“Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;
And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.
For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.”
Just as the obedience of Christ was a fragrant aroma rising up to God, so our lives also have a scent. If our lives are pleasing to God, then it’s like a sweet-smelling offering rising up to God, and He’s breathing it in. In heaven, God may be sniffing and commenting, “Now her life has a satisfying odor,” or “Ahhh, the smell his life!” …..
Yet, some who profess to be followers of Jesus are a stench in God’s nostrils. In order to be a fragrant aroma, you have to live a life of purity …..
The opposite of purity is perversion. Paul describes perversion this way: “but fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints”
First, Paul mentions immorality, from the Greek word “porneia”, from which we get our word pornography. This word encompasses all forms of sexual sin. And this is perversion …..
Second, impurity. Jesus used this word to describe decaying bodies in a tomb. It paints an ugly picture of an impure, dirty, decaying, foul life. Another brand of perversion …..
Third, coveteousness, or greed. What is that doing on the list? Think of it this way. In the filing system of sin, the first two words, immorality and impurity, are specific folders in the drawer of sexual sin. The whole filing cabinet is covetousness or greed. It’s a big, summary term, and all the sin in that cabinet is rooted in covetousness; wanting what I want, when I want it, and not caring what God says, because I come first, and I will have what I want. Yet again, yep, perversion …..
Notice that Paul says those three things—immorality, impurity, and covetousness must not even be named among us. Not much squirming room in that! Zero tolerance, don’t mess with it, not appropriate for the children of God whatsoever …..
Then Paul broadens the scope from physical, sexual sin to verbal, sexual sin: “Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.” (Ephesians 5:4). Filthiness refers to general obscenity, any talk that sexually degrades someone. Foolish talk literally means moron words; not playful teasing with our kids, but gutter mouth or silly, base, perverse filler words. Crude joking and dirty jokes turns any comment, no matter how innocent, into something obscene or suggestive. These sexual innuendo conversations are out of place, or rather “not convenient” in the family of God ….
All of this is perversion, the opposite of purity, and it stinks in God’s nostrils. Why is God so concerned about a little bit of impurity? Because at the root of all these sins is something sinister: idolatry.
“For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.”
There’s the rub, and yes the truth and nothing but the truth. At the root of these patterns, at the root of a life consumed with sexual immorality, impurity, covetousness, and filthy talk, is idolatry. In that life, God isn’t the object of worship. Who’s worshiped? Not a Buddha or any statue. But SELF, plain and simple. The unstated mantra is “I’m the one I worship, I’m most important, and what I want comes first.” And if that’s the pattern of your life, then you have an idol problem, not to mention a rotten smell permeating the air around you …..
God’s never been casual about idolatry. The second commandment is “NO IDOLS” (Exodus 20:4–6). And the insidious idols of our day aren’t statues but self. Gratifying self instead of pleasing God. And God’s verdict on that life? It stinks!!!
In summary, these verses, Paul describes different shades of perversion. Did you find any of these convicting? Ask yourself, how, do you suspect, your life smells to God? Does your life carry the fragrance of purity or the stench of perversion?
“We need to be less confrontational in our evangelism efforts. We need to avoid offending people. You catch more flies with honey that with vinegar, after all” …..
I’ve heard this a thousand times. Sometimes, a fellow-believer expresses their fear of witnessing because they know that sharing the gospel will offend their family, friends and neighbors and they do not want to be the bad guy. We look for ways to share the saving message of Christ without offending those with whom we share.
I realize that a person’s natural carnal response to the truth that convicts is anger. Even the Apostle Paul said, “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” (Galatians 4:16).
The truth offends most people, especially those who love their sin and are comfortable in a lifestyle that they don’t want to give up, but the Word of God teaches that we should love the truth …. “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” (2 Thessalonians 2:10). I love that little phrase … “the love of the truth”…. but God’s Word goes on to give us the outcome if we refuse to adhere to the truth: “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (vs. 11-12). Wow….”damned” well, there it is, and I’d say God did not stutter but it’s very clear and explicit about what will happen if we do not change our way and get that rotten stench of sin out of our lives.
I have learned that truth often requires months and perhaps even years to work on a person’s heart and mind, until they eventually come to their senses. Evil is prevelant today in our world as we see masses of society falling prey to the lies of Satan. Homosexuality, transgender lifestyles and all these other perversions are rampant and sadly, widely accepted as normal and no one wants to offend anyone because of equality and equal rights and blah…blah…blah….
The truth is the truth, even if no one believes it, and a lie is still a lie even if everyone believes it. Here’s my thoughts on it: the gospel is an offense. If you take the offense out of the gospel, you also remove the saving power of the gospel. So I say offend them! Move them out of their complacency and make it known that the Lord is returning soon. Damned is a strong word indeed, but wouldn’t you rather risk offending them now, than to lose them to eternal damnation with your silence forever? And even more so when it is a loved one that is lost or ensconced in a sinful lifestyle.
Let us pray ~
Father God, I find this passage convicting. Forgive me for any perversion in my life, whether overt or subtle. Your Word shall have all authority in my life. I don’t care what any others should say or think; I want to be a holy person whose life has a pleasing aroma to You. Thank You for calling me Your beloved child and for giving me Your Word for a pattern if purity for my life. In Jesus holy name I pray, Amen.