“For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor…For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness.” 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4, 7
It would be incorrect for me to say that I’ve moved on from the book of Ephesians. The past two years spent in Ephesians have forever marked me, and I continue to go back to its pages again and again. Many of you have followed me through its pages. I have, however, moved to the in-depth study of the books of 1 & 2 Thessalonians, and I’m loving this journey just as much so far. Paul had a major role in penning these two books as well, along with Silas and Timothy, and much of what I’m learning within is mirroring his tone to the church in Ephesus.
With the rise in awareness of the horrific reality of human trafficking in our world, I have been incredibly overwhelmed with the depth of perversity and depravity that exists today. Children being bought and sold for sex has become common, and it’s sickening. I’ve studied much of the Bible, and at times I’ve been horrified by the idolatrous sin of the peoples described within, but as I’ve spent time in the pages of 1 Thessalonians these past several weeks, I’m reminded yet again that our world today is not much different than their world in which child sacrifice and temple prostitution were the norm.
If I could, allow me to begin by saying that sex is good, and it is a gift that God gave to be celebrated and enjoyed within the boundary of marriage. What has happened, though, is that we have taken a good thing, perverted it and indulged in it outside of the parameters that God placed on it, and we have today a very sin-sick world. Here’s the truth in the matter:
When we take a good thing and turn it into a god thing, it becomes a bad thing.
Sex is good, but it was never intended to be worshiped or deified. It was never intended to be so perverted that childhood victimization has become more common than ever before. It was never intended to be idolized. Every form of sexual sin is rampant in our culture today, and I find that the faithful are crying out, “How can we remain pure in this sin-sick, sex-saturated world? Is it even possible anymore?” Fewer and fewer are reaching the marriage bed pure, and the idea of sex only within marriage seems to be an archaic way of thinking in this lewd and brazen society. How can we remain pure?
First, I think it’s important to note that purity in an increasingly impure society is possible. Paul praised the Thessalonians in chapter four verse one for their obedience in this area. Even though they were surrounding by a culture that actually worshiped sex in quite vulgar ways, they were living as they ought to live to please God. (1 Thessalonians 4:1) Second, we must also understand that all of God’s ways are good. Any boundary that He sets up for us is never intended to deprive us of anything, but rather to protect us. Finally, in answering the question on the table: “How can we remain pure in a sin-sick world?”
“How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word.” Psalm 119:9
If nothing else, remember these truths today…
• God is not holding out on us.
• God’s ways are not restrictive; they’re protective.
• Purity is possible in this sin-sick world if we live according to the Word of God.