“But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.[a] 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7 Therefore do not be partners with them.” Ephesians 5.3-7
It’s impossible to read Paul’s words and have any doubt about our purity and behavior. That is, if you read Scripture through a traditional/orthodox lens. If you read it through the lens of Hollywood then sexual immortality doesn’t exist. Anything goes. Even in some of our “churches,” the poison of the world and the schemes of the devil have snuck in. No longer does purity mean purity. Now it means whatever you want it to mean. And if this is the case, morality has no boundaries.
But Paul is clear — there must be “not even a hint of sexual immorality.” Not a hint, not a bit, nothing whatever. 1 Peter 1.16 reminds us just as God is holy, so must we be holy in everything we do. If we are holy in most things, being set a part and like God, but in a few things we are unholy, impure, lustful or greedy — then the whole batch is ruined. Over dinner there was just a hint of green infection in the very expensive steaks we were going to cook, but we had to throw them out because the whole steak was bad.
Yet Paul doesn’t just stop with sexual immorality, but he also includes impurity, greed, obscenity, foolish talk, and coarse joking. This list is much more comprehensive and it really busts us all at one time or another. But this is the goal for which we are to strive. Because we want, as Paul refers to — an “inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and of God.” On our own ability we are sinners, hopeless and lost — but our purity comes through Christ through whom we have been washed and made clean. As a reminder, Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 6.11, “And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
The goal is to be like Christ. Christ was like God, pure and holy. Therefore, we must be like God. On our own, we are a wreck, but with Christ, we have a hope of redemption. Being saved by his blood, we can become the righteousness of Christ (2 Cor. 5.21).
So this day, make a pledge to be pure and holy in word and deed. Let the truth of Christ dwell richly within you so that you might be in Christ and that he might be in you.
“O Lord God, you are good. Thank you for the blessing of sanctification. It is your work, and not our own. You have given us a helper, the Holy Spirit, to fill us with your love. Come now, Lord and God, be my hope and my grace. Help me find my significance and holiness in you. I trust you and love you this day. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen