Today's passage is 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8. Let's go!
On verses 1-8: It appears that some members of the church in Thessalonica were engaging in sexual immorality - that is, having sex outside of marriage. So Paul takes the opportunity to teach the church about sex. He says that it is both God's will and God's divine command, and not just a man made idea, that God's people should avoid sexual immorality.
When we do not honour God's plan for marriage and sex, the following problems arise:
- we end up becoming slaves to our passions and our flesh (v4-5). Rather than being in control, we become enslaved.
- we end up hurting and taking advantage of others, living in lust instead of living in love (v6)
- rather than being set apart for God and living the holy and pure lives He has called us to ("sanctified"), we conform to the sinful patterns of this world (v5, 7);
- when we refuse to obey God's Word in the area of sex, we are rejecting God Himself (v8);
- there is punishment for those who choose to disobey God in this area (v6b)
The New Testament is very clear in its stance against sexual immorality. Those who say that Christians can feel free to sleep around before marriage on the basis that "we are not under law but under grace" not only misunderstand what it means to be "not under law but under grace", but they also they are ignoring the clear teaching of 1 Thessalonians against sexual immorality. May we not be deluded into thinking that in God's eyes sexual immorality is okay. God is holy, and He calls us to be holy too.
Praise God who gives us His commands not to take away our happiness but to protect us for a truly happy and blessed life. You will never be fulfilled living in sexual immorality. True joy, freedom and happiness come from living as God intended. That's when we have healthy, honouring relationships both with God and with one another.