David continuing the series, Living In-Between, posed two questions:
What is God’s will for my life?,
How do you know the will of God for your life?
The above passage provided the opportunity to talk about a range of important issues:
One of those was knowing the will of God, another was sex. In this chapter Paul turns his attention to instructing the believers on how to live a distinctive Christian life. Essentially it is about orthodoxy (what we believe) & orthopraxy ( how we live)
Sanctification expresses the idea that God’s people should be set apart and separate from the world in their conduct.
There are 3 tenses of sanctification. Past Tense-we are declared holy because we are ‘in Christ’. Present Tense-the ongoing process of holiness. Future Tense-will come to fruition when Christ returns.
It is the present tense that Paul is referring to in this chapter.
Paul then identifies personal purity, specifically sexual purity as a particular area of concern.
There is a negative exhortation; ‘abstain from sexual immorality’ and a positive exhortation; ‘control your own body’. A tall order for these Christians within the Greco-Roman culture where sexual immorality was rife.
In this present time a Christian who longs to walk in a manner worthy of God , pleasing to God, who seeks the will of God, to be holy, is going to have to learn to control his/her own body, so that they don’t sin against their own body, which is what happens whenever we sin sexually.
Paul also instructs us not to transgress or wrong your brother in this matter.
The critical point here is that illicit sex harms others, it creates dysfunction, confusion and hurt.
Paul gives 4 serious reasons why this attitude about sex matters.
- God is an avenger in all these things – sexual immorality will be brought to the judgement of God , 2 Corinthians 5:10.
- Sexual holiness isn’t just God’s will for us, it is our calling.
- If we choose to disregard these instructions we are in fact disregarding God.
- The Holy Spirit has been given to us, enabling us to become more and more like Jesus, and therefore whenever we do not abstain from sexual immorality we grieve the Holy Spirit
As Paul urges the Christians in Thessalonica, we should also:
- Walk in a way that pleases God
- Know that sexual holiness is essential
- Control our own bodies
- Realise the the damage we can cause to others and our Christian community whenever we veer off in the wrong direction