The Triune God Helps Us With Sexual Temptation

adults only

The Thessalonians lived in a city full of sexual temptation. Visitors arrived by land and sea, and sex and other pleasures were readily available. Greek culture allowed young men to enjoy a variety of sexual pleasures. “We keep mistresses for pleasure, concubines for our day-to-day bodily needs, but we have wives to produce legitimate children and serve as trustworthy guardians of our homes,” wrote Demosthenes, a Greek statesman and orator in nearby Athens.

It’s hard to live faithfully as a Christian in a culture that’s full of sexual temptation, and yet that’s what Paul instructed the Thessalonians to do. We can live in a sexualized culture and honor God with our sexuality.

In fact, the Triune God will help us.

…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. (1 Thessalonians 4:6-8)
  • “The Lord is an avenger.” We will stand before Jesus one day and give account for how we’ve lived, including the area of sexuality. No matter how carefully our sexual sins are hidden today, everything will be revealed on that day. Sexual sin is a form of theft; it takes what doesn’t belong to us. God will avenge the wrong we’ve committed on that day. The judgment of Jesus is a strong incentive against sexual sin.
  • “For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness.” We don’t avoid sexual immorality just because we will be judged. We also avoid sexual immorality because God is holy, and calls us to holiness. I appreciate Ray Ortlund’s approach in The Death of Porn, in which he reminds us who we are and calls us to live up to it. “Your problem is that you haven’t stared transfixed at the grandeur of God’s lofty purpose for you.” We honor God with our sexuality because of who he is, and who he intends us to be.
  • “Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.” We don’t fight sexual temptation on our own strength. God has given us his Holy Spirit, who gives us new hearts and changes us from the inside-out (Ezekiel 36:27). The Spirit gives us the resources we need to battle sexual temptation.

“As usual, Paul’s view of sanctification is strongly Trinitarian: sanctification is the will of God the Father, through the rule of God the Son, and by the power of God the Spirit, whom God gives through Jesus Christ (Richard Phillips).

We live in a world that tolerates and promotes all kinds of sexual sin. Sometimes it feels like we face a losing battle.

But we’re not the first to face this struggle. The judgment of Jesus, the holiness of God, and the resources of the Holy Spirit will help us honor God in this area. We have every reason to strive for holiness, even when our temptations and the surrounding culture are against us.

“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality…” (1 Thessalonians 4:3)

Darryl Dash

Darryl Dash

I'm a grateful husband, father, oupa, and pastor of Grace Fellowship Church Don Mills. I love learning, writing, and encouraging. I'm on a lifelong quest to become a humble, gracious old man.
Toronto, Canada