Christians Are Supposed To Be Different Than They Are
By: Rev. Joe Kramer
(3) It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; (4) that each of you should learn to control your own body a in a way that is holy and honorable, (5) not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; (6) and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. (7) For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. (8) Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.
-1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 (NIV)
In verse three God does not hide His will but makes it quite known to us. He does this through His Word. We don’t have to visit prophets or ministers to know God’s “special will.” You will know His will through His word. His Word says that we are to be sanctified (i.e. living morally and cleanly out of a pure heart toward God); that we should avoid sexual immorality. Why would Paul point this out? The reason is because our sexuality is one of the most common ways that we are tempted and attacked. The Thessalonians were used to having loose morals when it came to their sexuality (including sex as a part of pagan worship), so Paul urges them to live Holy.
In verses four and five Paul teaches that believers should have self-control. That Christians should not be controlled by their selfish desires (see yesterday’s article) and sinful passions like those who are not Christians. We are called to be different from others in the world. We are called to be a light in the darkness. This cannot happen if we are acting just like the world. Acting like the world is not God’s will and therefore is not pleasing to God.
In verse six, if we are living honorably then we will not take any sort of advantage of other people. We are to help people, not take advantage of others. Not use people for our own benefit. This has, unfortunately, become a staple in our Christian churches (i.e. people who are in power in the churches taking advantages of those who aren’t). Doing this causes dissention and can lead to a schism in a church. Again, we are to help others not seek to use people for our benefit. Doing this kind of thing comes with a warning, God will punish all those who behave in evil intentions and take advantage of others.
Verses seven is a statement which reiterates/wraps up the teaching. Paul tells that we are not to be impure in our attitudes and behaviors but we are called to live Holy/sanctified out of a pure heart and pure motives which will lead to pure behaviors.
In verse eight Paul gives us no “wiggle room,” but calls us to pay attention to what has been discussed. He states that this command isn’t a suggestion, but a COMMAND. This means that we should pay attention to it. This command does not come from him but from God, period.
We must remember that God’s will is for us to live a holy life before Him. We are called to live out of a pure heart and pure motives. We are called to not take advantage of people, and if we disobey this command we can expect a punishment. How about you today? Do you fall into any of these things discussed by Paul? If so then you need to ask God for forgiveness and stop the action. Will you draw close to God today while He can be found? The choice is yours.