A Holy Kiss?

Oct. 12, 2021

Scripture Readings

Psalms 119: 18-19 is a great prayer to start any time of Bible reading. “Lord, open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law… do not hide your commands from me. “


If Christian living sometimes feels like a list of rules, Do’s and Don’ts, then today’s new testament reading may not seem all that wonderful. In my bible, the last section of 1 Thessalonians Chapter 5 is labelled ‘Final Instructions’, but it could have been ‘15 Guidelines for Christian Living’.


For the numbers-minded folks reading, I’ll clarify that I’ve counted verse 20 as one guideline related to prophecy, but perhaps ‘hold on to what is good’ should stand alone. Also, for the record, I stopped counting after verse 22; in my humble opinion, no serious 21st Century list about Christian living (before, during or after a pandemic) could possibly include ‘Greet all God’s people with a holy kiss’.


But go ahead and count them, I was surprised at how much Paul stuffed into this short section of scripture. Verse 14 has the most of any single verse:


I don’t think Paul’s intention was to load people up with obligations, something that Jesus criticized the Pharisees for doing (Mat. 23:4). I believe the purpose in sharing this list was to create an opportunity for the Holy Spirit to work in the lives of believers.


For example:


Don’t let this chapter weigh you down with guilt and obligation, rather, pray that the Holy Spirit would prompt you. The very good news that we are not alone in this journey; as Paul states in v. 23-25, ‘May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.’


I find that last verse particularly encouraging.


Ryan S