Friendships in Christ
Abstaining from Sexual Immorality Today
"For this is the will
of God, your sanctification; that is, that
you abstain from sexual immorality;"
1 Thessalonians 4:3, Page
hear guys at the beach constantly telling
each other to look at some bikini-clad babe.
One day I spoke with several of the men who
claimed to be Christians. I read them
the passage: "but everyone who looks at a
woman with lust for her has already
committed adultery with her in his heart"
(Matthew 5:28, page 1507).
The guys then tried to justify their
behavior by saying that they only
appreciated the beauty of the woman, just as
you would appreciate a beautiful sunrise.
I reminded them that I had heard that excuse
many times, and their remarks did not seem
in keeping with an appreciation of pure
beauty, but rather a profound pattern of
lust. Like all men, I struggle with
lust, but I also remember that God created
me for holiness. Remember, Paul had
just told the Thessalonians that they were
to appear blameless in holiness when Christ
appears. Now, Paul will be
developing the theme of sanctification, that
is, how to become more and more holy,
particularly holy in our sexuality.
God created sexual beings. We have a
sexual desire that profoundly influences
each one of us. For some of us,
particularly males, we have a strong sex
drive that lends itself to all kinds of
temptations. Our lust entices us to
sin which leads to death (James 1:14-15,
page 1888). One of the things I
love most about God is that He knows what I
am like, and His word directly instructs me
about my great problems in life. His
word lifts me up with His power to live a
holy life in Him.
In 1 Thessalonians 4:3, Paul addresses
sexual immorality. He uses a broad
term for sexual immorality ("πορνείας").
This word covers all improper sexual acts,
including adultery, homosexuality, sex
outside of marriage, lusting, and coveting
your neighbor's spouse. God's
will for our lives means that we completely
abstain from all forms of sexual immorality.
Many people do not realize that abstaining
requires the power of God in our lives.
The advertising and programming on
television and the internet promote all
forms of sexual immorality. They give
the impression that all forms of sexual
expression are widely accepted and to oppose
them amounts to bigotry. Such lies!
God sets the standards for holiness and
prosperous living. He bases His
commandments on love for us, and His desire
for us to flourish in holiness. He has
commanded us to keep sex of all forms within
marriage and no where else.
Lusting will never be acceptable to God.
Jesus keeps the focus upon sanctification.
We become more holy as God becomes more and
more in our lives. He cleanses our
lives for His service of love to our friends
by removing from our lives the things that
pollute our lives with sin. You will
never be the friend you ought to be until
God sanctifies your life. In passing,
we should keep in mind that sanctification
in the Bible has several aspects. In
one sense, every believer was sanctified at
the moment of salvation. God
completely forgave your sins and eternally
cleansed your life from sin. I will
call this salvation sanctification (Acts
26:18, page 1752; 1 Corinthians 6:11, page
1788). The Bible also contains
passages about progressive sanctification.
These passages show us that God works in our
lives to make us more holy, a process that
lasts a lifetime. I will call this
growth sanctification. As we grow in
our Christian lives, God wants us to grow in
holiness, and often the Holy Spirit works in
our lives to make us more holy in our
behavior (1 Thessalonians 5:23, page 1851; 1
Peter 3:15, page 1897).
So, we learn some more about building strong
friendships in Christ.
Strong bonds of friendship form when we
focus our lives upon doing the will of God.
● Strong bonds of friendship grow when
we abstain from sexual immorality, and live
under the guidance of God's grace in our
● We harm our bonds of friendship when
we fall into sexual immorality, and destroy
the work of God by engaging in sexual acts
or thoughts displeasing to God and dangerous
to our spiritual friends.
Application for Today
Today, I want to be sanctified in all my
life. I want to abstain from all
sexual immorality, and live only for Jesus
Christ. Will you abstain today from
every form of sexual immorality? How
about tomorrow? Even in your