Today’s Daily Light:
Continued: God’s Will (Continuing the 4 point article by Pastor Steven Cole)
Thessalonians 4:3-8 “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.”
Final Point, 4: To be sexually pure, you must know God and walk by the power of His indwelling Holy Spirit.
More could be added for a comprehensive strategy against sexual sin, but here Paul mentions these two things:
- To be sexually pure, you must know God.
Paul contrasts Christian sexual purity with “the Gentiles who do not know God” (1 Thess. 4:5). To be a true Christian means that you have come to know God through Jesus Christ (John 17:3; Gal. 4:9). In 2 Thessalonians 1:8, Paul says that when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven, He will deal “out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.” In Romans 1, those whom God gives over to suffer the consequences of their sin knew about God, since His attributes are evident through creation, but they suppress the truth in unrighteousness and do not honor God as God or give thanks. He goes on to add (Rom. 3:18), “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” If we truly know God, we fear Him, hate evil, and turn away from sin (Job 28:28; Ps. 97:10; Ps. 111:10; Prov. 1:7; 9:10).
- To be sexually pure, you must walk by the power of His indwelling Holy Spirit.
Paul mentions (v. 8) in passing (indicating that he also taught them this truth) that God “gives His Holy Spirit to you.” He uses a Greek construction that emphasizes “Holy” (literally, “His Spirit, the Holy One”). In Galatians 5:16, Paul writes, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” He goes on to enumerate some of those sinful desires, which include immorality, impurity, and sensuality. He adds that one fruit of the Holy Spirit is self-control. So a daily step-by-step walk of dependence on the indwelling Holy Spirit is the key to resisting sexual temptation and developing sexual purity.
There are several aspects of this to keep in mind: First, the Holy Spirit is a gracious, undeserved gift. When you think about the fact that you deserved God’s judgment, but He chose you and called you to salvation and gave you His Holy Spirit to live in you, it will make you hate your sin and turn from it.
Second, the Holy Spirit is holy! As the eternal third person of the trinity, He is the one of whom the angels cover their faces in His presence as they say (Isa. 6:3), “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory.” He is light and in Him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5). His eyes are too pure to approve evil (Hab. 1:13). Peter exhorts (1 Pet. 1:14-16), “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’”
Third, this Holy Spirit dwells in you. If you think about that when you’re tempted to click on that porn site or entertain lustful thoughts about a woman, you would immediately cut off your hand or pluck out your eye (Matt. 5:27-30). As David Powlison wrote (Sex and the Supremacy of Christ [Crossway], ed. by John Piper & Justin Taylor, p. 105), “The only way you ever sin is by suppressing God, by forgetting, by tuning out his voice, switching channels, and listening to other voices.”
Fourth, remember that your sin grieves the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30). “Grieve” is an emotional love-word. When you sin against someone who loves you, that person grieves. To sin against the Holy Spirit who sealed you for the day of redemption is to grieve the God who gave His Son to save you.
So if you know the Lord, His clearly stated will is for you to be sexually pure by the power of His Holy Spirit. If you are defeated by sexual sin, take whatever radical measures are necessary to get on the path to sexual purity. As John Owen put it (The Works of John Owen, Vol. 6, “Temptation and Sin” [Banner of Truth], p. 9), “Be killing sin or it will be killing you.”
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture Quotations are from the New American Standard Bible, Updated Edition © The Lockman Foundation
Steve has been the pastor of Flagstaff Christian Fellowship since May, 1992. From 1977-1992 he pastored Lake Gregory Community Church in Crestline, California. He graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary (Th.M., 1976 in Bible exposition) and California State University, Long Beach (B.A., philosoph… More
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