Paul tells the Thessalonians that they should be committed to purity. God has not given us regulations to be mean but because He cares for us. He designed humans and knows our limitations and weaknesses. God created sex for procreation and to express love between a husband and wife. Sexual relationships must be limited to marriage to avoid hurting ourselves. Sex outside marriage is a sin.
Immorality in Thessalonica
In the Roman Empire, any kind of sexual activity was acceptable. This seemed to be true for Thessalonica. The pagan idols in Thessalonica often employed prostitutes for “worship.” It was quite common for a man not to limit his sexual relationship to his wife. Homosexuality was common. They overlooked incest. Many kept slaves for sex. Many of the new believers in the Thessalonian church came from this background. As they followed Jesus, they would need to accept God’s standards. Paul was not in Thessalonica long enough to address this issue. So, he included this information in his letter.
Why Does Purity Matter?
Other sins, such as gluttony or drunkenness, can affect the body. But sexual immorality affects not only the body but the memory, personality, soul, and another person. Paul gives an extended explanation in his first letter to the Corinthians, another immoral church:
1 Corinthians 6: 15 Don’t you realize that your bodies are actually parts of Christ? Should a man take his body, which is part of Christ, and join it to a prostitute? Never! 16 And don’t you realize that if a man joins himself to a prostitute, he becomes one body with her? For the Scriptures say, “The two are united into one.” 17 But the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him.
18 Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. 19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.
Don’t Reject God by Your Actions
Paul gives the Thessalonians instructions and a warning about sexuality. 1 Thessalonians 4:7 God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives. 8 Therefore, anyone who refuses to live by these rules is not disobeying human teaching but is rejecting God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you. God knows that Satan will gladly use sexual sin to destroy. It may seem easier to go with the cultural norms and ignore what God says. Paul warns that disobedience amounts to rejecting God and the Holy Spirit. That is a dangerous position that, as believers, we want to avoid. To learn why we should be committed to purity, listen here: