1 Thessalonians 4:3-7
For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that you should abstain from fornication:…
I. THE INTRINSIC EVIDENCE OF THE FACT THAT GOD DESIRES OUR SANCTIFICATION.
1. Sanctification is the restoration of that which was ruined by the apostasy. If it were only to bring things back to the primitive order which He pronounced to be very good, it is in God's view most desirable that man should be made holy. We do not wish to see a ship dismasted, a man lame, or a machine out of order. It delights us to see them restored to their natural state. So God delights in a restoration to the primitive moral order.
2. Sanctification is the complete reconciliation of man to God. As a lover of order, He must be pleased to see man reconciled to the perfect order He has established. Sin is a quarrel with God's arrangements. Sanctification is a return to perfect harmony with God and His government.
3. It is the restoration of perfect loveliness to man. God abhors sin partly because of its moral repulsiveness, and loves holiness because of its moral beauty.
II. THE ACTIONS OF GOD IN REFERENCE TO MAN'S SANCTIFICATION.
1. We see more than desire; we see great earnestness in these. This earnestness comes to us in the form of authority. We are made for law, and are susceptible to the requirements of authority. See, then, the eternal God coming down to Sinai to make a law requiring men to be holy, and throwing around that law all the sanctions of Divine approbation and displeasure. To this mighty influence He adds the potent discipline of His Providence pruning us that we may be fruitful. Then, further, there is the mission of Christ, and the ministry of the Spirit.
2. With our minds full of these facts, let us see their practical consequences.
(1) We should rejoice in afflictions. God, in chastening us, is aiming at our perfection. Christ was made perfect through suffering.
(2) We should be earnest in the use of religious ordinances. These are the appointed means. "Sanctify them through Thy truth." And we should be confident of success in the right employment of them.
(3) We should labour for each other's sanctification. As we are bound to pray, "Thy will be done," etc., so we are bound to desire that every human being may carry out that will by being holy.Conclusion: If God wills the sanctification of all men, then —
1. The condition of the irreligious is fearful.
2. Every one who knows what the will of God is, is bound at once to seek after holiness.
(E. N. Kirk, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: