God's Will -- Our Sanctification
(Editor's Note: The following space has been filled with a thought-provoking article by one of TRUTH MAGAZINE'S staff writers. I exhort you to read it.)
"For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication." (I Thess. 4:3) The sanctification of God's children is a vitally important thing. Webster defines the word, sanctify, "1. To set apart to a sacred office or to a religious use; to hallow: 2. To make free from sin or purify, As the affections of men. The Greek word here is agiasmos and is defined Thayer as "1. consecration, purification 2. the effect of consecration; sanctification of heart and life . . . It is opposed to lust in I Thess. 4:3."
Today the church is God's agency to proclaim His truth and salvation to a lost world. (Eph. 3: 10) but to do this effectively it must be composed of a consecrated people, a "peculiar people ("a people for his own possession" ASV) (Tit. 2:14) whose bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit in which God is to be glorif ied ( Cor. 6:19, 20) by letting their lights shine through their good works (Matt. 5:14-16). This means that Christians must be pure, as free from sin as is humanly possible Specifically, in our text, sanctification is contrasted to fornication which is moral impurity. Fornication and its companion sin, adultery, are sins committed when sexual lust is turned loose. (See James' description, James 1:13-15).
The seriousness of this sin is seen in Paul's statement, "Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication, sinneth against his own body." (I Cor. 6-18). Since, then, the Christian's body is God's temple, by this sin he ,defiles God's temple. (Cf. I Cor. 3:16-17). These sins have plagued God's people for ages. The weakness of man in this respect has led to his down-fall many times. Paul speaks of the fall of three and twenty thousand in one day because of this (I or. 10:8), as it was through this sin that Balaam of old was able, in a measure, to accomplish what he had failed to accomplish with his attempts to curse and was forbidden by God. (Rev. 2:14, 11 Pet. 2:15). The examples could be multiplied, but let this suffice. Today the sins of moral impurity which are involved in the breaking of homes and the forming of others out of their ruins, a process often repeated, pose a threat to American security far greater than all the powers of antagonistic countries. Sodom of old fell victim to God's wrath because of its impurity. Can we hope to escape if we too fall victim to our own lusts?
In spite of the dangers involved, people, and too often Christians, are inclined to consider lightly factors contributing to destruction of pure morals. Movies, television, many books and magazines with their lewd pictures and lascivious stories set the minds of youth and adults in the direction of evil. It has been true. how many times no one knows, that teachers, psychologists, and even religious leaders, in books and in counsel have advised young people to experiment sexually in preparation for the resurrection of Jesus Christ" marriage. This is simply telling them that the Bible means nothing, that fornication is not wrong. A more abominable lie has never been palmed off on humanity. The increasing trend toward nudity, the breaking down of modesty, is another factor contributing to the destruction of moral integrity. The alarming rate of divorce in our nation and even in the church is cause for shock and shame, and its end is destruction. The mixed dancing, now almost nationally taught in public schools, will contribute immeasurably to the destruction of morals and through this to the destruction of America.
The remedy must be in proper teaching and training. Upon the church lies the responsibility to point the way by teaching God's Word, but the pitiful thing is that we many times practice and condone these evils and cannot teach against what we ourselves practice, with any effect. (See Rom. 2:17-24) Preachers of the gospel need the moral courage to, in the face of any consequences, preach the truth regarding this as well as respecting every phase of God's truth. God wills our sanctification. How can we lead others to God's way of salvation while walking in sin? (See Rom. 6:1, 2) Let us, brethren, agree with God and seek to be truly consecrated, sanctified people.
Truth Magazine I:3, pp. 2, 13