Lord's Day Liturgy

A Brotherly Metaphor

In this series of exhortations to confessions I think we need two more looks into the mirror of 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8, so one more after this one.

Here is the cornerstone of the Bible’s teaching on how Christians of different genders are to treat each other. This applies to older, married men and women, but especially in this paragraph about God’s will for the unmarried-but-looking. Paul’s premise for not trespassing or defrauding is that we are family.

that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter

There are at least two parts of this premise. The first part relates to the fact that we should have great affection for and respect toward each other in the family of God. We should watch against temptations to hurt or sin against our brothers, and especially in this context, against the future spouses of those we relate to now.

But the second part of this premise, which is perhaps not as obvious here in verse 6 alone, is that in this family, a young man should treat a young lady as his sister. Remember 1 Timothy 5:1-2: “the younger women as sisters in all purity!

Guys, she is your sister. “Oh, but that is just a metaphor.” So true. And what is that metaphor for? It is a metaphor to illustrate the purity, the protection, and the honor to be pursued in the relationship.

For sake of a narrative illustration, how would you react if I defended my sister against a bully who was attacking her? You would say that’s right, indeed, it was my duty. But what if you heard that I had taken advantage of my sister, or had molested her in any way? You would most certainly say that is gross. It would be wrong no matter who it was, but especially so for a brother.

What is helping us not be conformed to this world in our sexual morality? The stories that entertain us today work against God’s will for our sanctification as brothers and sisters in Christ. The dating system is designed to pair up people and excite romantic passion from the start. It’s goal is to move a couple out from under the watchful eye of parents and other authorities so that boys and girls can start acting like more than siblings…and to start acting like they are spouses. It doesn’t end up well very often. Don’t awaken that love before it’s time.