Lesson 14


Paul's Letter to the Ephesians

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

5:1 Be therefore imitators of God, as beloved children. 5:2 Walk in love, even as Christ also loved you, and gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling fragrance. 5:3 But sexual immorality, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not even be mentioned among you, as becomes saints; 5:4 nor filthiness, nor foolish talking, or jesting, which are not appropriate; but rather giving of thanks. 5:5 Know this for sure, that no sexually immoral person, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 5:6 Let no man deceive you with empty words. For because of these things, the wrath of God comes on the sons of disobedience. 5:7 Don't be therefore partakers with them.

 


Today's Lesson

Paul continues to instruct his readers in a responsible reaction to our position in Christ. Paul was not bashful about giving people the whole gospel. He was quick to tell people about the love and mercy of God and how that should spur us to a positive toward God and toward our neighbor. He was also quick to point out that some actions and attitudes are inconsistent with the new life in Christ. Paul would not only tell his new converts what they ought to be doing, but what they ought not to be doing as well.

 

He starts back at his consistent starting place. All things are coming together into unity in Christ. We are now children of God. He is our Father. Like children who are dearly loved will naturally imitate their parents, we should imitate our Heavenly Father. As Christ imitated the Father in love and sacrificial giving, we should imitate Him and imitate the Father. Christ was willing to give Himself up for us as an offering and a sacrifice. We must give our lives as an offering and a sacrifice for others.

 

"But sexual immorality, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not even be mentioned among you, as becomes saints." Sexual immorality is a form of covetousness. We want what is not rightly ours. God has provided means (for most marriage, for some, celibacy) whereby our sexual needs and desires can be properly met. But, our flesh desires and covets what we should not have. Those who would draw closer to God will rely on His judgment to lead us to holiness in the matter of our sexual natures.

 

Paul writes that "filthiness, nor foolish talking, or jesting..." are not appropriate for children of God either. People of the world fill their days with coarse humor and foolishness. This does not mean that Christians are dour-faced all day. The Bible reveals that God has a sense of humor. It's just that the things that are humorous and joyful to God do not degrade or abuse His children or His creation. Paul writes that instead of foolish talking, we should rather give thanks.

 

Paul wants to make clear that his readers understand his next point. "No sexually immoral person, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God." Only children of God can inherit His kingdom. And, His children are those who the Spirit of God is leading toward righteousness and holiness. The Spirit of God will not allow us to live in sin. The Spirit is gentle and merciful with us, but, He is just as much a Holy God as the Father on high. His role is to root out and expose sin. A Christian who attempts to hold on to his personal sins is a most miserable creature. God will continue to force the issue until some drastic result occurs and the sinner is brought low. He loves us too much to allow us to continue to live in sin.

 

Have you concerns about the sins that you see in your life? Remember this, our goal in the Christian life is not to battle sin. Sin is a defeated foe. We are like rock climbers stranded on a precipice. God has sent us a guide to lead us off the rock-face. Fighting with our sin is like constantly looking over the edge, do it often enough and you're bound to fall. Rather, our goal is to follow the guide and stay close to him. He knows the way to safety. He will lead us home and carry us over the treacherous spots along the way.

 

Hold fast to Jesus Christ. He is the guide that will lead us home!

 

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