Saturday, October 17, 2015


For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality....  (I Thessalonians 4:3)

Playboy magazine has decided to stop publishing nude pictures.  The pioneers of porn can no longer profitably produce that which is available for free in the most graphic form to anyone on the internet.  We live in a pornographic world.  Yet, the Bible calls us to a pure walk in this evil environment.  One must stay very close to God not to go astray—but you can.  That is the thrust of 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8.

God is not against sex.  He invented it.  Sex within marriage is wonderful.  God's design is not just for the procreation of the species, but the pleasure of the spouse.  Genesis 2 portrays the beauty of husband and wife, naked and unashamed.  Fire within a stove will keep your house warm, but if it gets out it will burn it down.  The fire of sex can keep a marriage hot, but outside those bounds becomes destructive.  God doesn't want to keep us from pleasure, but from pain.  He does not mean to deny sex, but to delay it until their is a covenant relationship.  

Yet, premarital sex seems the accepted thing.  It is the thought of "test driving a car"--but, people are not vehicles.  It's not just the vice of teens and young adults--senior adults are increasingly shacking up for financial considerations.  

Not only is premarital sex a sin, but so is extramarital sex.  That is adultery.  It is a betrayal of trust.  

We further are forbidden to yield to “passion of lust” (v.5).  Other translations render this “passionate desire”; “concupiscence”; “lustful desire”  The Greek word is epithymia and it means surrender to sensuality and sexual obsession. That fuels the billion dollar porn industry—no longer just for lecherous old men, but epidemic even among women.  The rise of child pornography, sexual violence, homosexuality, and all kinds of perversion is due to this surrender to sensuality (see Rom.1:24-32).  Lust has an insatiable appetite—never appeased.

Another evil is expressed as to “take advantage of and defraud” (v.6).  Other translations render it: “overstepping the rights of and wronging” ; “transgress and wrong” ; “take advantage of and exploit.”   It is a composite of two Greek terms meaning to raise desires that cannot be legitimately fulfilled and taking that which is not yours.  Those desires are raised by provocative dress, sexual innuendo, and physical contact that may stop short of intercourse, but nevertheless is immoral.  You don’t have to go all the way to go too far!  We show portions of our anatomy that should only be seen by our spouse and touch portions of the body meant only for our mate.  

The positive dimension of this is a call to sanctification and holiness.  This means to be set apart for God.  It calls for consecration (v.1-3a).  We are to present our body to God.  We belong to Him.  He created us and redeemed us, so that we are doubly His.  This consecration should lead to control (v.4).   It is possible or God wouldn’t command it.  We may argue, “I’m only human.” Not if you’re a child of God!  You are a partaker of the Divine nature now!  An additional help is to meditate on the consequences of sexual sin (v.6-8),  This is not something to take lightly.  God does not.  Forgiveness is possible, but let us not use grace as an excuse for disobedience!

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