“You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe; as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children, that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory” (1 Thessalonians 2.10-12).
The aim of our conduct is to see each other walk worthy of the God who calls us. Any other goal is fleshly. So, our character flows into conduct. But God also provides powerful incentive or a catalyst for such a walk in verse 12.
The Catalyst of the Christian
God has called us into His kingdom. The church at Thessalonica began with preaching in a Jewish synagogue. Paul had reasoned with the Jews for three Sabbaths within their own synagogue. He explained and demonstrated that Christ had to suffer, die, and rise again from the dead. Some Jews were persuaded, but many more were not. A great multitude of the devout Greeks and many leading women became believers in the city of Thessalonica. This caused great envy among the majority of Jews in the synagogue. The envy was fueled by the unbelief.
Envy spurred a great persecution that hounded Paul all the way to Rome. This is an emphasis in Acts. The Jews used evil men to start a riot in the city. A lynch-mob formed to find Paul and Silas. The believers in Thessalonica sent them both away by the cover of darkness to Berea. Acts 17.7 contains an accusation from the mob saying that Paul and Silas acted contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another King, namely Jesus. And that was absolutely true, but they had rejected their King and Messiah. Paul is now using the future kingdom as a catalyst for Thessalonian character and conduct in the present age. We walk worthy of God because we confidently expect that He will be all in all when His kingdom comes and His will is done on earth as it done in Heaven.
Second, God has called us into His glory. We live for the glory of God in the present age because we look toward the glory of God in eternal age. As a pastor, it’s my responsibility to manifest Christlike character and exemplify Christlike conduct. I cannot dictate to people, but I can lead the way by example. Our hope in our churches must be tied to things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. As I set my mind on things above and on the fact that I am God’s child, I will manifest the glory of God by the power of the Spirit. It is in this way that I walk worthy. It is in this way that all of us walk worthy.
Our body and spirit belong to God. So, we are driven by His kingdom and glory. The kingdom and glory of God are in fact the catalyst for good character and conduct. If that is not the case, we participate with emissaries of Satan. Or worse, we are actually professors of Christ and not possessors of Christ.
The grace of God is sufficient for us as believers. As we have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so let us walk in Him, rooted and built up …established in the faith (Colossians 2.6-7). Rely upon the blood of Christ. It continually cleanses you from guilt and sin. Then the Holy Spirit strengthens you to do what the Lord commands. If He calls us to poverty or abundance …to be full or to be hungry …to abound or suffer need, we can do it all through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4.10-13). The Holy Spirit alone provides strength in our inner man for the worthy walk.