This is my 12th and final post in a series on 1 Thessalonians 5:11-25. This has been an eye opening passage for me and I pray it has been for you as well. This week we conclude by looking at what I’ve numbered as the 21st and 22nd commandments/guidelines Paul lists on how to live our lives worthy of the gospel.
(21) Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss. I put you under oath before the Lord to (22) have this letter read to all the brothers.
My first thought was maybe these shouldn’t count in my list of 22 commandments from Paul, but honestly, the list doesn’t seem complete without them. So, my second thought was, “What is a Holy kiss?” As I looked, I found it several others times in scripture (Romans 16:16, 1 Cor. 16:20 and 2 Cor. 13:12). In other translations, it’s called a “sacred kiss or holy embrace .” It is a greeting of pure, sincere love. Similar to the handshake most of us use today (or in my case, a hug).
I had a realization as these scriptures sunk in. I feel as if Paul is saying, “Go everywhere you can, spread the Good News, greet all you meet with love and share the amazing love of Christ without judgement or condemnation.” Centuries have passed, but we are called to continue that same work. It started with the first church, but lives on in us with Paul’s instructions still just as meaningful to us as it they were then to his people.
For me, this is most convicting of all. It’s one thing to try and live all of Paul’s directives out, but another to share the Gospel with others in a way that shows love, respect and sincerity. He reminds us to put aside the fear of sharing, the fear of being judged when we share and rid ourselves of the tendency to judge after we have shared and don’t get the reaction we think the Gospel deserves. We are to present the Gospel with “A Holy Kiss”.
Who can you approach this week with a Holy Kiss and share the amazing message of the Gospel?
I’m going to miss this study and series on Thessalonians. God has shown me so much. I would love to hear from you and what part of this series stands out to you. Next week, I’m going to start another series on the greatest man who ever lived – Jesus! I want to take a deeper look into His life, who He was, who scripture says He is and what He said about certain things when He walked this Earth. I hope you will join me on my next adventure through scripture.
Therefore (1) encourage one another and (2) build one another up, just as you are doing. We ask you, brothers, to (3) respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and (4) to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. (5) Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, (6) admonish the idle, (7) encourage the fainthearted, (8) help the weak, (9) be patient with them all. (10) See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but (11) always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. (12) Rejoice always, (13) pray without ceasing, (14) give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (15) Do not quench the Spirit. (16) Do not despise prophecies, (17) but test everything; (18) hold fast what is good. (19) Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. Brothers, (20) pray for us. (21) Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss. I put you under oath before the Lord to (22) have this letter read to all the brothers. 1 Thessalonians 5:11-25 (numbers aren’t verses, but the numbers I gave them for each directive/commandment)