A note from our pastor:
“But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;”Ephesians 5:3
Good Morning Dearly Beloved,
I believe the Apostle is teaching a lesson on two different levels starting with Ephesians 5:3 and continuing through Ephesians 5:5. On one level, the Apostle was providing natural instruction for how a disciple should live in the world around them. On a second level, the Apostle was teaching the disciple how to conduct themselves spiritually within the church.
First, the instructions given in this verse point to the natural sins disciples should avoid in daily living. The Apostle first points out fornication, which was common among the Gentiles in their day and is common in society today, then a more vague reference to all uncleanness, and finally covetousness. All of these sins are ones which feed the natural desires but distract from the spiritual life. Furthermore, these actions leave one with emotional stress and discontentment.
It is arresting to note covetousness is included with fornication. The Apostle ranked the covetous man at the same level as the idolator. Is this the view modern disciples take of covetousness? I dare say it is not for several reasons, one of them being it is so pervasive as to cause one to have to convict themself in order to stand against it.
In the history of western, especially American, “Christianity” seeing these sins as purely natural and physical has been common and comfortable. However, I believe the Apostle was also giving a spiritual warning. The first of those warnings being to avoid spiritual fornication. In other words, being unfaithful with your love for the Lord. If one week you are in church and fully professing your love for the Lord and the next two weeks you miss church to engage in your favorite activity and profess your love for it then you are being unfaithful with your love. This fornication is going to impact your discipleship.
Second, the warning is to avoid all uncleanness. There has been an acceptance recently among disciples of Christ of the most crass and vile of people so long as they thinly claim to believe and support other “Christians”. The Apostles warning here is to avoid those who live an unclean lifestyle no matter their claimed belief. The message is the walk must match the words, the actions must back the claims, and the faith must be evidenced by the love shown.
Finally, the Apostle warns the disciple to avoid covetousness. The truth of Jesus Christ and the method of worship in the church are ultimately based in simplicity. When the disciple of Christ begins to look at others’ worship, seeing the worldly things they have brought in, and coveting those things the focus on Christ is lost. This is not to say the church should not maintain itself. Some level of comfort and maintenance is vital to evangelism in the western world. But the focus should never be such that it diverts away from worshipping in simplicity.
Let us strive to walk as saints, seeking to follow Christ.
Our Prayers are with you daily,