I & II Thessalonians

Cruising Route 66
The Beast Within

The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refuse to love the truth and so be saved.
II Thessalonians 2:9-10

We live amid a disintegrating culture, in a time in which the world takes pleasure in wickedness. Thessalonica and the area around it were not much different than where you live and the area around you. There were businesses and commerce, culture and community, beauty and art. There was also depravity and sin, decadence, and shame. The Thessalonians were driven by the same forces that drive us, and they were also subject to being easily deceived and swayed by the pleasures of evil.

Paul pens two letters to the church in Thessalonica, warning them of the real presence and craftiness of Satan, and encourages them that the power of the Holy Spirit is theirs and reminding them of the Lord’s return. As I watch the daily degrading of the world around me I couldn’t help but note Paul’s admonishment in his first letter.

Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you His Holy Spirit. I Thessalonians 4:1-8

Our first priority in the Christian life is to please God, and Paul tells us how to do this. His lessons are quite specific, especially in the area of sexuality. It is a subject that is rarely dealt with because it infringes on the “politically correct” and the socially acceptable. We’re afraid of appearing old-fashioned, or prudish, and besides, it’s something that can’t be addressed properly without being specific.

What are sexual sins? To determine what they are, we must not lean upon social standards, because they vary depending on where you live. Instead, we must refer to the only standard of absolute truth, the Scripture. Consider Paul’s words in I Corinthians 6.

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral (fornicators) nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes (effeminate) nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10

Let’s look at the meanings of the Greek words Paul uses.

Fornication (pornos) = Lewdness of an unmarried person with another person, consensual or nonconsensual intercourse between unmarried persons.

Idolatry (eido-lolatre) = The honoring of a created thing over God, homage to inanimate objects, the worship of other gods or its image, bowing before an image behind which a demon spirit resides.

Adultery (moichos) = The willful violation of the marriage vow through sexual intercourse with another, lewdness or unchastely in act or thought with another by a married person, the giving to another the intimate relations reserved for a spouse. Idolatry and adultery come from the same root words, meaning alienation of what is rightfully due. In other words: the intimacy God demands, and what a spouse is due is given to another.

Male Prostitutes (malakos) – is a Greek term for the effeminate. A male with a feminine or soft demeanor, the wearing of female attire in order to entice or confuse, the impersonation of the opposite gender. This is not a freedom of expression, but a distortion of truth. What a man wears is not a sin, but rather his intent. It becomes sin when it’s the intentional blurring of the uniqueness God created in His image, male and female, in order to satisfy sexual pleasure.

Homosexuality (arsenokoite) – A sodomite (not a resident of Sodom), a man consecrated to an unnatural vice as a religious act of worship, the desecration of human sexuality, the debasement of the male gender. This is not an alternative lifestyle recognized by a modern and enlightened society, but a perversion of the created order that has been recognized in every culture since the beginning of time. The finding of ancient artifacts depicting the existence of homosexual activities is not a sign of their social approval.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. II Corinthians 5:10

There is nothing more beautiful than a young person who has his or her life in order. Unfortunately, I have been saddened to watch beautiful young men and women, who have been raised in godly homes, and who reflect moral beauty in their lives, begin to let their standards go when they get out into the world. A year or two later, you will see the hardness in their faces, and the careless habits that they have picked up. Things have begun to drift. There is a downward slant to life. They are beginning to lose the beauty God has in mind for them.
I know that probably many of you are thinking that it is too late for you; you already have messed up your life, but the glory of the gospel isn’t “what we have done” but “who we can become.” All of us have messed up our lives in one way or another, but the glory of the good news is that Jesus can and will give us a new start.

And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
I Corinthians 6:11

For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. I Thessalonians 4:7

Until next time,

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