A Plea For Purity

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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.


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)

Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 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. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.

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