1 Thess 4
While sitting and meditating over these words I am aware of the bricklayer outside starting to lay bricks onto the new concrete foundations. These foundations have been inspected and certified as good. Paul here is saying that they have received the good foundation i.e. the instruction he gave to the Thessalonians through the Lord Jesus (v1-2). As we walk or putting it another way, as we live out our lives; the example we copy and follow is Jesus with the result being that we please God. As believers we have this good foundation in Jesus and follow the instruction we receive through the Word of God – the Bible, made alive to us through the Holy Spirit.
Our lives are meant to grow in this walk, Paul uses the term “more and more” in v1 and v10 indicating a growth rather than just doing things by rote or because we are told to. God’s basic will for your life is to lead a holy life, to copy the life of Jesus. Those who are truly justified through the Gospel (declared holy in God’s courtroom) always want to be sanctified through the same Gospel (made holy in their daily lives). Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross both justifies and sanctifies us; he is the foundation of our holy and pleasing lives. Paul then goes on to emphasise regarding sexual immorality which he calls impurity in v7 rather than holiness and honour in v4.
Why does Paul specifically mention sexual sin when all sin is wrong? Jesus teaching regarding promiscuity, adultery and homosexuality was completely opposite to the Greek culture in Thessalonica. Sexual sin is more obvious in its outworking in lives; the destruction it brings has a far reaching effect on our relationship with others, a disregard for God and his Holy Spirit (v8). The Holy Spirit has been given to us as a help, a counsellor and strength. We receive the ability to take control of our own bodies through the ‘whisper’ of the Spirit guiding us. Many testimonies I have read regarding leaders who have fallen in moral issues seem to have an overriding theme of desensitivity regarding the Holy Spirit. When that occurs you can convince yourself that what you are doing is correct in God’s eyes, you lose the sense of sin. It starts in the heart, the mind and then works out in the body.
We are called to a repentant lifestyle and part of our assistance in that is we show brotherly love to one another (agape love) v9. This love can be described as the selfless love, the complete opposite to sexual sin. The holy lifestyle we live is contagious to those around us, people will take notice. The repentant lifestyle that leads to a holy lifestyle is costly; true repentance shows a willingness to leave behind those sins repented of.