1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
4 Now I want to talk about some other matters, brothers and sisters. We taught you how to live in a way that pleases God. In fact, that is how you are living. In the name of the Lord Jesus we ask and beg you to do it more and more. 2 You know the directions we gave you. They were given by the authority of the Lord Jesus. 3 God wants you to be made holy. He wants you to stay away from sexual sins. 4 He wants all of you to learn to control your own bodies. You must live in a way that is holy. You must live with honor. 5 Don’t desire to commit sexual sins like people who don’t know God. 6 None of you should sin against your brother or sister by doing that. You should not take advantage of your brother or sister. The Lord will punish everyone who commits these kinds of sins. We have already told you and warned you about this. 7 That’s because God chose us to live pure lives. He wants us to be holy. 8 Suppose someone refuses to accept our teaching. They are not turning their back on us. They are turning their back on God. This same God gives you his Holy Spirit.
I am old enough to remember when the instructions in this passage about controlling your body and your sexual lusts would not have been considered counter-cultural.
Popular thought has changed dramatically in a relatively short space of time, and many of the young people that I am acquainted with outside of church would consider these instructions as outdated and irrelevant. But the writer Paul makes a bold claim that these instructions are not merely what was culturally appropriate at the time, but that they are the given by God as the best way to live and the way to please Him.
Time will tell whether our culture will open its eyes to see the consequences of modern thinking, and embrace the wisdom of sexual self-control, or whether the trend will continue towards belief in determining one’s own sexual morality.
In the mean time, we have a challenging mandate to help Christian young people (and older people too, for that matter) apply this ancient wisdom to our modern-day lives. May we be proactive and not afraid of teaching these truths, for God, as always, has our best interests in mind.
Written by Shelley Witt