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Read Introduction to 1 Thessalonians


“…not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God…“


not in passion of lust,

“Passion” is whatever we suffer or experience in any way. It is an affection of the mind, a passionate desire in either a good or a bad sense. Here Paul uses this term in a bad sense of illicit sexual passion.

“Passion” is the passive side of our sinful capacity. It refers to affections that have the potential for arousal. “Lust” is the active side. It refers to strong drives and intense cravings. “Lust” denotes coveting, desire, craving, longing, mostly of evil desires. The idea is to desire something greatly or strongly.

“For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature” (Romans 1:26).

“For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death” (Romans 7:5).

“And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:24).

like the Gentiles

The “Gentiles” are those without Christ. Unrestrained indulgence in sexual passion is characteristic of those without Christ. The Bible divides people into three categories: the Jew, the Gentile, and the church of God.

“Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God…” (1 Corinthians 10:32).

who do not know God

Those who know God overcome sexual temptation because of their relationship with Him. It is one thing to know about God; it is another to know God personally. Once we embrace Jesus as our Savior, our attitude toward sex changes. To live without restraints sexually is to live like a heathen.


A personal relationship with God is the parent of purity.


Christians should never mistake lust for love. Those without Christ often do not know the difference. Hollywood certainly does not, for the most part.

“Passion of lust” is mental adultery or fornication, as well as the overt act. The battle with sexual sin always begins in the mind. It is as much sin to think it as to act it.

When lusts stir up our passions, we give ourselves over to appetites of the sin capacity. We deny the dignity that comes from God. We lose all sense of fairness to fellow believers in the family of God.

Overcoming illicit sexual passions begins with a relationship with the Lord. If we allow Him to convict us of these sins and confess them, we have taken the first step toward overcoming. There is far more to conquering these sins, but we cannot overcome them without a relationship with God.