Friday, August 19, 2011

Sexual Immorality and Your Sanctification (1 Thessalonians 4:3) John MacArthur

The will of God for Christians concerning proper sexual behavior is quite clear, namely, that they abstain from sexual immorality. The conjunction for links this command to Paul's previous exhortation that the Thessalonians strive to excel more (4:1--2). Paul already knew his readers desired to do God's will (cf. 1:3--10), but he also realized they needed to know more specifically what that will encompasses. In view of the permissive culture in Thessalonica, Paul considered abstention from sexual immorality to be the first priority in the Thessalonians' devotion to sanctification. As already discussed, every imaginable sexual vice was rampant in and around Thessalonica; therefore, Paul was especially concerned that the Thessalonians could easily fall back into their former habits. So he gave them the direct, uncomplicated command to abstain from sexual immorality. Abstain means complete abstinence, in this case, staying completely away from any thought or behavior that violates the principles of God's Word and results in any act of sexual sin. Sexual immorality (porneias) is a term used to describe any form of illicit sexual behavior (John 8:41; Acts 15:20, 29; 21:25; 1 Cor. 5:1; 6:13, 18; 2 Cor. 12:21; Gal. 5:19; Eph. 5:3; Col. 3:5; Rev. 2:21; 9:21)...

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