“But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints” (Ephesians 5:3 (ESV)
Believers in Christ are to be imitators of God (Ephesians 5:1-2). Patterning our lives after God’s character is to impact all areas of life and living (Ephesians 4:1-32). The Apostle Paul continues to explain what this pattern of life is like.
There are behaviors that must not even be named among you (ὀνομάζω; onomazo). This means that there are behaviors that are never to be associated with a believer. Only what is proper (πρέπω; prepo) or fitting is to characterize a saint’s lifestyle. Paul continues to explain what a proper lifestyle is for the Christian.
There is to be no sexual immorality (πορνεία; proneia) in the Christian’s life. There is to be no engagement into what God identifies as illicit sex. This is known as fornication. It includes sexual sin of a general kind, that includes many different behaviors (Matt. 5:32; 15:19; 19:9; Mark 7:21; John 8:41; Acts 15:20; 1 Cor. 6:18; 7:2; 2 Cor. 12:21; Gal. 5:19; Eph. 5:3; 1 Thess. 4:3).
There is to be no impurity (ἀκαθαρσία; akatharsia) in the Christian’s life. This refers to moral filth. It is another word for sexual impurity (Rom. 1:24; 6:19; 2 Cor. 12:21; Gal. 5:19; Eph. 4:19; 5:3; Col. 3:5; 4:7).
There is to be no covetousness (πλεονεξία; pleonexia) in the Christian’s life. This is greed and avarice. It is wanting more than what one possesses. It is wanting what someone else possesses.
This emphasis on proper sexuality in marriage between a man and a woman was a striking condemnation of the Ephesian culture. Ephesus was filled with all manner of sexual immorality dedicated to the worship of the goddess Diana.
Dr. John MacArthur writes, “In absolute contrast to God’s holiness and love, such sins as these exist (also in v. 5), by which Satan seeks to destroy God’s divine work in his children and turn them as far away as possible from his image and will. As do many other Scriptures, this verse shows the close connection between sexual sin and other forms of impurity and greed. An immoral person is inevitably greedy. Such sins are so godless that the world should never have reason even to suspect their presence in Christians.”
Repent and forsake any hint of sexual immorality, impurity and covetousness in your life. Do so today. Do so every day.
Soli deo Gloria!