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November 16 – Living moral lives

“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:3 

Scripture reading: Matthew 5:27-32

Paul begins where we would like to stop. We think that once we have been regenerated, we have reached our goal, but the Bible teaches us that once having been reborn, we are only getting started. A long, fearsome road of struggling against the world, the devil and our own flesh begins after rebirth. God wants us to be sanctified!

In 1 Thessalonians 4:3-6 Paul tells the Thessalonians what is involved in sanctification. He mentions that their sanctification must first be worked out in the area of marriage. Even in their marriages, they must make it obvious that they are a changed, converted people. It is easy to see why Paul would mention the need for sanctified marriages when we remember that these people had only recently been converted from paganism. They had only recently become Christians, but they had come from and were still living in a heathen environment. It would not have been easy for them to break from their heathen customs and practices.

Paul teaches them that marriage was ordained by God for God’s glory and for man’s benefit and enjoyment. It was to be a lifelong commitment between one man and one woman. What God had joined together may not be broken by man. Paul still speaks to the church today. We too live amidst a pagan culture where marriage is no longer sacred or honoured. Tragically even among church members we see so much brokenness and sin in the area of marriage and human sexuality.

Suggestions for prayer

Pray that God would help us to live morally pure lives. Ask Him to help us to love, honour and cherish our marriage partners.

Rev. Mark Zylstra is an emeritus minister of the United Reformed Churches in North America. He and his wife Corrie, live in Smithville ON and their home church is Wellandport, ON URC. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at

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