the pure, unadulterated gospel
"It is God's will that you grow in holiness: that you abstain from immorality, each of you guarding his member in sanctity and honor." —1 Thessalonians 4:3-4
Paul insisted the Thessalonians make still greater progress in sexual purity (1 Thes 4:1). They were to live "in sanctity and honor, not in passionate desire as do the Gentiles who know not God" (1 Thes 4:4-5). "For the Lord is an Avenger of all such things" (1 Thes 4:6). "God has not called us to immorality but to holiness" (1 Thes 4:7).
Christ's standards for sexual purity are much higher than most Christians' standards. Jesus says: "Anyone who looks lustfully at a woman has already committed adultery with her in his thoughts" (Mt 5:28). The Lord commands: "As for lewd conduct or promiscuousness or lust of any sort, let them not even be mentioned among you; your holiness forbids this. Nor should there be any obscene, silly, or suggestive talk; all that is out of place" (Eph 5:3-4).
In a world that talks about "safe sex," considers sex recreation, and thinks watching adultery and fornication on TV is entertainment, Jesus is a "sign of contradiction" (Lk 2:34, our transl.). He will avenge sexual sin (1 Thes 4:6), which He considers a rejection not of man-made laws but of Him (1 Thes 4:8). Be pure as Jesus is pure (1 Jn 3:3).
Prayer: Father, may our world repent of sexual fantasies, masturbation, artificial birth control, oral sex, "dirty jokes," immodest dress, watching filth on TV, fornication, adultery, homosexual acts, and abortion.
Promise: "Keep your eyes open, for you know not the day or the hour." —Mt 25:13
Praise: James owns a television, but watches only shows that edify or educate.
Reference: (For related teaching, order our book, The Bible on Sex.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, March 14, 2007
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