“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5)
“It is God’s will…”
There are a handful of instances in scripture where the Bible simply tells us that this is God’s will. So whatever follows such statements deserves our full attention.
“It is God’s will that you be sanctified…”
Sanctified means to be more like Christ. It means that every day, every moment, we are becoming more like Christ. It means that we are more like Jesus today than we were when we received Jesus as Lord and Savior. And, it means that a year from now, we ought to be more like Jesus than we are today.
Sanctification – this word literally means to become more holy. We are to be more holy because Jesus is holy. And if we are becoming more like Jesus, then we are becoming more holy.
Sanctification – this is a process that will continue until Christ calls us home. This is a never ending process. You can’t be sanctified in a moment. This is a life-long process.
What is interesting is that in almost every instance sanctification is talked about in the New Testament, its reference is sexual purity. You cannot be like Christ without also living a life that is holy, set apart, sanctified. I am not sure why the Bible makes such a big deal about sexuality. But what is clear is that there is no such thing as pursuing Christ without also pursuing sexual holiness.
When Christians confuse joy and happiness with pleasure, Christians will run into error. You see, while sexual sin is capable of delivering pleasure, sexual sin cannot ever make someone happy. Pleasure is not the same thing as joy and happiness. Sexual sin will never lead to joy and peace.
Of course sexual sin is pleasurable. If it weren’t we would never struggle with it. But pleasure cannot lead to joy and happiness.
God offers us joy and genuine happiness. Pursue Christ. Be sanctified.
How can I say that? Because I know that this is God’s will for you and for me.