Concupiscence, 1 Thes 4:3-5

According to 1 Thes 4:3-5, it is the will of God that we possess our vessels in sanctification and honour; not in the lust of concupiscence.  I recently heard Pastor Erick Knight preach on concupiscence.  His sermon helped me to understand this sin and to come up with a way to see how it relates to lust and other sexual sins in the Bible.  

Concupiscence, like the word lasciviousness, is a word that we must define in order to understand what we are not to do.  By defining it and seeing it in relation to other sins, we can better grasp how it affects us.

Sin Starts With Lust

In 1 Thes 4:5, Paul used the phrase “the lust of concupiscence”.  Lust, according to Jas 1:13-15, is not, in and of itself, a bad thing.  See Deut 12:15, 20-21 as examples of lust that is not sin.  We all have lust.  The trouble with lust starts when lust has you.  Lust is not bad until it draws you away.  Then it conceives sin.  And watch how the sin grows as it draws you further and further into immorality.

Lust Leads To Concupiscence

Concupiscence – Col 3:5, 1 Thes 4:5.  Concupiscence is strong or ardent desire.  Ardent is fiery, hot, and passionate.  Concupiscence is also strong sexual desire.  According to 1 Thes 4:5, concupiscence is typical of Gentiles that know not God.  Unfortunately, even those who do know God are giving in to it today.  According to Col 3:5 concupiscence is also evil.  As Pastor Knight preached, this sin is becoming rampant in churches.

Concupiscence Is Manifested in Fornication and Adultery

Fornication and adultery, 1 Cor 6:9, are the outward manifestations of concupiscence.  They are what you do when you put this sin into action.  You will remember that adultery doesn’t have to be physical to be sin.  Adultery may be “in his heart,” Matt 5:28.

Concupiscence Leads To Lasciviousness

Lasciviousness, Gal 5:19, is lechery.  Lechery is inordinate indulgence in sexual activity.  Inordinate is lacking order; exceeding the ordinary.  Lasciviousness is sexual activity that exceeds the ordinary or that is out of order.  Lascivious people are, for example, whoremongers, Heb 13:4, and homosexuals, Rom 1:26-27.  In our country these sins are promoted, protected, and legal.  And they are drawing away the children and members of our churches.

These Sins Start Inside Your Heart

These things grow from the inside out, Mk 7:20-23, and become worse the more people give into them and/or the further they get from God, Rom 1:28.  These sins are on public display and are considered “normal” in our world filled with “Gentiles who know not God”.  They are not normal.  They are inordinate.

You Stop Them By Walking In The Spirit

Concupiscence can’t be controlled by telling yourself or your children “no”.  Look at Paul’s testimony in Rom 7:7-8.  When the law told him “no,” it wrought in him all manner of concupiscence.  Paul was a godly man, and even he had to deal with this sin.  

How did Paul handle it?  As one preacher said, “We are crucified with Christ in Rom 6, we deal with our flesh in Rom 7, but thank God we live our lives in Rom 8. For the Lord’s sake, don’t get stuck in Rom 7”.  

Concupiscence is controlled by walking in the Spirit, Gal 5:16.  “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh”.  It’s controlled by the Spirit, not by anything we do in the flesh.  Learn to be sensitive to and responsive to the Holy Spirit in your life.  Yield to the Holy Spirit and obey him.  He will keep you from fulfilling the lust of your flesh.