Distinctly Different: A Plea for Personal Purity
1 Thess. 4:1-9
''Finally then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that, as you have received instructions from us as to how you must behave to please God, even so you do behave, that you may go on from more to more. For you know what orders we gave you through the Lord Jesus: for this is God's will for you, that you should live a consecrated life. I mean, each of you keep yourself from fornication, that each of you should know how to possess his own body in consecration and in honor, not in the passion of lustful desire, like the Gentiles who do not know God, that in this kind of thing you should not transgress against your brother or try to take advantage of him. For of all these things the Lord is the avenger, as we have already told you and testified to you. For God did not call us to impurity but to consecration. Therefore he who rejects this instruction does not reject a man, but rejects the God who gives His Holy Spirit to us.''
Intro: ''Finally.'' (A. T. Robertson) It does not mean actual conclusion, but merely an expression pointing to an end.
The appeal is to live to please God! The challenge of the new believers in Thessalonica was to live holy lives. Holy, i.e. sanctification. Separation to God. ''As I have loved you, so love you one another.'' Life's highest standard!
We can understand that for Paul was writing to people newly converted from heathen religions. But why did he go to such lengths to drive home the need for sexual purity?
First, the Thessalonians had only newly come into the Christian faith; and they had come out of a society in which chastity was an unknown virtue; they were still in the midst of such a society and the infection of it was playing upon them all the time! It would be exceedingly difficult for them to unlearn what they had for all their lives accepted as natural.
Second, we must remember that there never was an age ...
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