Thursday, February 16, 2023
For you remember what we taught you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. God's will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor — not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways. Never harm or cheat a fellow believer in this matter by violating his wife, for the Lord avenges all such sins, as we have solemnly warned you before.
Paul used a nautical term to warn the new Thessalonian believers to avoid sexual sin. The word Paul chose, ἀπέχεσθαι (ah-peck'-es-thai), is translated "stay far away from" all sexual sin. When a sailor shouted the word ἀπέχεσθαι, any nearby shipmaster could easily hear and respond appropriately! In Paul's time, shipmasters shouted this warning if another vessel passed too closely: "Stay far away! ἀπέχεσθαι!" This command was well known by those who lived in the important port and harbor of Thessalonica. So, Paul adapted this urgent, sharp, well-known term, then used it to warn them, "Stay far away from any form of sexual immorality!"
Commitment to holiness and staying away from sexual immorality was something Paul taught new believers when he first presented the truth of the Good News of Jesus. He emphasized that they needed to turn their lives away from sin and follow Jesus.  The word he chose for "sexual immorality was a broad word, implying the full range of sexually immoral behaviors and impurity.  He also emphasized that he had the authority of the Lord Jesus in what he taught. Then, Paul stressed that "avoiding sexual immorality" involved four key commitments:
Paul's challenging teaching to the Thessalonian believers, people who lived in an immoral seaport, reminds me of the consistency of Paul's teaching about this in his churches. He teaches me that I am to offer myself, my body, the Temple of the Holy Spirit, to God as a place of worship.  I am to glorify God and love God by how I live, body, soul, mind, and spirit.  I don't know about you, but I want to live into God's call for me so that I can bring my Father joy and help others find Jesus! 
Almighty Father, I recognize that you are Creator and God of all things. I want my life to bring You glory in what I think, do, and say. I want to bring You joy when you see the character of my life and the purity of my heart. While I know that I cannot accomplish these goals of holiness in my own power, I trust that Your Spirit is forming godliness within me as I commit my heart soul, mind, and body to live for You and show my love for You. In Jesus' name, I live and pray to bring you glory. Amen.
Together in Christ is a daily devotional that focuses on what Scripture teaches about godly living in relationships.
'Together in Christ' is written by Phil Ware.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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