1 Thessalonians 4:1-8;Psalm 97:1-2,5-6,10-12;Matthew 25:1-13
“God did not call us to impurity but to holiness.” (1 Thessalonians 4:7)
Moved by his affection for them, Paul urged the Thessalonians to hold fast to all that he had told them. Judging from this passage, it seems that he didn’t tell them only about faith in Jesus Christ but also about personal issues as well. It seems that Paul had been forced to leave Thessalonica hastily while still in the early stages of establishing the community there (Acts 17:1-14). He knew that the new believers— most of whom came from a pagan background—lacked much basic teaching. So he tried to fill in some of the missing pieces through his letter.
Though strong in their faith and love, some of these new converts had not fully understood that the message of salvation carried with it practical implications for everyday life, including such matters as sexual conduct. So Paul reminded them of God’s design for human sexuality and exhorted them to avoid immoral behavior. God is holy, and he wants his people to be holy too!
This wasn’t always easy. Thessalonica was the most cosmopolitan city in the province of Macedonia. Every day the believers there faced temptations against the purity and holiness God called them to. And it’s not so different today. Sex outside of marriage is widely accepted. Pornography has become commonplace. Contraceptive “medicine” that causes abortions is gaining acceptance. In such an environment, we can find it very difficult to remain pure and chaste.
All is not lost. God has given us his Spirit to empower us against sin and safeguard our purity. And even if we should fall, we can receive mercy and healing, as well as the grace to try harder next time. It can be so tempting to give in to the culture and dismiss sexual sin as “not so bad.” But God knows that such sins can strike at the heart of who we are, whittling away at our self-worth and self-esteem. So never stop fighting the good fight. We really can live in the freedom and dignity of a chaste life.
“Holy Spirit, purify my heart so that I can live a life pleasing to God. Help me to turn aside from sin, and strengthen all that is good in me. Give me grace to live in your purity now, so that I may live forever with you.” ~wau