The will of God (1 Thess. 4:3)

“This is the will of God,

Your sanctification.

You must abstain

From fornication.”

Τοῦτο γάρ ἐστιν θέλημα τοῦ Θεοῦ, ὁ ἁγιασμὸς ὑμῶν, ἀπέχεσθαι ὑμᾶς ἀπὸ τῆς πορνείας,

Paul said, “This is the will of God (Τοῦτο γάρ ἐστιν θέλημα τοῦ Θεοῦ), your sanctification (ὁ ἁγιασμὸς ὑμῶν).  You must abstain (ἀπέχεσθαι ὑμᾶς) from fornication (ἀπὸ τῆς πορνείας).”  Only the Pauline letters used this word ἁγιασμὸς, that means consecration, sanctification, becoming holy, set apart, or consecrated.  Paul explained that to follow Jesus Christ they had to do the will of God.  They had to be sanctified or consecrated as holy to God.  This commandment of holiness meant that they were to abstain from fornication, any kind of sexual immorality.  Remember that this was the main thing that they asked for converts from the gentile pagan Greek culture, monotheism and abstaining from immoral sexual conduct.  Do you abstain from immoral sexual conduct?

The will of God (Wis 9:13-9:18)

“Who can learn the counsel of God?

Who can discern what the Lord wills?

The reasoning of mortals is worthless.

Our designs are likely to fail.

A perishable body weighs down the soul.

This earthy tent burdens the thoughtful mind.

We can hardly guess at what is on earth.

What is at hand

We find with labor.

But who has traced out

What is in the heavens?

Who has learned your counsel,

Unless you have given wisdom?

You sent your Holy Spirit from on high.

Thus the paths of those on earth

Were set right.

People were taught

What pleases you.

They were saved by wisdom.”

What is the will of the Lord (θέλει ὁ Κύριος)? How can you have counsel with God (βουλὴν Θεοῦ)? What man is able to know (ἄνθρωπος γνώσετα) these things because human reasoning is worthless? By our own designs we are likely to fail. Then we have the Platonic thought about how our perishable body (σῶμα) weighs down our souls (ψυχήν) as our earthly tent holds back our minds. We can only guess what is going on even when we work hard here on earth (γῆς). We have no idea what is going on in heaven (οὐρανοῖς). The only way that we know anything is with the counsel and the wisdom (σοφίαν) that your Holy Spirit (τὸ ἅγιόν σου πνεῦμα) gives to us. Here is a clear rare explicit mention of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament books. This is the only way that we can stay on the right path. We are saved by wisdom (τῇ σοφίᾳ).