NOW IN UNION WITH CHRIST
Date: October 17
Category: After Repentance
1 Thessalonians 4:1
"Furthermore, brethren, we beg and admonish you in [virtue of our union with] the Lord Jesus, that [you follow the instructions which] you learned from us about how you ought to walk so as to please and gratify God, as indeed you are doing, [and] that you do so even more and more abundantly [attaining yet greater perfection in living this life]."
As believers, we are now all in union with Jesus Christ. That means that there are certain things that Jesus requires from us. Think about the union between a husband and a wife, for example. When you become united with a spouse, your life ought to be different than it was before you got married. Before you got married, you were not accountable to anybody. You could go as you please and do as you wish. But once you got married, your life changed. All of a sudden, you have been made accountable to your spouse. You cannot do certain things that you were able to do before, such as go out with your friends whenever you wanted. Your spouse became your most important friend.
Along with that, when you got married, you were required to do certain things for your spouse as well. It says in 1 Corinthians 7 that husbands and wives are to please and satisfy one another because that's what a marriage union requires. Because you have been united with your spouse, there are certain things you cannot do and certain things you are required to do. Well it's the same way with Jesus Christ. Since we are now Christians, we have been united with Christ. Because of that union, there are certain things that we cannot do and certain things that we are required to do as well.
Paul says here, "in [virtue of our union] with the Lord Jesus, that [you follow the instructions which] you learned from us." So what is that instruction that Paul is talking about? Well the instruction is "to walk so as to please and gratify God." So your primary focus should now be to please and gratify God, not yourself. God says here through the Apostle Paul that we should live a life that pleases and gratifies God because we are in union with Him.
So before you say or do something, ask yourself if those words or actions are going to please God. If you conclude that according to the Word, those things will please God, then go ahead. On the other hand, if you conclude that those things are not going to please God, then stop yourself from speaking those words and doing those actions. That's what it means to follow the instructions that Paul has taught us.
It says here that the believers in Thessalonica are already following those instructions, but Paul urges them to follow them even more. What's the reason for this? Well he says in the last part of this verse, "attaining yet greater perfection in living this life." In other words, our desire and focus should be to become better and better every single day, meaning to become more and more pleasing and acceptable to God.
As you read further on in the chapter, you will understand more clearly what it means to please God. It says in verse 3, "For this is the will of God, that you should be consecrated (separated and set apart for pure and holy living): that you should abstain and shrink from all sexual vice." In other words, we as believers should not engage in sexual immorality, pornography, or anything of that nature. (Leviticus 18:7-24 talks about the different sexual vices that we should not get involved with.)
Then Paul says in verse 4, "That each one of you should know how to possess (control, manage) his own body in consecration (purity, separated from things profane) and honor." Living a life that is pleasing to God means setting ourselves a part for godly use. That's what it means to be consecrated. Anyone who engages himself in these sexual vices and does not keep his body pure and honourable has no knowledge of the will of God (verse 5). The will of God is that we, now being in union with Christ, should all love one another (verse 9). That's what it means to be in the will of God and live a life that pleases and gratifies Him. It is our responsibility to do that since we are now in union with Christ.
When you got married to your spouse, your entire life changed. Because of that union, you had to cling to your spouse and do everything you could to please your spouse. When you became a Christian, there should have been a change in your life as well. Being in union with Christ means to cling to Him and live a life that pleases and gratifies Him. That means to refrain from sexual immorality and to consecrate our bodies for pure and godly use.