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Bible Commentaries

Morgan's Exposition on the Whole Bible

1 Thessalonians 4

Verses 1-18

At this point in his letter the apostle turned to exhortation. Timothy's report concerning the Thessalonians' condition had indicated that they needed some words of kindly warning.

The first subject is personal purity. Their life was lived in a city characterized by great moral looseness. The condition of the unregenerate Gentiles is revealed in the arresting phrase which describes them as living "in the passion of lust," and declares that the reason was that "they know not God." Hence the necessity for a life of purity among the members of Christ. Their attitude toward each other was to be that of love, while that toward those who "are without" was that they should be quiet, and attend to their daily work, thus bearing testimony to the power of the Gospel in life. No testimony is more powerful for God than that a life fulfilling the "daily round, and the common task," which is characterized by the renunciation of idols, and illuminated by the hope of the coming of the King.

It is evident that some of these Thessalonian Christians had fallen on sleep, and that, somehow, those remaining were afraid lest these departed ones had missed the realization of the glorious hope of the advent of Jesus. To correct that impression the apostle now dealt with the great subject, especially to show the relation of the advent to those who had thus fallen on sleep. They had been living in the "patience of hope." The apostle now declares that they who have fallen asleep will take precedence at the advent. Therefore, sorrow for the departed ones must not be the sorrow of despair. These loved ones are at present with the Lord, and at His Coming will accompany Him. What we may reverently describe as the program of the advent is then given. The Lord Himself will descend. Then the dead in Christ will rise, and receive the eternal body. Then the living will be caught up in the clouds, and the final truth is declared in the words, "So shall we ever be with the Lord."

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Bibliographical Information
Morgan, G. Campbell. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 4". "Morgan's Exposition on the Bible". 1857-84.