For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit. (1 Thessalonians 4:7,8 NKJV)
It is interesting to note that Paul was referring to sexual sin here, but not actual ongoing sin. He knew not only the sexual immorality of the society in which the Thessalonians lived, but also the seductive (no pun intended) power of sexual sin. Far less damage is done to both the sinner and to the Kingdom when sin is rebuked and avoided before it is committed and repented. Guzik wrote –
Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God: To reject God’s call to sexual purity is not rejecting man, but God Himself, who has also given us His Holy Spirit. Despite the petty ways we rationalize sexual immorality, we still reject God when we sin in this way.
Like the Thessalonians, we live in a culture that is saturated with sexual opportunity. We tend to think of sin as the culmination of a sexual act, but the pathway that leads to the point of culmination is lined with far less obvious points of improper inspiration. Our culture is full of it, and each of us needs to discern which particular things are goading us in the wrong direction. TV, the internet, movies, video games often attempt to create in us a belief that normal marital sexual fulfillment is insufficient. If we believe this, then a desire in us for an undefined something more is created. God calls that coveting, and commands against it.
Guzik reminds us that we tend to rationalize sexual immorality in petty ways. We reduce the concept of Holiness, and expand Grace to meet the parameters of our desires rather than expanding our desire for Holiness to reduce the necessity of Grace. If our answer to immoral sexual desire is to accept it as the norm and rely only on Grace, we’ve missed the point and avoided the battle. You’ll never defeat sin you refuse to engage.
Paul puts an even sharper point on this saying that he who simply submits to sexual sin, — does not reject man, but God… If we submit to the inevitability of sexual sin, we’ve reject God, as if He had no power to help us defeat it. We’ll all fall to plenty of sin and God’s Grace is available in a sufficient supply for all necessary forgiveness, but we are called to Holiness, indwelled by the Spirit of holiness, and cannot set aside the burden of that call because it seems too difficult for us.
The work of God in our lives cannot begin until we reach the end of our own strength. If you’ve exhausted your means of defeating sexual immorality, good! Now turn to God. Submit your weak flesh to Him. Submit and subject your desire to sin to an exposure to the repeated Praise of God for its defeat. Sin is rebellion against God and Praise is rebellion against sin. Choose your preferred rebellion.
By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Hebrews 10:10 NKJV)