to dwell.

Verse 8. - He therefore that despiseth; or, as it is in the margin, rejecteth (R.V.). What is rejected is either the above commands to moral purity, or the Christian calling to holiness, or, better still, Paul himself, as the organ of God. Despiseth; or, rejecteth. Not man; that is, not me, as if the commands were given from myself - were of mere human origin. But God; the Giver of these commands. So also Peter said unto Ananias, "Thou hast not lied unto man, but unto God" (Acts 5:4); and our Lord says, "He that rejecteth you rejecteth me" (Luke 10:16). Who hath also given unto us his Holy Spirit. If this is the correct reading, then the apostle here again asserts his own inspiration, and that in the strongest and plainest terms. The best manuscripts, however, read, "who giveth his Holy Spirit unto you" (R.V.) - a strong enforcement of holiness, inasmuch as the Holy Spirit was given them for the express purpose of producing holiness within them.

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.He therefore that despiseth,.... The Vulgate Latin adds, "these things"; these exhortations now delivered, the commandments given by the Lord Jesus Christ, and the will of God above declared; he that rejects these things with contempt, takes no notice of them, and acts not according to them,

despiseth not man; not men only, the apostles of Christ, and ministers of the Gospel; for, by despising these exhortations, they themselves were despised, though not alone: but God; Father, Son, and Spirit; God the Father, whose will was their sanctification, even to abstain from fornication, and every act of uncleanness, which, if not attended to, was a despising of him; and the Lord Jesus Christ, by whom, and for whose sake they were entreated and exhorted, and in whose name, and by whose authority the apostle gave them these commandments; wherefore to slight them, was to slight Jesus Christ himself; and, by the way, this is a proof of the true and proper deity of Christ. Moreover, such despisers also, in some sense, do despite unto the spirit of grace, by whom the apostles spake, or who spoke in them these things, as follows,

who hath also given unto us his Holy Spirit; as he did to the prophets of the Old Testament, and therefore what they said was equally by divine inspiration of God; and hence despising them, was despising the Spirit of God that spake by them. The Syriac and Arabic versions read, "who hath given unto you his Holy Spirit"; and so all Stephens's copies; which furnishes out a fresh reason or argument, dissuading from uncleanness, since God had given them his "Spirit" to convince them of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment, so that they were not ignorant of the things warned against; and he had given them his Spirit as an "holy" Spirit, as a Spirit of sanctification, to begin and carry on that work in them, to which uncleanness was very opposite; and he had given his Spirit unto, or "into" them, to dwell in them, as in his temple, and therefore should be careful not to defile it; and to cause them to walk in his statutes, and to assist them to keep his judgments, and do them, and as an earnest of their inheritance, and a sealer of them up unto the day of redemption; wherefore it became them not to grieve him by an impure life; and they were laid under obligations to live in the Spirit, and to walk after him, and not after the flesh.

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