February 7, 2018
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
Little Acceptable Sins – what many Christians allow in their own lives and in the lives of others around them! Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:22 through 24 (and following) concerning the way a believer’s life should be lived out – positive aspects that should be evident, and negatives that must be avoided! Here is the main admonition in verses 22 through 24:
…put off concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows cor-
rupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your
mind, and…put on the new man which was created according to God, in
righteousness and true holiness.
Two natures are mentioned here, with which the Christian must contend, because they war one against the other! (See Galatians 5:16, 17):
• The old man (or sinful nature). Paul calls it the carnal mind in Romans 8:7: “…the carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.”
• The new man. This is the Godly nature implanted within us when we put our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior! (See Ezekiel 36:26, 27; II Corinthians 5:17).
We left off on Monday with Ephesians 5:1 and 2. We jumped ahead to briefly consider Ephesians 5:3 and 4 in Little Acceptable Sins – III. Here is some of that study: In this verse Paul expands on one aspect of “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth…” (Ephesians 4:29): “…neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting…let it not even be named among you….”
• filthiness – “…shamefulness, that is, obscenity…” (Strong’s Greek Dictionary).
• foolish talking – “…silly talk, that is, buffoonery…” (Ibid.)
• coarse jesting – “…well-turned, that is, ready at repartee, jocose…witticism, that is, (in a vulgar sense) ribaldry…” (Ibid.)
But much more is said in Ephesians 5:3 and 4 concerning…
• …godless actions, not just speech! “But fornication and all uncleanness or coveteousness let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints.” (Ephesians 5:3). Three things the apostle mentions:
✞ fornication – the word in Greek is πορνεία (pronounced por-ni’-ah). According to Strong’s Greek Dictionary it means, “…harlotry (including adultery and incest); figuratively idolatry…” It is the same root word from which we get the word pornography. Related words are:
▸ πόρνη (pronounced por’-nay) meaning, “…strumpet…” (Ibid.) and translated as harlot or whore in the KJV.
▸ πόρνος (pronounced por’-nos) meaning, “…a (male) prostitute…that is, (by analogy) a debauchee (libertine)…”(Ibid.) and translated in the KJV as fornicator or whoremonger.
✞ uncleanness – the Greek word is ἀκαθαρσία (pronounced ak-ath-ar-see’-ah) meaning, “…impurity (the quality), physically or morally…” (Ibid.)
✞ coveteousness – the Greek word is πλεονεξία (pronounced pleh-on-ex-ee’-ah) meaning “…avarice, that is, (by implication) fraudulency, extortion…” (Ibid.) It is translated in the KJV as both coveteousness and being greedy.
▸ Coveteousness is dealt with in the tenth of the Ten Commandments: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house…your neighbor’s wife…his manservant…his maidservant…his ox…his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.” (Exodus 20:17). But Paul tells us in Colossians 3:5, “…coveteousness…is idolatry.” So if one covets, he or she not only breaks the tenth of the Ten Commandments, that one also breaks the first: “You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Exodus 20:3). Idolatry is preferencing anything else before God! (See Mark 12:30; also the blog from October 31st, 2014 – The Circular Ten Commandments).
▸ As seen in the definition of fornication above, πορνεία can figuratively mean idolatry. If nothing else, it is certainly putting our sexual desires and lusts before what the Heavenly Father wants for us!
• “…fornication…all uncleanness or coveteousness…neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting …let it not even be named among you….” (Ephesians 5:3, 4). What does it mean that such actions, such speech should not even be named among you? I like what it says about this in Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible:
That is, let it not exist; let there be no occasion for mentioning such a thing
among you; let it be wholly unknown. This cannot mean that it is wrong to
“mention” these vices for the purpose of rebuking them, or cautioning those
in danger of committing them – for Paul himself in this manner mentions
them here, and frequently elsewhere – but that they should not “exist” among
• Such actions and words “…are not fitting…” (Ephesians 5:4) – not proper “…for saints [believers in Christ]…” (Ephesians 5:3).
The alternative to such negative actions and speech is at the end of Ephesians 5:4: “…but rather giving of thanks.” According to Ephesians 5:20 and I Thessalonians 5:18, we are to “…give thanks…in everything…[and] for all thngs….”
• It is verbal thanksgiving and praise to God! (see for example Psalms 69:30 and 100:4).
• It is also as Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback in California, says, we should be “…living life as a thank you gift to God.”
Where are you in all this, dear one? Where does God want you to be?