“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God.” (Reference: 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 )
Remember yesterday, when I talked about the feeling of repetitiveness of yesterday’s scripture passage and the writings of the historic Anabaptists? Here is the writer of 1 Thessalonians (who biblical scholars tell is ALSO the writer of Ephesians) telling us why these exhortations and admonitions are repeated – God wishes us to be saved! And made holy and righteous. Sanctified!
The historic Anabaptists assumed that the “power and principalities” that they considered synonymous with the religious leaders of their time were angered by their desire to follow God in their own way. And wished to dissuade the historic Anabaptists. Hans Bret writes to his mother saying (in part) “I thank, yes, I thank you, my dear mother, that you thus exhort me to steadfastness and boldness, to confess the name of Christ, which I hope to do by the help of the Lord, who alone is my helper and my strength, to resist the principalities and powers of this world, the spirits of the air, as Paul says (Eph. 6:12), yea, these priests of Jezebel, who thirst for the blood of the righteous that walk in the ways of the Lord, who, according to the word of Christ, seek to walk the narrow way, and to forsake their own life, as also, sin, unrighteousnesses and carnal lusts, and seek to please the Lord in righteousness, according to the will of God, in holiness. 1 Thess. 4:3. These are rejected, despised, and persecuted, yea, imprisoned; their end is to be killed, because they seek to walk the way in such a manner, that they may please the Lord. Hence Esdras says: “The way is narrow, and cannot be walked without danger.” 2 Esd. 7:8. This we may well consider.”
It is interesting to read these historic Anabaptist writings from the perspective of time and an understanding of human nature. Many times those in authority will feel frightened and threatened when a groups changes the way things have been. We can see this in most every uprising against the established institution, whether religious in nature or not. People do not like change, and will go to most any length to keep change from happening.
Now, to the historic Anabaptists, following the doctrines and practices of the established state church at the time was tantamount to “whoring” because it was so strongly against the biblical principles that they had come to believe in. And for the established state church at the time, forsaking that faith was tantamount to “whoring”. We modern Anabaptist/Mennonites, and the larger Christian faith, read these words literally. But for the believers on both sides of the issue, it was more than just “flesh” sins. You may think this is an extreme interpretation of some of the historic Anabaptist writings. But let me remind you, the historic Anabaptists were not rebelling against a church that was established on carnal and immoral doctrines. This is a difference of faith practices and not lifestyle practices.
Read scripture for the value and guidance it gives. Read the writings of the historic Anabaptists to learn how they appropriated and used scripture. But do not, beloved, picture in your mind men and women who were divided an the lack of value of a carnal lifestyle. Rest not your judgment of what is right or wrong solely on human advice – not even mine! God wishes you to be holy – follow the Lord who wishes only the best for you. Selah!