The Expository Files


Reasons for Abstaining
1 Thessalonians 4:3-4

“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor,” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-4)

God does not want his people living impure lives, for God did not call us to uncleanness, but to holiness.  Such sanctified lives include abstinence from sexuality immorality.  From the context of the above verse consider three reasons for abstaining.
First, it is a sin against God.  It is plainly God’s will to abstain!  Joseph also regarded adultery as sin against the Lord (Genesis 39:9).  God’s desire is our holiness and purity!  He who rejects (vs5)  Paul’s admonition, does not reject man, but God!  These matters are extremely grave!

Second, it’s a sin against my neighbor.  Paul says,  “no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified.” ( vs. 6)  To “defraud”  is to rob, or gain the advantage.  Again, Joseph refused to sleep with Potiphar’s wife because she didn’t belong to him!  (Genesis 39:10)  He had a sense of obligation to others.  Sin can have a devastating impact on others, thus we need to have respect for our neighbor.  We must recognize this important moral responsibility!

Third, fornication is a sin against self.   Paul says, “each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor,” (vs. 4)  This sin dishonors the body, causes shame (Proverbs  6:33), wars against the soul (I Peter 2:11), entails poverty (Proverbs 6:26), and excludes one from the kingdom of God (I Corinthians 6:9,10)  Surely no one would wish such harm to themselves.

 Thus, Christians must exercise self-control.  We must avoid sinful passions and honor God with holy lives!

By George Slover
From Expository Files 20.6; June 2013