A Study of 1st Thessalonians 5:15
“See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.”
(I Thessalonians 5:15)
What is the purpose of this exhortation?
We must conclude that it was inspired by the Lord, for “holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (II Peter 1:21).
The Scriptures advocate that vengeance belongs to the Lord (Romans 12:19).
Notice the instructions in Proverbs 24:29: “Say not, I will do so to him as he hath done to me: I will render to the man according to his work.”
It is important to remember that the Lord takes care of rendering vengeance and does not leave it in the hands of man. Let us see what the Lord inspired in Romans 2:6: “Who will render to every man according to his deeds.”
May the Lord impress it upon our minds that this is the work of Almighty God!
In connection with this train of thought, let us consider the following words:
“Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love the brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing…”
(I Peter 3:8-9).
Notice the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:39: “But I say unto you, that ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also”.
We know that we could not follow those instructions unless the Lord blessed us to that extent. In other words, it is just natural to “strike back” unless the Lord blessed us with the grace to endure those persecutions.
What does all of this amount to?
The text forbids us from rendering evil unto evil to any man.
Are we hearing witness to the Lord by our conduct that we live in this life?
Did Jesus set the example for His people?
What does the Scripture say about the example that Jesus set?
“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth: who, when He was reviled, reviled not again: when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously.”
(I Peter 2:21-23)
Dear reader, do you believe these Scriptures tie in with the text?
It is wonderful what the Lord blesses us to follow the example that Jesus set. If that is true, then the Lord is blessing us to walk in the footsteps of Jesus.
May the Lord bless us to carefully consider and meditate upon the following Scriptures:
“Recompense to no man for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.”
The Scriptures advocate in other places that it is good to do that which is acceptable and well pleasing in the sight of the Lord, but notice the wording in this Scripture.
Why does it use the expression “provide things honest in the sight of all men”?
This is bearing witness to the Lord’s name by our conduct, is it not?
“If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceable with all men.”
Again, this is an exhortation telling us how we should conduct ourselves in our relationship in this world, if the Lord blesses us to that extent.
“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is Mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”
“But ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.”
(I Thessalnians 5:15)
What is the meaning of the expression of the text?
Our understanding is not to be “two-faced”.
We also think of this as a parallel exhortation: Meaning, not only to do that which is right in the sight of the brethren, but also in the sight of all that we have contact with in this life. We have already quoted the Scripture which commands us to provide things honest in the sight of all men.
We realize that we could not, of ourselves, follow the instructions in these Scriptures. The Lord must bless us to that extent. Many times the Lord lays out severe trials for us in order to teach us patience. Then we can look back and give thanks to the Lord for bringing us through these tribulations.
“My brethren count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.”
“And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”
We know the Scripture advocates that it is through much tribulation that ye enter into the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22).
By Woodrow W. Hudson