TODAY’S READING: Ephesians 5:3-7
“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. 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.” EPH 5:3-7
For any church, one of the most heart-breaking things that can happen is to see a brother or sister who was on fire for God slowly allow the things of the world to draw them away from following Jesus. Over the years, we have sadly seen this happen many times. Like so many destructive things in life, these things creep up in small, daily decisions rather than dramatic gestures.
In Ephesus, Paul addresses the external attack of Gnosticism but also faces into an even more dangerous attack from inside the church. There were those in the Church who perverted the doctrine of grace. This perversion, which still exists in the church today, argues that it doesn’t matter what I do because the grace of God has already covered all our sin. Sounds good doesn’t it? This is why it is so dangerous!
In Romans chapter six, Paul addresses an extension of this argument. In a rhetorical conversation, he repeats the reasoning that if grace wipes out sin then surely the more sins I commit, the greater the flow of God’s amazing grace. It’s rather like saying the more times I break my arms, the more opportunity I have to experience the incredible skill and care of the NHS! Absolute madness.
Instead, the letter to the Ephesians makes clear that grace is not only a privilege and a gift but a responsibility and an obligation for any follower of Jesus. It is 100% true that God’s love through Jesus’ sacrifice can and will forgive us, but the existence of such costly love leaves us with a duty to deserve that love to the best of our ability.
The worst possible thing we can do is allow anyone to think lightly of the full horror of sin. Paul begged the church, “there must not be even a hint of...any kind of impurity…let no one deceive you with empty words”.
• Read Ephesians 5:1-8
• Come before the Lord and give thanks for the cross. Bring your life to God afresh and meditate for a moment on our sinfulness and the incredible power and gift of grace in Christ Jesus.
• Write down the areas of sin highlighted in this passage. Where are you most vulnerable? What one thing can you do to double the guard?