A Plea For Purity

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Standards

In this chapter Paul deals with morals and conduct toward each other. Sexual standards were very low in the Roman Empire and in many parts of our society today they are not any higher. These Thessalonians lived in a pagan environment where sexual looseness was not only practiced openly but was encouraged.  Prostitution and extramarital sex was even a part of the heathen act of worship. Since this was the environment in which they had grown up, it is easy to see why they did not have strong convictions and high standards in this matter. Paul admonished the brethren to follow the instructions he had given them in following the Lord (vv. 1-2).

Paul begged them to avoid any form of sexual immorality (vv. 3-5). Christians are set apart for God and are to abstain from every form of sexual practice outside of marriage. This includes adultery, premarital and extramarital sex, homosexuality and other perversions. The way a person avoids immorality is by learning how to gain control over his own body which comes through God’s power. A sexual sin is a fraud against a brother because it takes what is rightfully his (v. 6). Paul gives two reasons why sexual immorality should be avoided. First it is sin and God will judge all sin (v. 6 and Romans 6:23). Secondly it goes against God’s plan for a Christian to live a holy life (v. 7). To go against this truth is to despise God (v. 8). To treat lightly these commands in regards to sexual purity is to go against the Lord himself. Paul’s attitudes toward sexual uncleanness did not come from his background or personal preference.

Application

How important do I think a Christian’s lifestyle is? What standards do I have in my life to help me from falling into immorality? I need to help young people draw up a set of written dating standards if they don’t have them already.

I Thessalonians 4:1-8 (English Standard Version)


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