"God is most glorified in you when you are most satisfied in him in the midst of loss, not prosperity." --John Piper

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Aw, Dad, do I have to?

Ephesians 5:3-5

 3But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. 4Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking,which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. 5For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

Why is Paul saying this? He has just stated that we must walk in imitation of God, so why the specifics?

I think it has something to do with the fact that new converts (and old too) come from all walks of life. They need to be shown what it means to walk like Jesus walked. It might be easy for some to justify such behavior, either in ignorance, or in stubbornness of heart. Either way, Paul is making it clear that these behaviors are out of bounds for the lover of God.

Those last words are strong! What about grace? Grace is all over Paul's writings. But so is the idea that walking in Christ is not merely "accepting Him into your heart" one time, nor is it the idea of get baptized and walk however you wish. Those kinds of responses are idolotrous, and are not for those of God's kingdom.

Ouch! (But if taken to heart, that is a very good ouch.)


Kansas Bob said...

Why do you think he included foolish talk in the list?

Spherical said...

I wish he had given a more detailed description of what "foolish talk" is, because I can think of a lot of things that qualify as foolish. He says that they are "out of place," so I think perhaps he is just talking about being flipant, or making jokes out of issues that should be taken seriously, which is not a way for a Christian to handle issues.

Great question, not sure my answer is right, but it makes you think!

Kansas Bob said...

Also interesting that Paul says "sexually immoral or impure". Wonder what the difference is between immoral and impure.

Spherical said...

Another great question. From the language, one indicates the act of adultry, the other moral impurity. Perhaps he is echoing the teaching of Jesus that to do the act or to think it in the heart are both wrong.

But I could be wrong :)

Kansas Bob said...

It does beg the question of whether one can be impure but not immoral. Possibly impurity is, as you indicate, a condition of the heart that manifest in immorality?

Spherical said...

I do believe that one can be impure but not immoral. Look at the scribes and Pharisees. They sought to be as moral as possible, yet Jesus continually condemned them as impure. The were whitewashed tombs! Jesus had to tell them to clean the outside and the inside. Outside alone was not enough.