Tuesday of the Second Week in Lent

Today’s Reading: 1 Thessalonians 4:1-7

Daily Lectionary: Genesis 21:1-21; Mark 6:35-56

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

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Sexual sin is all about selfishness. St. Paul warns against such sin because by its very nature it denies our life as Christians, which is to be about glorifying God and serving our neighbor. The standard for anything sexual today is whether it FEELS good. If so, it is considered okay. Think about that standard. That’s a completely “ME” way of looking at things.

The Lord desires that marriage be the lifelong union of one man and one woman living together to serve and care for each other and raise children if the Lord provides them. If you are not yet married, the Lord’s will is that you live chastely, that is, in abstinence until you’re married. Those ideas seem pretty old fashioned compared to how the world just runs along doing whatever it wants.

But notice what Paul is saying here. It’s a matter of our sanctification, our life of holiness. Now, not having sex doesn’t make you holy. Jesus makes you holy by His perfect life and His suffering and death for you. By washing you at the font and cleansing you by His gifts which deliver the forgiveness of sins. By His Word and Sacraments, the Spirit sanctifies you, that is, makes you holy and erases your guilt before God.

So what do sanctification and sex have to do with each other? It’s not just a matter of behavior. How you live with respect to the opposite sex is a confession of what you believe about God. To sleep around or be intimate without the commitment of marriage is to confess that God is whoever or whatever you want. The sanctity of marriage and the chaste single life, on the other hand, confess the truth of Christ and His holy church.

So give thanks to the Lord for the gift of purity before and in marriage, not simply as rules, but as the happy testimony of the love of God that is in Jesus Christ, our heavenly Bridegroom. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

Be faithful to your marriage vow; No lust or impure thoughts allow. Keep all your conduct free from sin By self-controlled discipline.” Have mercy, Lord! (These Are the Holy Ten Commands, LSB 581:7)

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