Impure (1 Thessalonians 4:7)

For God has not called us to impurity, but to sanctification.

1 Thessalonians 4:7

I confess that I struggle with this impurity Paul writes about. The concordance gives the meaning of the word as physical impurity or in a moral sense: the impurity of lustful, luxurious, profligate living. There are certainly times when I struggle with various lusts — some more than others. Depending on one’s frame of reference, I might live luxuriously — if we compare with undeveloped countries of the world, it is a certainty. And there are times when I am wasteful (seldom recklessly so). Paul’s reminder is that this is not that to which God has called me.

This reminder is necessary because what was true of the Thessalonian church then is true of me now: we live among people for whom impurity is normal. Modern America is all of the things that are wrapped up in the term impurity. America is a lustful place, trading on people’s lusts to get us to constantly think we need something that we got along just fine without before. Americans, by and large, live quite luxuriously. While there are exceptions, the vast majority are living at a level that people in other places can only dream of. And America is about as profligate; utterly and shamelessly immoral; recklessly wasteful and extravagant as nations come.

I can only chime in with Isaiah, “I am undone. I am an impure man who dwells among an impure people.” The comfort that God offers when I chime in with that prophet is the same comfort He offered to the prophet: He cleanses me and makes me right with Him.

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