Commentary on "Living Holy Lives (1 Thess. 4:112)"
Day 3: Monday, August 13, 2012 - Gods Will: Holiness (1 Thess. 4:3)
Today’s lesson is on “Holiness” and, while somewhat disjointed and confusing, makes the point that “Paul clearly does not endorse a law-free gospel”. The thought questions at the end of the lesson make the point that sexuality is a gift from God that has become twisted and misused. It ends by asking what choices we can make that will protect us from the potential damage that abuse of this gift will bring.
It’s tempting to note that this lesson seems to be moralizing to an audience that harbors an undercurrent of sexual problems. Adventism hides a great deal of sexual acting out and even outright abuses just below its carefully whitewashed surface. Incest, pregnancies outside of marriage, premarital sex, divorce, and abortions are all too common among Adventists. To be sure, there are other religious groups that share this problem, but Adventism is not more clean in this area than are other non-Christian groups.
Everyone knows that sexual abuses cause great personal damage. The moralizing in this lesson offers no help or new knowledge that the readers do not already know. The ongoing despair and frustration with these issues is not helped by the philosophical questions and reminders of the law’s requirements these lessons are offering.
The law offers absolutely no hope or help against the lusts of the flesh and the perversions of sexual abuses. Colossians 2:20-23 states that laws have the appearance of value but lack any power against fleshly indulgence.
The only way to have any victory over sexual temptation and impurity is to be born again and to receive the Holy Spirit and the new heart God promises those who believe in His Son. It is only with the miracle of a spirit made alive with the resurrection life of the Lord Jesus that we can surrender our deep emptiness, fear, loneliness, and desires to Him and receive His identity and presence as our fulfillment.
Marriage does not provide any protection against lusts of the heart, either, unless we have been born again.
In short, there is no hope for achieving sexual purity apart from the Lord Jesus. Pious talk may hide a heart’s dark secrets, but the reality of our deep self-protection and self-indulgence cannot be hidden from God. The law does nothing except magnify our sinful hearts and behaviors. Only faith in the Lord Jesus will give us an eternal identity that can surrender our self-centeredness and fill us with the love of the Lord Jesus that can nourish the heart of another.
Copyright 2012 BibleStudiesForAdventists.com. All rights reserved. Revised August 11, 2012. This website is published by Life Assurance Ministries, Camp Verde, Arizona, USA, the publisher of Proclamation! Magazine. Contact email: BibleStudiesForAdventists@gmail.com.
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