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Kept Blameless

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Kept Blameless

1 Thessalonians 5:23,24

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it. 

S

anctification is one of those truths which is easily distorted.  Christians anticipate, according to the Word of God, three-fold sanctification.  Positionally, the saved are now declared holy before God the Father.  Practically, the redeemed are responsible to now grow in holiness.  Potentially, God’s people shall be presented holy and complete before the Son of God.  The message today is a study of the doctrine of sanctification and a review of the Bible’s teaching concerning the thorough work which God performs in the life of each believer.

In the Corinthian letters we are afforded a look at the purpose of the judgement of the Christian.  When I review these verses I am comforted instead of being terrified. The Apostle, in 2 Corinthians 5:10 speaks of the appearance of Christians before the Bema.  We must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.  By itself this verse could easily hold terror since we know that there is no possibility that our good outweighs our bad.  What I would have you see is that the Judgement Seat is a place of revelation and a place of reckoning as well as a place of reward and recognition.  In order to form the more complete view we must look to some other passages from Paul’s letters.

I said that the Judgement Seat of Christ is a place of revelation, and that is clearly seen in 1 Corinthians 3:13 and 1 Corinthians 4:5.  Carefully consider those two verses. [H]is [the one standing before Christ] work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work.  Again, judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes.  He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.  It should be evident that one great purpose of the Judgement Seat of Christ is to reveal something in the life of the believer. That which is revealed is the basis for praise from God.

Likewise, the Bema (Judgement Seat) is also a place of reckoning as seen in Romans 14:10-12: we will all stand before God's judgement seat.  It is written:

“As surely as I live,” says the Lord,

“every knee will bow before me;

every tongue will confess to God.”

So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.

To this point I will concede that it is possible that an individual might shrink in terror at the prospect of giving an account to God.  Indeed, if we are intimately identified with this earth we have reason to fear such an accounting.  However, if the work God has begun in us is thorough we are finding that increasingly the accoutrements of this life are losing their appeal and we are increasingly longing to be complete in Christ.  It is this aspect of the Judgement Seat which is often overlooked.

In 1 Corinthians 3:12-15 and 4:1-6 we read: If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light.  It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work.  If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward.  If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.

So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God.  Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.  I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself.  My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent.  It is the Lord who judges me.  Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes.  He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts.  At that time each will receive his praise from God.

Now, brothers, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, ‘Do not go beyond what is written.’  Then you will not take pride in one man over against another.

The former passage becomes a source of deepest comfort in light of the latter.  That last sentence in verse five has become a great comfort to many of the saints of God: At that time each will receive his praise from God.  It is clear that the purpose of the Judgement Seat of Christ is to reveal the perfection of His work in the redeemed as He rewards and recognises His own.  All this is possible because of the promise of our text.

The Child Of God May Anticipate Complete Sanctification — May God Himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through.  In a previous message I spoke on the faithfulness of God from these same verses.  Now I must pause for a moment to take special note the Apostle’s language. Aujto;" de; oJ qeo;" th`" eijrhvnh".  Himself is emphatic by its position in this sentence.  Himself is the God of peace.  This is a common term in Paul’s writings.  In Romans 15:33 Paul concludes that letter with the glorious prayer that The God of peace be with you all.  The Apostle follows up on that petition with a statement of confidence in Romans 16:20.  The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.  Philippians 4:9 and Hebrews 13:20 also introduce God as the God of peace.

By using this particular term—the God of peace—Paul could be emphasising the unity of the Godhead.  In other words, God is one.  It is more likely, however, that He is pointing out that for the child of God security and confidence is found in God.  In the text before us the most sensible understanding of what the Apostle intended to convey is the thought that we may rest confident in the knowledge that this business of sanctification is the responsibility of God from beginning to end.[1]

It will be helpful, then, if we each understand what is meant by sanctification.  Apparently sanctification is a process which God oversees, even actively directs, in the life of the believer.  God is the initiator and the overseer of the process.  Furthermore, if Paul’s plea is any indication, sanctification is thorough and total.  Nevertheless, there is a role for the child of God to play in the process of sanctification.

We discover that Paul presents a double petition (what some call wish prayers)—for sanctification and for preservation.  Some good biblical scholars have questioned whether this is in fact a prayer, but the evidence seems rather clear that Paul does present this request as a prayer for the people of God.  There appears to be no essential difference between the two pleas Paul presents.  This is especially true if the second petition is paraphrased be kept so as to be blameless at the Parousia.  Clearly the emphasis in both prayers is on the thoroughness of God’s sanctifying work.[2]  Despite the similarities, I will contend that a case can be made for distinction in the two concepts.  The case is strong if for no other reason than that the Spirit of God is never superfluous.

When we began the message today we began with the recognition that sanctification must always be viewed in three tenses.  Positionally, the saved are now declared holy before God the Father.  At the moment we were born into the Kingdom of God we were declared holy.  The child of God may be confident that he or she is now pure by the sacrifice of Christ the Lord.  I invite you to focus on Ephesians 1:3-8, noting especially the fact that all that God has done for His child is already accomplished.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.  For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.

Practically, the redeemed are responsible to grow in holiness throughout this life. Having been saved, Christians are responsible to work together with God in order that they may live holy and pure lives.  This is the import of Peter’s words in 1 Peter 1:22,23.  Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.  For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.  Likewise, this is the reason the Apostle urges the Thessalonians to live sanctified lives in 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8.  In practical terms Christians are to be a holy people, exhibiting lives which are pure and righteous.  In so living we honour God and demonstrate that we are a transformed people who are born from above.

Though we shall not likely ever be absolutely pure and holy in this life, contaminated as we are in the flesh, we are not excused from living so as to honour God. We cannot excuse wickedness.  Otherwise, Peter’s admonition to Christians becomes meaningless?  Prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.  As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.  But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy” [1 Peter 1:13-16]. Peter is not setting an impossible standard, but he is presenting a goal which must ever be held before the eyes of those who will glorify God.

Potentially, God’s people shall be presented holy and complete before the Son of God.  Paul speaks of his jealousy for the Corinthian Church, stating that he promised the people to one husband, to Christ, so that he might present them as a pure virgin to Him [cf. 2 Corinthians 11:2].

This same truth is evident in Paul’s opening words in the Ephesian encyclical.  In [Christ] we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.  And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory [Ephesians 1:11-14].

Note also that Paul has already comforted the Thessalonians with this same promise of potential or final sanctification in 1 Thessalonians 3:12,13.  May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.  May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.  This is not simply a petition but a statement of God’s purpose.  If you are a Christian, you will be blameless and holy in the presence of God when Christ comes.  God has committed Himself to the future holiness and purity of each Christian.

Someone has stated that God does not deal in junk.  Thus those to whom God commits Himself, those who receive His gracious rule over their lives, have received the divine commitment for total transformation into the image of Christ.  We Christians learn early in our walk with Christ a beautiful and comforting verse in Romans 8:28.  We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  What is tragic is that we fail to learn the following two verses.  These verses give the reason for God’s gracious work in the lives of those who love Him. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.  And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified [Romans 8:29,30].

You will no doubt recall that Paul began chapter four with an exhortation for Christians to lead sanctified lives [1 Thessalonians 4:3-8].  Chapter five concludes with a prayer for God to sanctify His people.  This prayer for preservation gives encouragement to persist in hope despite trials [1 Thessalonians 1:3, 10; 2:14-16; 3:5; 5:10, 11].  Focus on the Apostle’s language briefly.  AJgiavsai uJma`" oJlotelei`"—may He sanctify you completely.  The optative in this instance is in the aorist tense (the “complexive” aorist being regularly used in prayers).  Thus if aJgiavsai is a process, it is the completion of the process that is in view here, as is also true in 1 Thessalonians 3:13.  By use of the Greek word oJlotelei`" (oJlotelhv")—wholly, entirely, quite completely, Paul is emphasising the completeness of God’s pledge to the child of God.  This is why the Christian is known as a saint.  The Christian is not sinless, but the Christian shall be sinless.  The deliberate choice of this word not only implies entirety, but also involves the further idea of completion.  This is the sole place in Scripture this word occurs.  The promise of our perfection is emphatic.

The Child Of God May Anticipate Full Preservation — May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  One of the great tenets of the Faith, and one of the most controversial, is the doctrine of the preservation of the saints.  On occasion you will hear this truth referred to as the perseverance of the saints, but I prefer to emphasise the work of God and speak of the preservation of the saints.  This truth states that God, having invested Himself in the individual believer, has committed Himself to ensure that that believer will be kept blameless and delivered faultless into His presence.  It is not that we will keep ourselves from sin, though we are to endeavour to do so, but it is rather that God will finally deliver us from all sin.

I can remember one of the most heated discussions in which I ever engaged my dad revolved around this comforting truth.  My dad, together with many good Christians, believed that a person could be saved and then lost again.  He felt it necessary to hold to salvation and he was convinced that should he fail to cling to his salvation he could lose it.  He was distressed that I held to the position that Christ saves and therefore Christ is responsible to bring the child of God into the presence of the Father.

“Son,” he said, “if I believed what you believe I would take my fill of sin.”

“Dad,” I replied with calm conviction, “I had my fill of sin.”  The issue is not how much can I get away with and still be a Christian, but the issue rather turns on how I was saved and on who does the saving.  If Christ saves an individual that individual is done with sin and cannot ever again view sin lightly.

I continued by asking him a question which I now pose to you.  How were you saved?  Of course as a Christian you will confess that you were saved by faith in Christ the Risen Son of God.  If your salvation was the result of faith in Christ, why should you think that anything other than faith would suffice to deliver you into Christ’s presence?  If you were saved through your own efforts then it will be necessary for you to continue those efforts until the day you are delivered from dependence upon your own strength.  If, on the other hand, you were saved by God’s grace, then God’s grace will be necessary and sufficient to bring you at last into His glorious presence.  There is nothing that the individual can do to keep himself in God’s grace.  Brought into the glorious presence of the True and Living God each saint will rejoice to confess that it was all of grace.

Paul insists that sanctification is through and through.  In this second prayer he pleads for each saint—the whole person … spirit, soul and body—to be kept blameless.  He prays that the whole person be preserved at Christ’s coming.  Two words convey this thought of wholeness in the separate prayers.  We have already considered the first word, oJlotelhv", and its meaning.  It is translated through and through in the first prayer.  In this second prayer the word which is translated whole is akin to that former word.  OJlovklhro~ means with integrity, whole, complete, undamaged, intact, or blameless.  This particular word occurs but twice in the whole of the New Testament [cf. James 1:4, complete].  OJlovklhro~ is a qualitative term which is used in the Apostle’s prayer in the ethical sense may your spirit… (etc.) be preserved complete or sound. The point is that no part of the Christian personality should be lacking in consecration.

If these two words (oJlotelhv" and oJlovklhro~) can be distinguished, then probably the former implies a totality from which no part is excluded and the latter an integrity in which each part has its due place and proportion.[3]  This means that the real you will be complete in Christ at His coming.  Your soul will have been saved because your spirit was renewed in Christ and you will receive a glorified body.  All this is by God’s grace.

Christians will be kept blameless (ajmevmptw").  The word is an adverb meaning blamelessly.  Again Paul uses a rare word which occurs only twice in the New Testament [see also 1 Thessalonians 2:10].  First, Christ saves our soul.  He gives us His Spirit.  At last He shall give us a new body.

Christ saves our soul.  Perhaps you recall the words Jesus spoke which Matthew recorded?  If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.  What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul [Matthew 16:24-26]?  This is but a divine iteration of the words of the Psalmist.

No man can by any means redeem his brother,

Or give to God a ransom for him—

For the redemption of his soul is costly,

And he should cease trying forever—

That he should live on eternally;

That he should not undergo decay.

[Psalm 49:7-9 nasv]

The Lord gives us a new spirit, even as Ezekiel has said in his prophecy.  I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh [Ezekiel 36:26].  Paul, writing to the Romans, speaks of the Spirit of Christ who dwells within each child of God.  You are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.  And if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.  But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you [Romans 8:9-11].  The Spirit of Christ is even now changing us.  Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.  But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit [2.Corinthians 3:16-18].

At last we are promised a new body at the coming of Christ.  [The body] is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body…  Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly [1 Corinthians 15:42-44, 49].

We are even now being kept blameless and we shall be kept blameless until Christ Himself returns.  Again, the construction of the sentence assumes importance in our understanding of this doctrine.  The preposition at (ejn th`/ parousiva) implies that it was the day of the Parousia itself that Paul had in mind.[4]  When I speak of the Parousia I refer to that Day when the Lord returns.  It is the Day of the Lord, the same Day of the Lord to which Paul previously referred in 1 Thessalonians 5:2.

I realise that the promise is that we shall be blameless before the Lord and that we shall be pure in our entirety.  However, God through the Apostle makes this as strong as possible.  When Paul wrote that we would be kept blameless, the word he used and which we have translated kept [thrhqeivh] is a military word which word has a sense of protecting, watching over and guarding.  Furthermore, the verb is aorist, passive, optative.  As was true with the previous verb this also focuses on the completion of action.  The protection of saints is certain.  We are divinely guarded such that we shall be blameless at the coming of Christ.  This is not through our effort but solely by God’s grace.

On a day, together with all the saints of God, we who are Christians shall witness the return of Jesus the Lord.  Just as He promised He shall return with power and great glory, and we who are called by His Name shall be presented before Him to the praise of His glory.  Our souls are saved and we have received the Spirit of Christ and at that day we shall receive our glorified bodies.  John saw that glorious day which shall soon come. I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.  And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He shall dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them, and He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away”  [Revelation 21:1-4].

I do wish to note that the body is included in God’s saving and sanctifying purpose.  Christians should not assume that the body is unimportant.  Such a view is Gnostic at best and pagan at worst.  The body is important in that it, together with the soul and the spirit, reflect the image of God.  The body is to be treated with respect which means that we dare not submit to the mastery of our own desires, but instead master our desires so that this body may be an instrument employed in praise to God.

We will not exist as shades wandering in an eternal and abysmal dark netherworld.  This may have been difficult for Greeks to accept, in view of the depreciation of the body in several of their philosophical schools of thought, but Paul insists on it.[5]  This is the foundation for the apostolic instruction to learn to control [one’s] own body in a way that is holy and honourable [cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:4].  In this light, weigh the words which Paul wrote to the Corinthian church concerning the Christian view of the body. The passage is found in 1 Corinthians 6:13-20.

“Food for the stomach and the stomach for food”—but God will destroy them both. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.  By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also.  Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never!  Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.”  But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.

Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.  Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your body.

.

The Child Of God May Anticipate Absolute Faithfulness — The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.  Once again the construction of the Greek is important to our comfort.  Pisto;" oJ kalw`n uJma`", o}" kai; poihvsei.  The word translated calls is a present, active participle whereas the verb translated by the English phrase He will do it is future, active, indicative.  Our calling is an act of God occurring now, but it continues on into the future.  When we read He will do it the original language conveys the sense of certainty.  We would not be remiss to translate this phrase He indeed will do it.  He who initiates the work of sanctification in His people’s lives can be relied upon to complete the work.  This is attested elsewhere by the Apostle.  I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.  For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus [Philippians 1:6].

What is this business of sanctification, of preservation, about?  Why should God care about how I live or of how I shall appear at some future date?  Conformity to the image of Christ is the goal and climax of sanctification.  When we read those words— pisto;" oJ kalw`n uJma`"—we understand that God has a plan which He is working out for our benefit and for His glory.  That plan is revealed in Scripture.  Consider these words from the Book.  [God] will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.  God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful [1 Corinthians 1:8,9].

God who calls us into fellowship is faithful.  Pisto;" oJ qeov".  The concept is so similar to that which we have been studying that it is virtually identical.  The child of God will be blameless on the Day of Christ the Lord.  The blameless condition is the responsibility of God who calls us into fellowship with the Lord and not because of our own ability to keep ourselves without blame.

You will likely remember early in the message that I cited Paul’s words in Romans 8:28-30.  We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.  And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

Before the world began we who are the redeemed of God were predestined.  We who were predestined received a call from God.  We who were called by God into fellowship with His Son were also justified.  We who were justified shall yet be glorified. This divine predestination is so that we may be conformed to the likeness of Christ.  God is at work changing us into the likeness of Christ.  This is the meaning of John’s words in 1 John 2:28-3:3

Now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.

If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.  Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.  Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.

 God began a work in us at the time of salvation.  That divine work which He began will continue until the Day of Christ.  At that time we will be glorified, changed into the likeness of Christ Jesus our Lord.  Christ comes to be glorified among His people [2 Thessalonians 1:10], but He shall be glorified in us [2 Thessalonians 1:12].

To you who are children of the Living God, I present this glorious truth of God’s great work of sanctification.  This is a work which is even now ongoing in your life.  Before the throne of God you now stand pure, and you shall yet stand complete in Christ at His return.  You shall be kept blameless.  May the knowledge of God’s great plan inspire you to live lives which honour Him and glorify His Name.

To you who are outside the Faith, I have great news of hope.  You, also, may be included among this glorious number if you will but receive the life which Christ offers.  If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.  As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”  For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” [Romans 10:9-13].

Our invitation to you is to believe this Good News that you may be saved today.  Join us in standing holy in the sight of God and in the hope of being holy in the presence of God at the return of Christ the Lord.  Amen.


If these two words (oJlotelhv" and oJlovklhro~) can be distinguished, then probably the former implies a totality from which no part is excluded and the latter an integrity in which each part has its due place and proportion.  This means that the real you will be complete in Christ at His coming.  Your soul will have been saved because your spirit was renewed in Christ and you will receive a glorified body.  All this is by God’s grace.

Christians will be kept blameless (ajmevmptw").  The word is an adverb meaning blamelessly.  Again Paul uses a rare word which occurs only twice in the New Testament [see also 1 Thessalonians 2:10].  First, Christ saves our soul.  He gives us His Spirit.  At last He shall give us a new body.


----

[1] F. F. Bruce, Word Biblical Commentary:1 & 2 Thessalonians, Word, Ó 1982, pg. 129

[2] John Stott, The Gospel & the end of Time: The Message of 1 & 2 Thessalonians, InterVarsity, Ó 1991, pg. 132

[3] John Stott, ibid., pg. 133

[4] D. Michael Martin, The New American Commentary: 1,2 Thessalonians, Vol. 33, Broadman, Ó 1995, pg. 190

[5] F. F. Bruce, ibid., pg. 131

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