It is indeed a rarity that human sexuality is a topic in the quarterly Bible Study Guide. Even though in this week’s study the topic is couched under the heading of “Living Holy Lives,” one, nevertheless, appreciates the fact that the church recognizes that this matter should no longer
be closeted but must be addressed in plenary sessions to help the church members, especially the youth, realize the dangers of the counterfeit teachings on human sexuality that are being foisted upon society today.
The church must be vigilant in providing its members with the armor they need to protect them from the so called modern human sexuality by uncovering its often hidden dangers. In his book A God Named Desire, Ty Gibson states that “Human sexuality was designed by God, and was, therefore, patterned after something deeply rooted in the divine identity.” Gibson goes on to say that the Devil has used his powers to make human sexuality an object of lust and shame (Gibson, p. 61). In our study for this week, Paul advises the Thessalonians (and us) to “flee sexual immorality,” because it is fraudulent (1Thess. 4:6) and that one should not defraud one’s brother (or sister). To be sure, to defraud means to steal, to take without permission what belongs to another.
Because the Thessalonians were brand new believers, and being aware of the fact that sexual immorality was rampant in the region in those days, Paul felt compelled to offer the Thessalonians some sobering advice on sexual purity and sexual promiscuity. He knew that the Devil would not hesitate to use the most effective weapon in the world to dissuade them from faithfully practicing their new found faith. Paul feared that the Thessalonians might be influenced to return to their former practices. To this end, therefore, he states in 1 Thess. 4:4 that everyone should “possess his own vessel,” but he does not clearly define the word “vessel.”
In the view of this writer, Paul uses the word “vessel” in the same way the word “craft” was used in my younger days; it was clearly understood to mean one’s romantic interest. Paul uses the word as a literary device known as a double-entendre – a word or expression that may have two meanings, especially if one of the meanings conveys some sought of sauciness. Yes, vessel may mean a woman, as in “chosen vessel,” but it may also be used to refer to one’s own body in the context of controlling one’s own body, keeping it “under subjection.” The best way to do this, in Paul’s view, is for every man to “have his own wife” and “every woman her own husband” (1 Cor. 7:2).
Since biblical times sexual immorality has been the bane of society, but with every succeeding generation, this practice has been gaining ready acceptance. It is rapidly becoming the norm in today’s society, being powered by the electronic media and sustained by the print,
entertainment, and fashion industries. We are told that in Paul’s day, there were many forms of sexual excesses and that “Gentile society as a whole had little or no sexual restraints . . . .” The same can be said of today’s society. Sad to say, however, the church is not immune from
the collateral damage caused by the media’s bombardment of society. There is certainly a disturbingly noticeable increase in media influence on unwary church members. The church must redouble its efforts to stop the influence of the creep of promiscuous and immoral influences on its members.
• What decisions do you need to make regarding your relationships?
• What decisions do you need to make regarding the movies you watch?
• What decisions do you need to make regarding your fashion choices?