1 Thessalonians 4:3-7
For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that you should abstain from fornication:…
1. God has a will. Will implies reason; God is infinite reason. Will implies force; it is determination: God is infinite force. Will, free, uncontrolled, is the expression of the willer's nature. God's nature is holy, benevolent, unchangeable.
2. God has a will concerning man. Insignificant though man be as compared with the universe, and less than nothing as compared with his Maker, he, nevertheless, engages the mind and heart of God. Glorious truth this!
3. God's will concerning man is his holiness. "Sanctification" man's holiness, and holiness is moral excellence, assimilation to Himself. If this be the will of God concerning man, two conclusions deserve special notice.
I. THAT MAN'S GRAND DUTY CHIMES IN WITH HIS MORAL INTUITIONS AND HIGHEST INTEREST. What is the grand duty of man? Obedience to the Divine will. Philosophy can return no other answer.
1. Our moral intuitions urge us to holiness. There is one ideal character which they are constantly intruding on our notice, urging us to cultivate. Moral souls everywhere on earth feel that they should be true, honest, generous, pure, and devout; in other words, that they should be holy.
2. Our highest interest urges us to holiness. The history of the world shows that men have been prosperous and happy in proportion to their virtues; and human consciousness attests that men are only inwardly happy as they feel that they have lived and done the thing that is right and true. So, then, the great demand of the Bible, instead of being in the slightest degree incongruous with human nature or its interests, blends in with the strictest accordance.
II. THAT MAN HAS AN INFALLIBLE GUIDE TO DETERMINE THE SUCCESSFUL IN PRAYER AND EFFORT. He who goes with God's will goes with omnipotence, and if he goes rightly, must succeed.
1. Successful prayers are prayers for holiness. He who prays for health, long life, secular property, has no reason to expect an answer only so far as these are sought with the grand motive of promoting holiness. God has not promised to answer any prayer that has not the desire for holiness as its inspiration.
2. Successful efforts are efforts for holiness. Efforts after wealth, influence, power, fame, may, and frequently do, succeed; but what then? If the inspiring motive has not been holiness, the end, which is happiness, is not obtained. Since God's will is our holiness, no human effort for happiness not aiming at the grand end has ever been, or can ever be, successful. Whatever may be the appearance of things, all prayers and effort not aiming at holiness are failures.
(D. Thomas, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: