Helloooooo Shovel! I wanted to hear your views on 1 Thessalonians 4:6b “the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you.” The “avenger” and “solemn warnings”… to what end?
That God is the “avenger” is his simple establishment of human government to reward or punish accordingly (he describes that in Romans 13). This is the life of the flesh, this is its game, its modus operandi (mode of operation).
So, the warning is slipping back into living a life controlled by consequences?
Here’s the passage:
For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification. So, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 NASB
In answer to your question, yes, it has everything to do with that. In fact, the way Paul described living in that realm is this:
like the Gentiles who do not know God
I’m not suggesting some kind of grace technicality that creates an out-of-context perspective onto a passage, but rather, I suggest we’ve been taught to overlook the life-versus-death distinctions that sit right in the middle of so many so-called problem passages. For centuries, false teachers in the Christian religion have gone to great lengths to remove all semblance of the one and only foundation upon which those in Christ live — which is our inheritance in the knowledge of God.
From everything I’ve come to understand of Paul’s writings, it is no small thing for him to have mentioned this distinction. A distinction by which he drew all attention back upon the reality that we have been removed from darkness, death, blindness, and ignorance, and that we have been brought into the light, life, sight, and knowledge.
If you had been given a key to a treasure house of your inheritance, it would only take a mere reference to either the key or some single piece within that storehouse to pull it all back into perspective. Such is the case with all the writers of the good news letters we have. And if we will just look for it, we will see how they took the time to remind the believers of the vast wealth we now have in Christ in the midst of so many of their seemingly non-connected statements. To the Thessalonians, Paul dealt with the very basis of their lives in the midst of a world that appears sometimes desirous, sometimes perverse, sometimes full of goodness or evil.
Regarding sexual immorality, we have been convinced in many ways that those in the world have discovered something about real love that we don’t have. We don’t have too look far because it’s on our televisions, in our email inboxes, on Google, and so on. Oh, it’s not sexual intimacy that Paul wrote about, it’s about the delusions of those in ignorance who only appear to have discovered true and lasting love and seuxal intimacy. The “lustful passion” of those who do not konw God revolves around one’s own desire for self-gratification.
After all, those who do not know God will justify whatever means it takes to find what they call true love, and it makes no difference if one has to betray his friends and family to pursue it. And when they tire of the newfound object of their desires, they will leave another trail of destruction in their path to happiness and fulfillment. You know, What’s love got to do, got to do with it?
But we know God! And in this knowledge, we also know that true love has never been found by those in the world, despite all the hype and propaganda. For us to follow the wisdom, the advice, the examples, or the lifestyles of those who do not know God will take us down the same paths of destruction we have already experienced.
I know the religious mind is filled with misconceptions regarding the vengeance of God, as it took years for me to detox from seeing God according to the vengeance of man. It turns out that God is not the one who’s got the pitchfork in his hand, but rather it has been men who nit-pick and judge every little transgression according to his own skewed perspective!
What is the vengeance or wrath of God in this world? Listen carefully:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, Romans 1:18
Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity Romans 1:24
For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions Romans 1:26
And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind Romans 1:28
And yes, I know I only quoted parts of those verses, but I did it on purpose. Why? Because we’ve learned how to slide right by the meaning of the wrath of God by grabbing our favorite parts that I left off. The wrath or vengeance of God is found in the outworking of those who judge all things for, by, and/or according to themselves.
To exist within the prison of the mind that has no knowledge of God is a curse. And no matter how appealing it might seem,iIt is pain, it is heartbreak, it is destruction. Those who have been set free need to be reminded that no matter how good the world looks at times, it is all part of the lie.
Yeah, yeah, I know that God works all things together for our good —and that he even uses our futile attempts to find happiness and fulfillment in the world to pull us back into sanity— but that reality was not made known so that we might rationalize stupidity and justify ourselves. For the wisdom that does not know God taught us how to look for scriptural justifications and validations. That’s why Paul’s words of grace sound different when he wrote this way:
…just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you…
Paul was not trying to warn them about the usual religious Christian fears like going to hell or losing their salvation or losing rewards. That kind of thinking crept into the Biblical perspective as the truth of the gospel kept getting pushed out. Instead, Paul was telling the Thessalonians the same kind of thing he told the Galatians when he scolded them about forgetting their inheritance in Christ, or the Corinthians when he asked them if they knew who they were. The issue in every such occurrence revolves around the reality that we are no longer part of the world we were taken out of, meaning that we need to stop listening to any and all rationalizations of the world — those that appear good as well as those that appear bad.