The Life of Holiness and Love

(1 Thessalonians 3:12--4:12)

Lesson 2 -- second quarter 1997
March 9, 1997

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 1997, Christian Light Publications

A key to holiness.
Do you know how to fulfill verse 4?

Last week we noted the importance of an un-self-contradicted witness. And we saw again that this achievement comes through "the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe" (1 Thessalonians 2:13). Today's lesson deals with holiness. What is a key to holiness? If you look carefully, you will discover it hidden in today's printed text.

Did you see it?! When we "increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men," God sets our hearts solidly before Him in unblamable holiness. Fantastic! So let's get this straight and simple: those who love reap holiness.

Now look at the issue another way. A lack of holiness indicates a dearth of love. A grievous moral collapse can be traced to lovelessness. Impure thoughts go back to a lack of love. Contamination with the world springs from a lack of love. A tainted witness results from little or no love. Oh yes -- doctrinal, theological and practical soundness and integrity are vital to holiness. But these are not the ultimate "hangers" on which holiness depend. Listen to the Lord: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets" (Matthew 22:37-40).

To learn to be holy, we must first learn to love.

"That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour" (1 Thessalonians 4:4). This is something God expects you to know how to do! Do you know how to live in your body in a holy and honorable way? You must do so because the Christian is not the sole inhabiter of his body. Did we forget that, too?!! Let's listen to the Lord again: "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?" (1 Corinthians 6:19).

What a bunch of contamination in the world today! And how deceptive it has become, and how accustomed we have become to it! And it is now so easy to access it, and the society in which we live has made it so acceptable! How shall we go about possessing our bodies in sanctification and honor?

This is an important question because "this is the will of God, even your sanctification" (1 Thessalonians 4:3). The Lord calls on us to "now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness" (Romans 6:19). He wants our "bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God" (Romans 12:1). The Master pleads: "Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity" (1 Timothy 4:12). But what can we do? What are we to do?

"Flee fornication" (1 Corinthians 6:18). In every form and in every stage. Walk the path and live the life that will take you away from fornication. "Flee also youthful lusts" (2 Timothy 2:22) of every sort, not just the sexual ones. Succumbing in one of those areas could lead you to a moral failure. Remember you "are bought with a price" (1 Corinthians 6:19), so "follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart" (2 Timothy 2:22). Walk with the wise (Proverbs 13:20) and don't even touch "the unclean thing" (2 Corinthians 6:17)!

Return to Sunday School Comments index

[Anabaptists: The Web Page]