1 Thessalonians 5:18
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
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(18) In every thing give thanks.—To the Christian who really trusts his Father’s providence, and believes that his prayers are heard, every moment’s occurrence will be just that which he has prayed for—the fulfilment of our Father’s will. It is for this reason that thanksgiving is so inseparably joined with prayer. (See Philippians 4:6; Colossians 4:2.)

This is the will of Godi.e., that you should be always full of thanksgiving. This clause hardly enforces thanksgiving as a duty, “Give thanks always, for you recognise the duty of doing God’s will, and this is His will;” but rather encourages the Thessalonians to see that thankfulness is always possible. “Give thanks always, for God has no wish to give you cause for sorrow: His will towards you is to fill you with thankfulness.” “Towards you” seems here a more exact rendering than “concerning you.”

In Christ Jesus.—This kind and loving will of God for our good was most abundantly manifested in the life and death and resurrection of Christ Jesus, and even to this day it is chiefly manifested in what Christ Jesus still is for us (e.g. Hebrews 6:19-20).

5:16-22 We are to rejoice in creature-comforts, as if we rejoiced not, and must not expect to live many years, and rejoice in them all; but if we do rejoice in God, we may do that evermore. A truly religious life is a life of constant joy. And we should rejoice more, if we prayed more. Prayer will help forward all lawful business, and every good work. If we pray without ceasing, we shall not want matter for thanksgiving in every thing. We shall see cause to give thanks for sparing and preventing, for common and uncommon, past and present, temporal and spiritual mercies. Not only for prosperous and pleasing, but also for afflicting providences, for chastisements and corrections; for God designs all for our good, though we at present see not how they tend to it. Quench not the Spirit. Christians are said to be baptized with the Holy Ghost and with fire. He worketh as fire, by enlightening, enlivening, and purifying the souls of men. As fire is put out by taking away fuel, and as it is quenched by pouring water, or putting a great deal of earth upon it; so we must be careful not to quench the Holy Spirit, by indulging carnal lusts and affections, minding only earthly things. Believers often hinder their growth in grace, by not giving themselves up to the spiritual affections raised in their hearts by the Holy Spirit. By prophesyings, here understand the preaching of the word, the interpreting and applying the Scriptures. We must not despise preaching, though it is plain, and we are told no more than what we knew before. We must search the Scriptures. And proving all things must be to hold fast that which is good. We should abstain from sin, and whatever looks like sin, leads to it, and borders upon it. He who is not shy of the appearances of sin, who shuns not the occasions of it, and who avoids not the temptations and approaches to it, will not long keep from doing sin.In every thing give thanks - See the Ephesians 5:20 note; Philippians 4:6 note. We can always find something to be thankful for, and there may be reasons why we ought to be thankful for even those dispensations which appear dark and frowning. Chrysostom, once the archbishop of Constantinople, and then driven into exile, persecuted, and despised, died far away form all the splendors of the capital, and all the comforts and honors which he had enjoyed, uttering his favorite motto - δόξα τῷ Θεῷ πάντων ἕνεκεν doxa tō Theō pantōn heneken - "glory to God for all things." Bibliotheca Sacra, 1:700. So we may praise God for everything that happens to us under his government. A man owes a debt of obligation to him for anything which will recall him from his wanderings, and which will prepare him for heaven. Are there any dealings of God toward people which do not contemplate such an end? Is a man ever made to drink the cup of affliction when no drop of mercy is intermingled? Is he ever visited with calamity which does not in some way contemplate his own temporal or eternal good! Could we see all, we should see that we are never placed in circumstances in which there is not much for which we should thank God. And when, in his dealings, a cloud seems to cover his face, let us remember the good things without number which we have received, and especially remember that we are in the world of redeeming love, and we shall find enough for which to be thankful.

For this is the will of God - That is, that you should be grateful. This is what God is pleased to require you to perform in the name of the Lord Jesus. In the gift of that Saviour he has laid the foundation for that claim, and he requires that you should not be unmindful of the obligation; see the notes, Hebrews 13:15.

18. In every thing—even what seems adverse: for nothing is really so (compare Ro 8:28; Eph 5:20). See Christ's example (Mt 15:36; 26:27; Lu 10:21; Joh 11:41).

this—That ye should "rejoice evermore, pray without ceasing, (and) in every thing give thanks," "is the will of God in Christ Jesus (as the Mediator and Revealer of that will, observed by those who are in Christ by faith, compare Php 3:14) concerning you." God's will is the believer's law. Lachmann rightly reads commas at the end of the three precepts (1Th 5:16-18), making "this" refer to all three.

In every thing give thanks: when we have obtained mercy by prayer, then we are to give thanks, and whatever we may pray for, that we ought to give thanks for. And so by that understand and limit the general expression in the text. We are not to give thanks when we fall into sin, for that we ought not to pray for; yet if we have the pardon of it, or get any good by it, we should then give thanks: and so may be said concerning affliction; we are to give thanks in every condition, either of prosperity or adversity. And with all our supplications, we are to join thanksgivings, Philippians 4:6 Colossians 4:2; and thanksgiving properly refers to some mercy received, whether privative or positive, temporal or spiritual, private or public, and we are in all these to give thanks. Though praising God may reach further, which is to adore the excellencies of his being as they are glorious in themselves, or the excellencies of his works as they are in themselves praiseworthy. And thanksgiving for mercy received is:

1. A taking notice of it as coming from God.

2. Setting a due value upon it.

3. A sense of God’s goodness and our own unworthiness.

4. Praising him for it.

For this is the will of God: some carry this as a motive to all the preceding duties; but rather to this last mentioned: as if this was in special the will of God, being a duty so much to his own glory and our good; and by will we must by a metonymy understand the thing willed, Ephesians 6:6 Colossians 4:12. It is required by the law of nature not written, which is part of God’s will. The heathen are reproved for not being thankful, Romans 1:21; and they made laws to punish it, and accounted it the greatest reproach, ingratum si dixeris omnia dixeris. And it is required by the law of God that is written. The moral law requires it; and the ceremonial law required offerings by way of thanksgiving, which we call gratulatory. And the gospel requires it, it being one of the gospel sacrifices, Hebrews 13:15, and pleaseth the Lord better than the greatest of the legal sacrifices, Psalm 69:30,31: and it being said to be the will of God in the text, it must needs be pleasing to him.

In Christ Jesus; either meant as this will of his is signified to us by him, not only by the law of nature, of Moses, but by Christ Jesus; and so it may be of greater force upon Christians, and hereby it is to be looked upon as one of the commandments of Christ also. Or we may understand it, upon the attempt of Christ, and the great love of God in him. Though thanksgiving is due for the least mercy, yet God’s will especially requires it with respect to Christ. And so especially of Christians who partake of Christ, and the love of God in him; as the apostle here adds, eiv umav.

Concerning you; or towards you in special: the heathens were obliged to thankfulness for rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, these common blessings; much more are Christians for the special blessings they receive by Christ Jesus. In everything give thanks,.... That is, to God the Father, in the name of Christ; see Ephesians 5:20 thanks are to be given to him for all things, as the Ethiopic version renders it; for all temporal good things; for our beings, the preservation of them; for food and raiment, and all the mercies of life; for the means of grace, the word and ordinances, and the ministers of the Gospel; for spiritual blessings, for electing, redeeming, regenerating, adopting, pardoning, justifying, and persevering grace: for a meetness for heaven, a right unto it, and a good hope of it; and especially for Jesus Christ, for such an husband, such an head, such a surety and Saviour, and advocate with the Father, as he is; and for life, peace, joy, comfort, righteousness, and salvation in him: and thanks should be given to God in every circumstance of life; in adversity, as Job did; when not in so comfortable and agreeable a frame of soul as to be wished for, since it might be worse, and is not black despair; even under the temptations of Satan, since they might be greater and heavier, and since the grace of God is sufficient to bear up under them, and deliver out of them, and since there is such a sympathizing high priest and Saviour; and in afflictions of every kind, since they are all for good, temporal, or spiritual, or eternal.

For this is the will of God; which may refer either to all that is said from 1 Thessalonians 5:11 to this passage, or particularly to this of giving thanks; which is the revealed and declared will of God, is a part of that good, perfect, and acceptable will of his, and what is well pleasing in his sight, and grateful to him; see Psalm 69:30 and is

in Christ Jesus concerning you; either declared in and by him, who has made known the whole of the will of God, and so the Arabic version, "which he wills of you by Jesus Christ"; or which is exemplified in Christ, who for, and in all things, gave thanks to God, and had his will resigned to his in every circumstance of life; or, which being done, is acceptable to God through Christ. The Alexandrian copy reads, "for this is the will of God towards you in Christ Jesus"; that is, with respect to you who are in Christ secretly by election, and openly by the effectual calling; and who, of all men in the world, have reason to be thankful for everything, and in every circumstance.

In every thing give thanks: for this is the {f} will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

(f) An acceptable thing to God, and such as he approves well of.

1 Thessalonians 5:18. Christians ought not only to pray to God, but also to give thanks to Him, and that ἐν παντί] in everything, i.e. under every circumstance, in joy as well as in sorrow; which is different only in form, but not in meaning, from περὶ παντός, for everything. Incorrectly Estius: in omnibus sc. bonis; and Flatt: ἐν παντί, sc. καιρῷ.

τοῦτο] sc. τὸ ἐν παντὶ εὐχαριστεῖν. This is the most natural meaning. Yet it were not incorrect, with Grotius, Scholt, and Bloomfield, to refer τοῦτο to 1 Thessalonians 5:17, as prayer and thanksgiving form a closely connected unity; comp. Php 4:6; Colossians 4:2. Also to refer it even to 1 Thessalonians 5:16 (Cornelius a Lapide, Alford) may be justified from the same reason. On the contrary, there is no reason to refer it to the whole passage from 1 Thessalonians 5:14 onwards (Musculus, Calovius, and others), as then ταῦτα would require to have been written.

θέλημα] (sc. ἐστίν) denotes will, requirement, as in 1 Thessalonians 4:3 : the article is here wanting, because the will of God comprehends more than εὐχαριστεῖν: this is only one requirement among many. Otherwise Schott, who finds in θέλημα Θεοῦ the divine decree of salvation indicated. According to him, the meaning is: “Huc pertinet sive hoc secum fert decretum divinum (de vobis captum, itemque in Christo positum), ut gratias deo pro omnibus agere debeatis. Vos enim, huic servatori addictos, latere amplius non potest, quaecunque Christianis acciderint, deo volente, eorum saluti consulere aeternae, Romans 8:28 ff.” But (1) the ἐστίν to be supplied cannot denote: huc pertinet or hoc secum fert; (2) the article τό would not be wanting either before θέλημα or before ἐν Χριστῷ; (3) the reason alleged is introduced contrary to the context, and so much the more arbitrarily, as τοῦτο γὰρ θέλημα κ.τ.λ. is a dependent clause which is founded on the preceding, not an independent point which requires a reason of its own. Storr also takes θέλημα as the decree of redemption, but he understands τοῦτο in the sense of τοιοῦτο, which is contrary to the Greek.

ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ] Christ is, as it were, the vehicle of this requirement, inasmuch as it is made known through Him.1 Thessalonians 5:18. Chrysostom, who wrote: τὸ ἀεὶ δηλονότι εὐχαριστεῖν, τοῦτο φιλοσόφου ψυχῆς, gave a practical illustration of this heroic temper by repeating, as he died in the extreme hardships of an enforced and painful exile, δόξα τῷ θεῷ πάντων ἕνεκα. For thanksgiving even in bereavement, cf. Aug., Conf., ix. 12; and further, ibid., ix. 7 (tunc hymni et psalmi ut canerentur, secundum morem Orientalium partium, ne populus maeroris taedio contabesceret, institutum est).18. In every thing give thanks] This again the Apostle taught by example as well as precept; see ch. 1 Thessalonians 1:2; 1 Thessalonians 3:9-10; and comp. Php 4:6; Colossians 4:2. “In everything,” even in persecution and shame, suffered for Christ’s sake; comp. Php 1:29, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.

Prayer and Thanksgiving are the two wings of the soul by which it rises upward to God.

for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you] Rather, to you-ward (R. V.):—“You Thessalonian believers—so greatly afflicted and tempted to murmuring and despondency—are the special objects of this Divine purpose, whose attainment is made possible for you in Christ Jesus. God intends that your life should be one of constant prayer, constant joy and thanksgiving.” In ch. 1 Thessalonians 3:3 it was said that the Thessalonians were “appointed” to their extraordinary sufferings (comp. ch. 1 Thessalonians 4:3). Now the reason of this appointment is shown; it is that they may grow perfect in thankfulness, grateful for the bitter as well as for the sweet in their experiences,—for

“each rebuff

That turns earth’s smoothness rough,

Each sting that bids nor sit nor stand, bit go.”

Such cheerfulness of soul needs strong faith, and is won through hard trial. Romans 5:3-5 supplies the reasoning by which tribulation is made matter of thanksgiving and the sorrows of the Christian are turned to songs of joy.—On Christ Jesus, see note to ch. 1 Thessalonians 2:14.

From joy, prayer and thanksgiving the Apostle passes by a natural transition to the Spirit and prophesying. For Christian joy and Christian prayer are inspired by the Holy Spirit. See ch. 1 Thessalonians 1:6, “with joy of the Holy Spirit”; also Romans 8:26, Ephesians 6:18, and Judges 20, “praying in the Holy Spirit.” “Praying” and “prophesying” are kindred, spiritual exercises (see 1 Corinthians 11:4-5).1 Thessalonians 5:18. Ἐν παντὶ, in every thing) although it may seem adverse; [and that, too, not only generally, but, like David, in particular cases.—V. g.]—τοῦτο, this) that ye should give thanks.—θέλημα, will) which is always good, always keeping in view your salvation in Christ Jesus.Verse 18. - In everything give thanks. In every circumstance - in joy and in sorrow; for everything - for prosperity and for adversity; in every place - in the house of God and on the bed of sickness; Christians should not only be engaged in constant prayer, but in constant thanksgiving; indeed, their prayers should partake largely of the nature of thanksgiving. For this; this thankful spirit. Is the will of God; his desire. In Christ Jesus; the sphere in which this will of God is displayed. Concerning you. God by the gift of his Son has laid us under the obligation of perpetual thanksgiving. Our whole lives ought to be one continued thank-offering for all the blessings of redemption. Will (θέλημα)

In the sense of requirement. Comp. 1 Thessalonians 4:3.

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