God calls us to live godly lives

...that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 1 Thessalonians 4:4-7 NIV

From the text, Paul makes it clear the expectation to Christians when they surrender their lives to Christ to be made holy. Sexual fidelity is expected for males as well as females. They are not merely to mirror the values of the society around it; it is “set apart.” This is why Paul’s admonition is that each one “should learn to control his own body.” A rather literal translation is “to know how to possess for himself his own vessel” (NASB). A vessel may very well be a synonym for body (see 2 Corinthians 4:7; 2 Timothy 2:21). One “possesses” his or her body and is not “possessed” by it. The physical body is not something to be put down as evil such was the attitude of ascetics during the Middle Ages. It is not a tomb, as Plato claimed. Rather, the body is a means, a “vessel” for the glory and praise of God. “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves” (2 Corinthians 4:7 NASB). It is not to control the actions that lead to “passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God” (1 Thessalonians 4:5), but instead be an example of holiness and honor. The physical can become a means of spiritual worship. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship” (Romans 12:1). Therefore, Paul urges that “in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister” (1 Thessalonians 4:6). Christians are called upon to not violate the very sensibilities of other human beings. God will not tolerate in His presence such ungodliness. Therefore, in light of His holiness and in anticipation of His appearing, righteous and godly living should be the order of the day for such life is consistent with His call: “God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life” (1 Thessalonians 4:7).

Blessings,

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