I Thess. 3:13. “To the end He may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.”
Have you noticed the frequency with which Paul refers to the return of Christ? There is a sad lack of knowledge, understanding and interest in eschatology among some believers these days. The thinking seems to be that way too much emphasis has been placed on the End Times, and we need to focus more on today. Not going to argue with that, because for a while it did seem as if everyone was totally focused on End Times theology. What we need is to strike a balance. We’re not always very good at doing so.
However, those things were very important in Paul’s thinking, and in the hearts and minds of believers in Paul’s day. They fully expected the return of the Lord in their lifetime, and looked for it with great longing. So should we. It would change the way we live if we thought as those early believers did.
To the end: This could also be accurately translated as for the purpose of. Paul is referring to verse 12, the prayer that their love would increase and abound. Verse 13 explains that the purpose of this great love would be to. . . .
Stablish your hearts: The increasing and overflowing love for God and for each other would strengthen them, make them firm and solid in their Christian character.
Hearts: In scripture, the heart is a term used to connote the whole inner life, including thought, feeling, and will. We don’t become stable by following rules and regulations, even thought doing so is a part of Christian character. Instead, our stability comes through the development of conscious inner strength which comes from love for and faith in God. In turn, we grow in love for each other and for all men. The goal of that growth is to be. . . .
Unblameable in holiness: To be unblameable is to be free of any guilt or misdoing. Someone has said that we need to live in such a way that if someone should accuse us of being Christians, there would be plenty of evidence to prove it. That is what it means for a Christian to be unblameable. I also need to point out here that we’re not talking about living this life in sinless perfection. Paul knew and understood that we would sin. The good news is that when we sin, we have an Advocate and a Propitiation for our sin (I John 2:1-2).
But what about holiness? Isn’t there an awful lot of nonsense about being too holy? Isn’t that for people who want to dress like they lived 300 years ago, and never do anything fun?
Not at all. The word holiness that Paul uses in this verse is hagiosune. It is used only by Paul in the New Testament (Rom. 1:4, 2 Cor. 7:1, I Thess. 3:13). It is not the process of becoming holy, but rather the quality of being holy. It denotes an ethical quality, a purity of life. It rests on the fact that by accepting Christ’s atoning work at Calvary, a believer is separated from the world and is set apart as belonging to God. If we are indeed devoted to God, we must also be separated from sin. There is outward holiness, manifested perhaps in our clothing and by what we “don’t do.” Far more important is the inner quality of holiness that is deeply offended by sin, and especially by our own sin. This kind of holiness comes from walking closely with God, knowing Him, and becoming more like Him in our hearts.
An unloving person cannot be a holy person. God’s primary attribute is His holiness. Without holiness, He could not truly also be Love. Love is of God; God is Love. When we love Him, we must become like Him, which leads us to an inner holiness that manifests outwardly in our behavior toward others.
Our holiness of character and conduct are derived from Him, and will be tested by Him–not by the rules, standards, strictures and ideas of man. Holiness is what we are, not what we do.
Finally, it will be those who are truly born again who will rejoice at the return of Jesus. What a day that will be! We will be presented to God the Father as sons, free from all fault and imperfection ( Eph. 5:27). I look forward to that day.