Retreating from sin
Scripture: Ephesians 5:3-20
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In the first two verses of this chapter we were called upon to seek to resemble God as much as in us lay. In the verses 3 to 20, we are called upon to retreat from impurity and uncleanness. There is always the negative as well as the positive aspects of holiness.
We will divide these verses up into a number of sections. We will commence with verses 3-4 and consider
Behaviour that becometh chastity.
How contrary to the ways and will of the world ought the Christian to be. That being so we must find ourselves ever battling against the ways of the world. The Christian life is a battle fought out in an alien environment. A sense of peace and well-being can only be enjoyed as we withdraw from the company and influence of this world. As a farmer would leave his labours in the field and seek the shelter of his home in a time of storm so it is with the child of God amidst the storms of sin that rage all around us. “And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.” Isaiah 32:2. “For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.” Psalms 61:3.
Paul specifically deals with that which must be abhorred.
I. NOTE THE SPECIFICS OF SIN DETAILED.
He names seven sins. “Fornication, uncleanness, covetousness, filthiness, foolish talking, jesting.” Six is the number of the world in Holy Scripture and there is a comprehending of the desires of the world this list. It encompasses the full gamut of wickedness, 1 John 2:16.
1. Fornication. This sin headed the list. This is refers to unchaste behaviour between two unmarried persons. This was common amongst the heathen nations and in Corinth in particular and counted no sin. It is a common thing today and shows us to what we have been reduced in this land. There was a danger to those just delivered from heathendom that they might not hold the right view of this wickedness.
2. Uncleanness. This refers to immorality generally. It may be committed by evil thoughts, Matt 5:28, 2 Peter 2:14. By evil speech. “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.” Colossians 3:8.
3. Covetousness. Some may find it strange that such a sin is listed here. We view this as a minor matter. But as a flickering match is to a forest fire so is covetousness to raging greed and immorality. 2 Tim 3:3; Titus 1:7; 1 Pet 5:2; Eph 4:19. David — 2 Sam 11:1-2.
Having condemned gross practices, Paul now turns the sins of speech. It is not just sinful deeds but sinful words that are forbidden.