Purity is a major part of the Christian faith, but its value is often overlooked. The real value of a pure life is in its power; it gives us the ability to act freely and boldly for Jesus. It sets us apart for Christ’s work.
Read 1 Thessalonians 4:1–12. Reflect on 1 Thessalonians 4:3–6:
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you” (ESV).
God desires for us to be sanctified. Sanctification is the process of purification—being made holy, more like God. This is one of the goals of God’s work, through Christ Jesus, in us.
God wants to us to abstain from all sexual immorality, partly because this act of self-control draws us closer to God. Self-control also sets us apart from the actions of others. When we have different values than society, people will naturally wonder why; and this will lead to people asking us about Christianity.
Paul contrasts the sexually pure life of a Christian with societal norms. It is in this regard that Paul broadly uses the term “Gentiles”—to refer to non-Jewish people. In Paul’s context, many Gentiles lived by Graeco-Roman societal norms, which included broadly accepting sexual immorality.
Lest the Thessalonian Christians be confused, Paul clarifies that his rebuke also applies to the context of Christians who may consider engaging in sexually immoral behavior together. Paul warns that no one should sexually take advantage of another Christian—noting that God will see the act and will issue judgment for it.
We know that Jesus desires for us to live a holy life, but we often lean too heavily on grace—believing that we can transgress without any real ramifications. Paul is clear that we need to take sexual purity seriously. In living a holy life, our relationship with God will grow and we will demonstrate what it means to follow him.
In what ways are you struggling with sexual immorality, in mind or action? Who can you confess your thoughts or actions to—who can offer you ongoing accountability, so that you may live a pure life?
Get our free Daily Devotional and updates: Subscribe now.