We live in a world of immodesty, rampant immorality and unbridled debauchery. Lest we be deceived, we should know that though this may be a recent mark of the United States, it is certainly nothing new in the world. As bad as things are or appear to be in the States, it still doesn’t compare to many statements of those in Bible times. When God destroyed the world with water, it is said that the thought and intent of EVERY MAN was to do only evil continually (cf Gen 6). Similar statements can be found concerning God’s chosen people, Israel (cf Zeph 3:7).
Not even Christians, those who make a conscious and free will determination to seek the Lord, are exempt from this problem. A reading of 1 Corinthians 5-6, Colossians 3, Ephesians 4 and Revelation 2-3 reveals the ever-present problem of immorality among God’s people.
So it is in today’s reading. Paul begins with an exhortation how the brethren were to walk and to please God. The sanctification of the Christian is God’s will for His children, “that you should abstain from sexual immorality, that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in the passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God.”
“Vessel” here may be thought of as an instrument designed to serve God (cf 2 Tim 2:19-21). In this case, we should present ourselves as instruments of righteousness, fit for divine service (cf Rom 6:13).
“Vessel” here could refer to a container, an object that holds or transports another thing. A truck, a boat, or a plane are all vessels of this type. So also is our human body. Man is both a physical and spiritual being. Every one of us possesses an eternal soul that will live on after our physical bodies are returned to dust (cf Ecc 12:7). It is then accurate to say that the eternal destination of our souls is determined by how we possess our physical vessels.
Whether the text speaks of an instrument of service or container of the soul, what we do in our bodies is of utmost and eternal consequence: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, whether good or bad” (2 Cor 5:10; cf Rev 20:12). Dear friend, possess your vessel in honor!