“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.”
The Christian must be very careful in today’s sexually-charged society. Seductions and temptations are everywhere. Movies, TV, music, social media send a constant message of sexual indulgence. Pornography continues to proliferate.
There are very few voices of wisdom encouraging people to exercise restraint and discipline in their sexual lives.
In the first two verses of Ephesians chapter 5, the apostle admonishes us to “be imitators of God” and “walk in love.” Now he gets specific about what imitating God and walking in love look like. He gives us a list of things that we should not do, with a particular focus on avoiding sexual sin.
- Sexual immorality. This is the Greek word porneia, and it is a broad term describing any kind of sexual sin.
- Impurity, refers to any deviant or “dirty” moral behavior, especially in a sexual sense.
- Covetousness. This is lusting after things that don’t belong to you. In this context, it most likely refers to sexual lust directed toward someone who is not your spouse.
- Filthiness, which has much the same idea as impurity.
- Crude joking, which has the idea of inappropriate, impure sexual humor.
Tragically, our society has rejected God’s standards for sexuality and has embraced an “anything goes” philosophy. Indeed, those who embrace and encourage traditional sexual standards are ridiculed. They are often criticized as people who are driven by some kind of phobia.
The Lord designed sex for a man and a woman in the context of marriage. He gave the gift of sex for three purposes: procreation, pleasure, and relational intimacy. The Lord wants husband and wife to enjoy sexual intercourse, and he wants husbands and wives to enjoy each other.
Scripture is clear about maintaining a right view and practice of sex. To reject God’s standards is foolishness. God’s standards have not changed, and our society has not been made better by the so-called sexual liberation. In the midst of the sexual and cultural confusion, the Voice of Truth speaks clearly to the followers of Jesus:
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God … for God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness.” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5,7)