Abstinence. It’s Good For What “Ails” You !
Let’s set the record straight to start with!! This isn’t ENTIRELY about “pre-marital” sex. As a matter of fact, it is more about what The Word of God says about “Abstain”
Our central text comes from 1 Thessalonians 5 and read like this;
21Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
22Abstain from all appearance of evil.
23And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The word “abstain” is a New Testament word and doesn’t appear in the OT when you research it out. BUT, by it’s very meaning, Abstain, is mentioned throughout the whole Word of God. Let’s look at what Webster’s Dictionary says about “Abstain”.
1. Refrain from voting.
2. Choose to refrain; “I abstain from alcohol”.
Source: Error! Hyperlink reference not valid. Copyright © 2001 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
Date “abstain” was first used in popular English literature: sometime before 1010. (references)
Synonyms: desist (v), refrain (v). (additional references)
Antonym: consume (v). (additional references)
Synonyms within Context: Abstain
Context Synonyms within Context (source: adapted from Roget’s Thesaurus).
Absence of Choice Verb: be neutral; Adjective: have no choice, have no election; waive, not vote; abstain from voting, refrain from voting; leave undecided; “make a virtue of necessity”.
Avoidance Verb: abstain, refrain, spare, not attempt; not do; maintain the even tenor of one’s way.
Disuse Verb: not use; do without, dispense with, let alone, not touch, forbear, abstain, spare, waive, neglect; keep back, reserve. lay up, lay by, lay on the shelf, keep on the shelf,lay up in ordinary; lay up in a napkin; shelve; set aside, put aside, lay aside; disuse, leave off, have done with; supersede; discard; (eject); dismiss, give warning.
Inaction Verb: not do, not act, not attempt; be inactive; abstain from doing, do nothing, hold, spare; not stir, not move, not lift a finger, not lift a foot, not lift a peg; fold one’s arms, fold one’s hands; leave alone, let alone; let be, let pass, let things take their course, let it have its way, let well alone, let well enough alone; quieta non movere; stare super antiquas vias; rest and be thankful, live and let live; lie rest upon one’s oars; laisser aller, faire; stand aloof; refrain; (avoid) keep oneself from doing; remit one’s efforts, relax one’s efforts; desist; (relinquish); stop; (cease); pause; (be quiet).
Temperance Verb: be temperate; Adjective: abstain, forbear, refrain, deny oneself, spare,swear off.
As you can tell, Abstain can be summed up with one word, refrain. To simply “Not do” or “Stay away from”.
In the context of Biblical Scripture, Abstain is most often used in that vernacular.
The problem with most people is they are of a “rebellious spirit”, and they often look at “abstinence” in the wrong way and call it “Legalism” , “out of date”, or for most Christians, “not under the New Covenant” as in reference to “Grace”.
When we look at what is sin and what isn’t, there are many varied opinions.
One of the most quoted explanations is “sin is anything that comes between you and God”. This definition is really very simple, but it really can be misinterpreted as well.
I am going to take the “Dietary Laws of God” for an example. Just for those who don’t know it, “The Dietary Laws of God” is a term given to “thou shall not eat…”.
This really is a confusing statement to many people, BUT, in today’s modern “scientific” world, one should easily understand why God said “thou shall not eat ….”. God, who is infinitely wiser than any man ever has been or will be, simply knew what’s best for us. After all, The Creator, would know how He created these things, right? So, He would know whether, say, pork, shellfish, bottom feeding fish, or “buzzards” would be good for us to eat. SO, when He said don’t eat them, it wasn’t so He could give us a bunch of rules to live by, as some try to claim. It was simply because He knew and still knows, what is best for us. For one to claim that these are a “Law of God” and by not keeping it, you will go to hell, WELL, that’s simply not the truth. You will probably die a lot quicker, by not eating good healthy food, that God made for us and gave us to eat, BUT, eating these things isn’t going to send you to hell.
We are to “Abstain” from these things for our own good. God, the Father, knows best!!
When we look at the simplest meaning of “Abstain”, it is really hard to misunderstand it, from a purely Biblical sense.
We are to “hold on to the good things” of God, and “Abstain” refrain or stay away, do not do, “those things” which are bad for us.
When we do that, we begin to become the “New Creature”, who has died to our “fleshly, lustful ways” and have been “Crucified with Christ”, “Born Again, Resurrected” into the Child of God, that a Loving, Caring, Merciful, and yes, even Graceful, God would be proud of. As parents, it should be easy for us to understand how God The Father, wants what is best for His Children.
ABSTAIN from anything that would keep us from standing before YHWH and having him say, “Well done!”
Here are ALL six times that the word “Abstain” appears in the KJV of the Bible!
But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.
That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.
1 Thessalonians 4:3
For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:
1 Thessalonians 5:22
Abstain from all appearance of evil.
1 Timothy 4:3
Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
1 Peter 2:11
Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;