Scripture Notes.


1 Thessalonians 3:12; 1 Thessalonians 4:1, 10.

It is very interesting to observe the apostle's use of the word "abound" or "increase" in this epistle.* It is also important, as showing that there is no limit of attainment here for the believer. Many speak of perfection or holiness as something to be reached in this world; but the slightest glance at the teaching of the apostle on "abounding" reveals that these doctrines have no countenance from the word of God. He thus says, "The Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another," etc. There can be, it is evident, no standard for "abounding." Again, "Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and please God ["even as ye do walk," the Revised Version and others add], so ye would abound more and more." (1 Thess. 4:1.) These believers had been instructed how to walk and please God, and, accepting the added clause, they were walking so as to please God; and yet they were not to be satisfied - they were to "abound" more and more. So also, in the last scripture named (1 Thess. 4:10), they had been taught of God to love one another; and they were showing their love "toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia." But the apostle adds, "We beseech you, brethren, that ye increase [or "abound"] more and more." Whether, therefore, in loving one another, or loving all the brethren, all saints, or in pleasing God in their walk and ways, they were to abound more and more; and hence there was not one of these dear saints who could take the ground of saying, "I have reached the standard; I have now attained; and I am in the enjoyment of perfection." The answer at once to such vain imaginings would be, "Whatever your attainments, you have to 'abound more and more.'" And how could it be otherwise, when Christ, in His infinite love to us, is our example? (1 John 3:16.) and when, moreover, it is written, "He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked"? (1 John 2:6.) To claim to have reached the standard of Christ can only spring from a want of appreciation of what He is, and from ignorance of what we ourselves are.

We may add, as a point of interest, that the apostle's prayer in 1 Thess. 3:12 is seen to be answered in 2 Thess. 1:3; for he says, "Your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth." But even so there might be, bearing in mind the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, a larger measure of "abounding."

(*Both words are found in the first scripture; but the word translated "abound" is afterwards - in 4:10 - givers as "increase.")


1 Peter 1:19.

The word here rendered "without blemish" is found seven or eight times in the New Testament. Twice it is used of our blessed Lord and Saviour - in the scripture given above, and in Heb. 9:14, where it is translated "without spot." As the Lamb of God He was without blemish, the Lamb by whose precious blood we have been redeemed; and "through the eternal Spirit" He "offered Himself without spot to God." In every other place of its occurrence it is applied to believers. Thus we read, in Ephesians 1:4, that God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world, "that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love;" in Phil. 2:15, of "the children of God, without rebuke,* in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation," etc.; in Col. 1:22, that God hath reconciled His people, to present them "holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight;" in Jude 24, that we shall be presented "faultless** before the presence of His glory," etc.; and lastly, in Rev. 14:5, it is said of the 144,000 who will stand on Mount Zion with the Lamb, that "they are without fault before the throne of God." Leaving the reader to follow out the teaching of the several scriptures, we may call attention to two or three things: First, that our present standing before God is "without spot" - that God sees us, in a word, on the ground of the work of Christ, as spotless as He who accomplished it; secondly, that it is our present responsibility to be "without spot" ("without rebuke," Phil. 2:15) in our walk through this world; and lastly, that we shall be finally presented before God actually "without spot," entirely and perfectly conformed to Christ. What unspeakable and infinite grace! E. D.

*Some MSS. have a different form of the word in this passage.

**Another form of the word is also read here by some.