Tuesday, 4 October 2016
But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; Ephesians 5:3
The verse begins with “But…” as a contrast to being imitators of God, walking in holiness, and being an acceptable offering and sacrifice to God. In contrast to those things, we are warned against “fornication and all uncleanness.” Fornication is sexual intimacy which is outside of the bonds of marriage. This is connected to “all uncleanness.” It is a general reference to life’s impurities, and anything that a man could pursue which would otherwise defile himself. Such things are to be considered in the same light as fornication.
Along with that, he includes the words, “or covetousness.” In using “or” instead of “and” he places “covetousness” in a distinct class, and yet it is closely associated with fornication and uncleanness. Covetousness indicates a desire for more and more. It demonstrates eyes that are never satisfied with what they have, and an attitude which is insatiable towards self-gratification.
The connection between the two is obvious. Fornication and uncleanness are things we are actively participating in which defile us. They are acts of self-gratification being fulfilled, but covetousness is a state of mind for more of the same. It is the mental state that what “I am being filled with is insufficient. Therefore, I will go after more in an attempt to find satisfaction.”
Such things show that we do not place God in the center of our minds, but rather He is pushed out of them in order to make room for that which is in opposition to Him. Because of this, Paul says, “…let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for the saints.” Not only are we to abstain from such things, but we are not to even discuss them. The very mention of such things spurs inside of us sparks of desire which can quickly lead to action in an attempt to fulfill them.
Instead, we are to be thankful for what we have, praising the Lord for His grace, and edifying of our fellow Christians through an acknowledgment of His hand in our lives.
Life application: The admonitions of Scripture come to us from the hands of men guided by the Holy Spirit. God created us and He knows exactly what is best for us in our lives. These admonitions, exhortations, and commands are for our benefit. We have been saved through Christ. What God would have us do are those things that a caring Father knows are best for us.
Heavenly Father, Your word is given to us for instruction and guidance, not to take away our rights, but to direct us as children who are loved and cared for. When we look at Your word as a system of rules and punishments, we fail to see the love behind the letter. But You sent Christ to take what we deserve. Now that the judgment for our sins is past, You are instructing us for our benefit. Help us to remember this, and then help us to be obedient as faithful children within Your house. Amen.