But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.
(Ephesians 5:3-4 ESV)
Yesterday we read that God wants His children to love like He loves – sacrificially. We learned that love is not an emotion nor does love seek to satisfy self. Love is selfless. To that end, Paul explains some behaviors that should not be a part of a believer’s life because they are self-serving and therefore do not exhibit love.
The practices Paul discusses today are related to sex. It seems that the Ephesians, like us, mistake lust for love. Love is an expression for someone else’s well being. Lust is an desire to satisfy self.
Paul’s comments would have resonated with the Ephesians. As we learned in our introduction, the Temple of Diana (Artemis) stood in Ephesus. Diana was, among other things, a fertility goddess and over time religious prostitution became a common practice on the grounds of her temple. But such behavior, or any sexual behavior outside of God’s boundaries (a heterosexual married male and female), is not fitting for a saint (on the word saint, see this post).
Practices such as sexual immorality (in Greek: πορνεια (pronounced: por-ni’-ah), a general term for all sexual sin), impurity, greed (in a sexual sense) fall into this category. In fact, such things shouldn’t be discussed (named). We all know how powerful sexual thoughts and words are. Just the slightest thought can be tempting and can lead to sin. God knows this. So He tells us to not even discuss sex in an inappropriate context otherwise we, or someone we are talking to, might fall into sin.
Likewise, any filthiness, foolish talk, or crude joking are out of place for those who are God’s children. In the original Greek the context of these words imply sexual humor, vulgar comments, double-entendre, etc. When we joke about a topic we degrade it. God considers sex to be a venerable topic and disapproves of talk that would reduce its importance.
God invented sex and, used appropriately, it is not sin or dirty. In fact, the very first command God gave Adam & Eve was “go have sex!” [Genesis 1:28]. Note that Adam & Even had already been married at this point [Genesis 2:22].
Rather than living a life that attempts to find meaning and satisfaction in sex, God commands us to instead fill ourselves with thanksgiving. When we are thankful for what God has given us, we can live in a way that serves others because we know our needs are being / will be met.
Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.