1 Thessalonians 4:3-8

1 Thes. 4:3-8 (ESV) "For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you."

The word sanctification means growing to be more like Christ. Some references use the term, perfected. This indicates an ongoing maturing and transformation always becoming more like the humanity God intended making us in his image with a free will. Sanctification is relational holiness. It's an ongoing process of cleansing or purification.

This sanctification is God's plan for every life. He desires discipleship, not just salvation. God does not make a distinction between those ideas, but we often do.

We cannot have it both ways. We cannot pursue God and still purpose immorality and lustful, or self-driven passions. The person who has been set free and has received new life is different than those who do not know God. Relationships exist in the context of responsibility for oneself and the other. Violating this means taking rather than giving and it does not lead to spiritual growth.

God has called us to holiness. This is the continual process of dying to self. This is allowing the Holy Spirit to examine our hearts, renew our minds, and fix our eyes on Christ. He is patient and persistent. He will take away the old thoughts, the old motives, and the old patterns of thinking replacing them with kingdom ways.

This is the choice we must make, every day and every moment. Never underestimate what the Spirit can do with a yielded life.

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