Thursday, April 5, 2012

passionate purity

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,
1 Thessalonians 4:3-4

My heart should be passionate for purity. Paul admonishes the Thessalonians to live a life of purity. It is God's will that they be free from sexual immorality. The word used here is "porneia" - a term used to broadly describe all sexually immoral attitudes and actions. It means they should abstain from a lifestyle of overt personal sexual expression that has no boundaries. To be clear, it is not the sexuality that is the problem. It is the improper expression of it (outside of marriage) that is the problem.

Sexual expression has healthy boundaries. It is a good thing to express sex within marriage with a spouse. That is part of what is meant by controlling our bodies in holiness and honor. Sin corrupts sex. And that is bad because sexuality is at the core of our personhood. We are created either male or female. And that is central to who we are and how we express the image of God in our world. Christians express God in holiness, taking their delight in God and finding God's delight expressed to them as they live in a holy way that pleases Him.

The pressures to crumble and give in to a "porneic" lifestyle in our culture are intense. The call to sexual purity within marriage is mocked... even despised. Rampant internet pornography of every kind is now the punchline for sitcom jokes on television. Unholy sexual expressions and unions are celebrated with parades these days. And if we attempt to point out the wrongness of it, we are ridiculed as intolerant and uncaring people.

Just this last week I counseled a person in my church who needed pastoral direction because a next door neighbor issued a Facebook invitation to anyone in the neighborhood who wanted to "swing". An open marriage just moved next door and now a Christian marriage feels threatened. This is the way it looks when people will not control their own bodies in holiness and honor. Fortunately, the person seeking counsel is committed to marriage. But the threat of our culture's sinful form of sexuality is literally just yards away from home and family. The truth of this passage from the apostle Paul could not be any closer to us!

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