Isaiah 14-16 Ephesians 5:1-16
“You can be sure of this: No one will have a place in the kingdom of Christ and of God who sins sexually, or does evil things, or is greedy. Anyone who is greedy is serving a false god.” (Ephesians 5:5 NCV)
Paul, who’d earlier reminded us that we’re saved by grace and not by works, then reminded people that how you live as a child in the Kingdom of God is important. It’s not an issue of living right so that God will love you and let you into heaven, though. It’s more like, if God has changed your life, you won’t be involved in these sins. If you are involved in these sins, then you haven’t let God take control of your life and change you or mold you into the kind of person He meant for you to be. If we truly are His workmanship created for His good works, we won’t be involved in sexual immorality, continue to do evil, or be greedy.
It’s probably a revolutionary statement in our world today, but God doesn’t support the new trends in sexual freedom. Throughout the Bible God emphasizes that He planned for sexual expression to be part of the intimacy between one man and one woman for life in marriage. While we see aberrations of that principle, and forgiveness when some of the kings lived contrary to that ideal, especially in the Old Testament, those aberrations never came to good ends. We see many seek to justify aberrations in our day, but all of those justifications are based on the belief that somehow, God made a mistake in developing His plans for the world. While none of the translations I consulted had a good definition for “doing evil things,” I think it’s safe to say that we can tell evil when we see it. If you have to ask whether or not a behavior is evil, you’re too close to the line. And it’s easy to see that greed involves having the ability to help someone financially but withholding that help because you’re too concerned about yourselves. A quick understanding of all of those prohibitions is that a person who thinks so highly of himself that he or she can take advantage of others to gain what they want really isn’t fit for the kingdom of heaven. When God works in us, we seek the good of others. We find ways to meet needs that other people have. If we’re too concerned about ourselves and meeting our needs that we ignore the calls for help from the people around us, we’re no longer living in God’s Kingdom.
Lord, keep changing me and molding me to Your will for my life. Protect me from falling into the sin of self-importance that would keep me from seeing and meeting the needs of people around me.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.