July 27, 2017
- By Ed Powell
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"For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness...to love one another...that ye increase more and more." 1 Thessalonians 4:7-10
It is the way of wisdom to make principle and practice go together. In relation to spiritual things, we often find many who seek to separate what God has united. For example, some make the gospel nothing more than a system of moral duties, creeds, form, and tradition. Others omit duty altogether, and seek to established their own peculiar views of its doctrines. Both of these concepts are wrong in themselves, apart from one another.
A superstructure is nothing without a foundation. Neither is a foundation anything without a superstructure. Each has its appropriate place; both are equally important; and each complements the other. The superstructure will fall without an adequate foundation. The foundation is basically useless without some type of superstructure built upon it. Paul wrote, "As a wise master builder" he laid his foundation deep and secure, then proceeded to carefully raise upon it a beautiful edifice to the glory of God.
Paul taught new believers the importance of being grounded in their faith so they would not be easily persuaded by the deceiver. He taught them to be "steadfast in their stand" so they would not fall when they encountered persecution, trials, and adversity. It was imperative for them to have knowledge of the truth, for it would be the foundation upon which their whole Christian experience and faith would be built. He realized how important it was for these truths to be not only firmly established in their minds, but to penetrate their hearts, and become applicable and effective in their everyday lives, putting into practice the faith they held dear and proclaimed to others.
It is wonderful to see people receive Christ as their Savior, but sad to see a stagnant life that does not grow in grace and knowledge of His Word. Often the problem lies with us for not coming alongside these new converts to encourage and disciple them in their spiritual journey. We need to stand with them, encourage them in the Word, and pray that God will create within their hearts a hunger and thirst for His Word, so that they will be established in the faith. That was heavy on Paul's heart in writing to these new believers in Thessalonica. He was anxious to return to them in order to "perfect [bring to maturity or completeness] that which was lacking in their faith."
Principle and practice...truth and application...must complement one another, bound together with one objective and one purpose. The same principle carries through when James wrote, "Faith, if it has not works, is dead.... You have faith and I have works. Show me your faith without your works and I will show you my faith by my works." James was simply saying that principle and practice go hand-in-hand. Truth and application must stand inseparably together. Paul rejoices in the progress they had made, but seeks to encourage them to excel and press forward to even greater attainments in holiness, commitment to God, and a deepening of their love to God and to one another. The challenge is also to us today. Paul says, "As you have received Christ Jesus the Lord [by faith], so walk in Him." May this be the desire of our hearts: "That in all things He will be magnified."
© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission.
This page was reprinted by permission from: http://litmin.org/dare.php?date=2017-07-27
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