Why Maintain Sexual Purity | Part 3
Topic: Sexual Purity Verse: 1 Thessalonians 4:6–4:8
Theme: God provides inescapable reasons for seeking sexual purity.
I. Because of the Vengeance of the Lord – 4:6b
A. The Fallout of Sexual Sin
- Paul quickly changes his tone from affirming, positive reasoning concerning how to maintain our sexual purity to an alarming promise: “… because the Lord is the avenger in all these things …”
- This clearly provides the first reason why it is necessary that we:
- “possess [our] own vessel in sanctification and honor,” – v. 4
- Avoid indulging in “lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God,” – v. 5; and,
- Avoid transgressing and defrauding a brother in the matter – v. 6a
- Paul indicates that Christ Jesus Himself takes note of what we are doing when we indulge ourselves in sexual sin and alone possesses the authority, interest, and right to “avenge” Himself against us.
- Our sin is directly against Him – Psalm 51:4.
- Our sin is a violation of Him – 1 Corinthians 6:13-20.
- Our sin is judged by Him with all authority – John 5:22
- This is a matter of utmost significance as God considers sexual sin as a direct affront against the sanctity of marriage and His purposes for marriage – cp. Hebrews 13:4.
- The reality of our sexual sin – usually committed in secret of darkness and deception – is that God will expose it – 2 Corinthians 5:10; Luke 12:2.
- There will be an exposure of sin – no one will “get away with it” – cp. Numbers 32:23.
- There is no limit as to the various ways that “the Lord is…” able to be “… the avenger in all these things” –
- There are bitter physical consequences of sexual sins – from STD’s to infertility.
- There are certain psychological consequences of sexual sins – from intimacy obstacles to trust issues.
- There are deep social consequences in marital damage, loss of family affection and respect and a reputation of selfishness.
- There are unknown consequences as well – from loss of God’s blessings, compounding of trials and the turbulence in our posterity.
B. The Forewarning re: Sexual Sin –
- As a result of these realities, Paul had repeatedly informed them of how essential it is to maintain sexual purity – “… just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you.”
- He engaged in the rote teaching of these truths – “… we also told you before” – it was part of the spiritual mentoring given their context of immorality.
- He also engaged in a more intense form of communication – “… and solemnly warned you” – a reference of how important these truths were in the intention of their possessing testimonies of grace.
III. Because of the Virtue of Our Calling – 4:7
A. The Inconsistency with Our Calling –
- Another reason why believers must maintain sexual purity is because indulging in sexual immorality is completely inconsistent with what God has called us to be - “For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity …”
- The reference to the “call” is a reference to the effectual call of salvation – that moment when we were quickened out of our dead state and made alive together with Christ – cp. 1 Thessalonians 2:12.
- Rather, God’s purpose is that we would walk worthy – performing works of righteousness – cp. Ephesians 2:10; 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12.
- Hence, “the purpose of impurity” is excluded from our lives [ἀκαθαρσία] – a state of moral corruption or filth – Romans 6:19.
B. The Intention of Our Calling -
- Again, Paul brings in the purpose for our redemption – conformity to the holiness of Christ Jesus – “… but in sanctification.”
- This is the positive statement defining our calling – we’ve been called out of impurity to “sanctification.”
- Sexual sin is utterly inconsistent with God’s present purpose for us as well as for His ultimate purposes for us – conformity to Christ Jesus in holiness without “spot or wrinkle” morally – cp. Ephesians 5:27.
III. Because of the Value of God’s Spirit – 4:8
A. The Rejection of God –
- Paul desires that it registers with us that these are not human perspectives or mere opinions.
- He clearly indicates that these truths are directly provided to us by God and that disagreement with them is a personal affront to God – “So, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but God …”
- The standards of sexual purity are God’s standards and to go against them is to make a choice – to “reject” [ἀθετέω] God – to make of no account; to invalidate or in this case countermand what God has said.
- It is to cancel the clear will of God and not only grieve Him by doing so, but quench Him in that your conduct is uninfluenced by grace and righteousness.
- It is the consummate act of behaving as one who “does not know God” (v. 5) as you have completely dismissed Him from relevance.
- This is a dishonoring of Him that can only result in Him giving one over to the lusts and desires for the vengeance in these matters – cp. Romans 1:21.
- This is the essence of the failure to “fear the Lord.”
B. The Resource for Godliness
- God has given “His Holy Spirit to you” in order to provide guidance and strength to overcome temptations and lusts.
- In this sense, God is faithful – 1 Corinthians 10:13.
- God’s Spirit is our constant companion, indwelling us in order to provide strength to obey the commands of the Lord – John 14:16-17; 1 Corinthians 6:18-20; Galatians 5:16; John 16:7-13.
- If the world is without excuse because God has made His existence evident within them – Romans 1:20, how much more are we without excuse for indulging in sin given that we have the Holy Spirit within us?