1 Thessalonians 4:3

Sunday, 30 July 2017

For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; 1 Thessalonians 4:3

This is the second “for” in a row from Paul’s hand. He just said, “…for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus.” He then immediately explains why they were given and begins explaining the reason for those things, along with the first of a list of some of those commandments.

“For this is the will of God.” The commandments are God’s will for us, and they bear a specific purpose in being given, which is, “your sanctification.” The idea of sanctification is holiness. Believers in Christ are to be set apart and live lives of honor towards God. The Law of Moses contains five books. The first three follow in a particular order to show us what is being relayed here by Paul –

Genesis – creation; God the Father/Creator.
Exodus – redemption; God the Son/Redeemer, Savior, and Justifier.
Leviticus – sanctification; God the Holy Spirit/Sanctifier & Purifier.
The main theme of the entire book of Leviticus is found in Leviticus 11:44 –

For I am the Lord your God. You shall therefore consecrate yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy.”

Notice what it says there, “You therefore shall consecrate yourselves, and you shall be holy.” This is something the Jews missed, and continue to miss to this day. When they pray their feast blessings, Sabbath blessings, etc., they repeat the words “who has sanctified us with His commandments.” But one of His commandments is that they too are to be sanctified; they are to be holy. A partial, or selective observance of the Law is to make the law void and to nullify the sanctification needed on their part.

The same is true with those in the church now. What was only pictured in the dietary laws of Israel in Leviticus 11 is seen fulfilled in the precepts given to us by the apostles. Things considered unclean in the dietary laws pictured people and acts which are unclean and immoral. Staying away from immorality is then for our “sanctification.” The first thing Paul then notes as being immoral, and to stay away from, is explained next by him with the words, “…that you should abstain from sexual immorality.”

The Bible set the pattern at the very beginning. Man + woman, in marriage = proper sexual conduct. Anything else is immoral. This is explained and reexplained in the Bible. Anything not within these narrow confines is to be abstained from. The highly perverse sexual conduct of the world today is completely opposed to the sanctification process which is expected of us. There are no exceptions.

Life application: Attempting to justify sexual sin, meaning any sexual intimacy apart from a man and a woman in the bonds of marriage, is an affront to God, and it is opposed to the sanctification process which is outlined in Scripture.

Lord God, Your word ties in our sanctification with abstaining from sexual immorality. This is defined in your word as any sexual intimacy which is other than that of a man and a woman in the bonds of marriage. Your word is set, and it is not confused. Oh, but we are. We will do anything to justify the unjustifiable. May we live our lives in holiness, not engaging in that which You have forbidden. Help us in our weakness. Amen.

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