A Scary Statement of Fact…

For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 
Ephesians 5:5 ESV]

This started out with me attempting to cover verses 5, 6, and 7 in my quiet time today but I could only get through the first verse (5).

When Paul begins the next two verses, he primes our ears for a truth that will resonate beyond the present moment. The weighty statements that follow serve as a wake-up call for those who choose to live contrary to God’s design. But it’s not just a warning; it’s an invitation to examine our own lives.

1. The Sexually Immoral: In this verse, Paul uses the term ‘pornos’ to describe the sexually immoral. It’s related to the sexual immorality mentioned in verse 3. According to texts from the book of Revelation, such individuals face the second death and find themselves outside the city of the redeemed. It’s a stark consequence.

2. The Impure: The impure person, known as ‘akathartos,’ is someone whose actions offend God. Contextually, they’re unclean and immoral. Think of unclean spirits or demons—the same term applies (Mark 1:23; Luke 4:36). Their alignment isn’t with God; they’re out of sync.

3. The Covetous or Greedy: Paul’s third call-out is directed at the covetous or greedy (pleonektēs). These folks are like mirrors reflecting verse 3. Their self-focus makes the world revolve around their desires. It’s idolatry in action—honoring the created over the Creator (Rom. 1:21–25). Picture the rich fool from Jesus’ parable in Luke 12:15–21.

Paul’s point is clear: these traits don’t align with the identity and position of believers. In Ephesians 5:6–7, he urges them not to participate in the disobedient ways of the world. We’re meant to stand out—not as mere name-bearers of Christ, but as living vessels of the Spirit. Jesus warned against being the odd person who utters His name but doesn’t truly know Him (Matt. 7:21–23; 25:31–46; Gal. 5:19–21). This verse isn’t about minor slip-ups; it’s about lifestyles oriented away from God. Paul reminds us that the kingdom of God and His Messiah call for a different way of life.

Application:

These verses call us to self-examine…hopefully harshly as there should be no doubt on ‘whose’ we are. I read this and the first thing my mind went to is how much I HATE sin. When I sin – even something in the world’s eyes as meaningless or miniscule, I cringe and feel immediate guilt for my sin that results in proactive changes to limit that sin from happening again. I have dear friends in my life who downplay their sin (even sexually immoral sin). In my humble opinion, this is a person who needs to understand their true standing before the King of kings and Lord of lords. Just as Paul has written here in Ephesians, a person who downplays their sin and does not do everything in their power to eliminate from their lives, is at risk of a disingenuous salvation. What I have found to be true in my own life is that the closer I get to the Lord in my sanctification, the more guilty I feel of sin that to others seems inconsequential…the real deal is that all sin separates us from a Pure, Just, and Holy God. It is our salvation through Jesus that catapults us into a new found love for righteousness and uprightness.

Today’s Psalm:

“O LORD, make me know my end
and what is the measure of my days;
let me know how fleeting I am!
Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths,
and my lifetime is as nothing before you.
Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah

Psalms 39:4-5 [ESV]

Not Even Named Among You…

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]

To those of you who get my ‘Post Email Notifications’, I posted my last two Quiet Times without ‘sending the email’. I didn’t want you to wake up to 3 back-to-back emails. That being said, if you are interested in reading them, they are on the website.

The ‘put off’ and ‘put on’ alternating messages have been pretty prevalent in this letter. Paul now turns to things we should not do. There is a range of vices here, from sexual issues, to morality in general, to greed. The selfishness and self-indulgence of these activities and their destructiveness make them inappropriate for us as saints, those who have been set apart and sanctified to God. These vices are so serious that they should not even be mentioned among them…this is a big deal. Such activity undercuts the credibility of the church. We have in this verse and the next, core vices that have no place among God’s people. This is befitting to the earlier call not to walk as the Gentiles do.

It is not only what we do that hurts us and others, but also what we say. So, certain kinds of language are also not to be named or used among believers. The verb ‘to not let these things be named among them’ is shared with those things spoken against in verse 3. Certain things we do and certain kinds of speech are not to be a part of our Christian Walk. The term for vulgarity (aischrotēs) appears only here in the New Testament. It can describe something that is shameful or foul language since it refers to ‘that which shames’. It is probably a broad term here that covers more than speech, since a specific term for vulgar speech existed and we see it in Colossians 3:8. Foolish talk (mōrologia) describes speech which is worthless, or which makes no sense. It is ‘the language of fools’. The third kind of speech to be avoided also uses a word that appears only here in the New Testament, eutrapelia. It means coarse jesting, humor that is in bad taste, smutty talk. This kind of speech is not fitting for believers and is not to be named among them as it degrades others. Rather, they are to be characterized by thanksgiving, reflecting an appreciation for what God has done for them by grace.

Application:

I was convicted today by this passage. Most specifically the crude humor/joking. I think I ride the razors edge of death on this sometimes. Not totally brazen but too close to the line for me to be convicted about it tonight. I have removed the other 2 from my speech but my joking needs to be cleaned up. Lord God in Heaven, help me see the crudeness of joke I am about to tell and allow Your Holy Spirit to touch my heart so I can decide differently moving forward. Our minds are sick (Jeremias 17:9), and we can’t always keep something from popping in…but we can keep it from popping out.

Today’s Psalm:

​ I said, “I will guard my ways,
that I may not sin with my tongue;
I will guard my mouth with a muzzle,
so long as the wicked are in my presence.”

Psalms 39:1 [ESV]

Serving Others is a Fragrance in the Throne Room…

And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Ephesians 5:2 [ESV]

Tonight, I arrived at our cabin on Herron Island. Bella and I drive down this afternoon as Marianne, Sophie, Prim, and Brooklyn came down yesterday. We have some work ahead of us downstairs as we work to remodel the basement to be Marianne and I’s new bedroom with on suite. Marianne and I took a walk tonight and there was the most beautiful sunset. This is such a little place of refuge!

Just down to the water from our cabin. Such a wonderful spot!

Yesterday was about imitating God and I talked how tall of an order that is but Paul helps us see how we do this here in the following verse. We are to walk forward in love, reminding ourselves of where we have come from.

…God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8 [ESV]

To love is to give. So, living a life that looks to what others need and works to meet them is the call for the believer’s walk. God accepted what Jesus accomplished in his death for us. We are the beneficiaries of that work when we grasp what that death means for our forgiveness. It gives us our identity in Christ that is secured by the surety of Jesus’ death.

This pursuit to serve others ‘in love’ is what Paul tells us is a sweet fragrance to the Lord. Paul says that Jesus’ meeting of our need of Salvation is sweet fragrance in the throne room and so when we serve others sacrificially, that is also a fragrance.

Application:

Notice I said “in love” above when referring to serving others. Doing this service in love is paramount. 1 Corinthians is very clear about this. So, in order for that service to others to be a fragrance in the throne room, it must be born of a true love for those I am serving.

…if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

1 Corinthians 13:2-3 [ESV]

Imitate God…

​Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children.  
Ephesians 5:1 [ESV]

I feel like my write up on this passage is going to sound like a broken record. I think I have had no less than 4 previous quiet times just in the past year that talks about what I am about to say. However, God speaks to me this way a lot…through repetition.

In order to imitate God, we have to know Him. How do we know Him? We deepen our relationship with Him in prayer and through His Holy Spirit. We also dive into His Word and stay there, day after day. I like how Paul references children. One thing you can depend on when it comes to little ones, is that they are like little ‘repeaters’ of their parents. I think this is what Paul is referring to here. Like little kiddos of our dad, the Father God, we should look after Him and His character and be like Him in every way that we can. Like Father, like son or daughter.

This follows Paul’s own example to imitate God and he asks us to look at what he does in following Christ, and replicate it.

Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

1 Corinthians 11:1 [ESV]

What I love about God’s Word is that it is supportive front to back. In Leviticus 19:2, it says, “Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them, you shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.”. So, we have support for this idea of imitating God all through the Bible. I could reference about 4 other places where imitating God is call out.

Our adoption as God’s kids happens as we embrace his work and receive the Spirit.

Application:

As it seems that the Lord continues to bring this before me in my quiet times, I must heed and think through whether I am truly applying this to my life. If I am being honest, imitating God seems like such a huge challenge…I mean He is God, the perfectly just God who created everything we know and see. What I like about these translations is that the word “imitate” is appropriate. No imitation is perfectly the copy of the source. In fact, it takes practice to get better and better at mimicking what I see in God’s Word as representation of His character and actions.

Today’s Psalm:

There is no soundness in my flesh
because of your indignation;
there is no health in my bones
because of my sin.
For my iniquities have gone over my head;
like a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me.

Psalms 38:3-4 [ESV]

It Starts at Home…

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Ephesians 4:32 [ESV]

Here we are at the final verse of chapter 4. What an awesome conclusion it is. So simple and straightforward after having ‘put away’ all of the other things yesterday.

Be Kind: Just do it. Kindness is not just a fruit of the spirit, it is a command here in Ephesians in the context of church unity.

Be Tenderhearted: We are to be compassionate and empathetic to one another in terms of struggle, patience, perseverance, and trials. We walk alongside one another in life and our Life Groups at Canyon Hills is where we see this put into action the most.

…and now the big one -> Be Forgiving: Paul adds in the reinforcement of “as God in Christ forgave you”. Here again we have the aspect of being in Christ and it is because of what He has done that we have forgiveness of our sins. The cross is the great equalizer; we have no excuse and no status in where we are because we are all deserving of the wrath from God for our sin. But God, in His great mercy rescued us from eternal punishment. We should be *very* quick to forgive others.

Application:

All of these things are indicative of a life surrendered to Jesus. When I am in this place where Jesus envelops all that I am, I will tend to be more and more like Him. Kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving. What is embarrassing is that I am sitting here thinking about how I aspire to be a light and witness at work, and I have more wins than I have losses….but thinking about home, I am at best 50/50 and at worst more losses than wins. That is pitiful. My application today is to immediately put verse 32 into practice every moment of the day, most importantly when I am at home…quick to be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving.

Today’s Psalm:

The salvation of the righteous is from the LORD;
he is their stronghold in the time of trouble.
The LORD helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him.

Psalms 37:39-40

These Things No More…

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
Ephesians 4:31 [ESV]

This chapter has taken me so much time…and I love it! I can’t get through more than one verse a day! So much here!

All of the exhortations about what to ‘put away from us’ are all the things that create factions, divisions, and dissention, which all eat away at our pursuit of unity in the church. There are 3 different words used for ‘anger’ between verse 26 and 31.

  • orgizō ; to make angry
  • parorgismos ; irritation or provocation of
  • orgē ; impulse, wrath

It dawned on me that the bible as translated into English, needs to be studied. It took me doing the word study to see these different Greek words for ‘anger’ help me understand the difference in the ‘sometimes righteous’ anger, and anger that must be ‘put away’. Refer back to my post on that topic. The word for ‘anger’ in this verse (31) is orgē which means the impulsive outburst or uncontrolled anger. These distinctions are so important.

Malice refers to ‘all wickedness’. ‘Put away’ is a personal action that Paul is calling us to; a direct command to set these things in a permanent (other) place, not to return.

Application:

I think there is so much here that is tied to ‘speaking the gospel to myself’, ‘crucifying my sin’, and ‘walking in a manner…’ that we are called to daily. I must have an active putting away of all wickedness and be sure that my heart is full of the love of Christ so it is not prone to bitterness, wrath, anger, slander, and clamor. The Psalm for today below is supportive of the point of putting to death these wicked and ungodly things. Let them be no more.

Today’s Psalm:

I have seen a wicked, ruthless man,
spreading himself like a green laurel tree.
But he passed away, and behold, he was no more;
though I sought him, he could not be found.

Psalms 37:35-36

Stop All Conduct Unbecoming…

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
Ephesians 4:30 [ESV]

Today we start the last 3 capstone verses of Chapter 4. This verse is one of the most heartfelt verses in the bible regarding our behavior and conduct as Christians. Grieving the Holy Spirit is a serious thing to consider. This note by Paul is harkening back to Ephesians chapter 1.

In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

Ephesians 1:13-14[ESV]

When we think of this in context of our salvation, we see that grieving the Holy Spirit is a disrespect of the price Christ paid for our sin; saving us from a death and eternity in hell we deserve. BUT GOD in His grace, mercy, and love has saved us and sealed our destiny in Heaven by His Holy Spirit. I have used this before, so I apologize if it is repetitive, but it fits well here. Imagine your daily life, the things you do when you are in normal execution mode in this world. Are there things that you do that if the trumpet blew, and Jesus came through the clouds to receive us for the rapture, that you would be embarrassed by what you were doing as your eyes catch His?…It is you that He went to the cross for. It is you that He has interceded for in the throne room of heaven. This thought haunts me. I would never want my Savior to return only to find me doing something He has so clearly instructed me not to do in His word.

Application:

I never want to be doing something in my redeemed life that would dishonor or be found unbecoming of a follower of Jesus Christ. Lord help me by the work of the Holy Spirit to see when I am on the precipice of making a decision like this so I can, in all clarity of heart and mind, chose You and Your glory to honor, rather than my pride or fleshly desires.

Today’s Psalm:

Wait for the LORD and keep his way,
and he will exalt you to inherit the land;
you will look on when the wicked are cut off.

Psalms 37:34 [ESV]

Speech is a Gift and it has Power…

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
Ephesians 4:29 [ESV]

Speech can tear people down and it can build people up. Paul is saying that not only can it build people up but it can also be beneficial. The term sapros (unwholesome, corrupting) means putrid, rancid, or rotten, decaying. There are references to this same word in Matthew 12:33 and 13:48. The “Let no…” of this verse is a present imperative that points to stopping and not allowing to continue. This is what might be referred to as speech that has a seriously foul smell (a stench). It is that kind of speech that when you hear it said by someone toward another person, makes you cringe, and it may even induce laughter in the sheer audacity of the words. We are all capable of this kind of speech and I think that Paul is very close to saying that it is EVIL.

This kind of speech is the heartless tearing down of a person by belittling or shoving in the cutting dagger of words and then twisting and pulling up to induce the most pain and damage possible. A worldly example of this is ‘roasting’. This is something Paul is exhorting us not to participate in… conversely, he is saying to use the gift of speech we have been given to build people up and encourage them.

This verse and the one before it (do not steal but give in generosity) kind of go hand in hand. They are both geared towards the edification and strengthening of others in our biblical community.

Application:

I am literally pausing here on the couch tonight reflecting on the most recent memories of whether I have done this or not. What I am arriving at is ‘maybe’. With my closest friends and family, I known for a dry humor style. I am trying to come up with an example, but I am just not pulling one from my brain at the moment. However, its not really the point. I need to be careful — that dry style can lead to joking around that is not necessarily demeaning, but also not uplifting. I need to be more careful with risking a tearing down potential in the pursuit of laughter and ‘making a funny’. I do try and offer encouragement every chance I get but even here I could do better. I pray that the Holy Spirit would give me a heart of discernment in seeing people and situations where my brothers and sisters in Christ need a good building up word that inspires them to do more.

Today’s Psalm:

The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom,
and his tongue speaks justice.
The law of his God is in his heart;
his steps do not slip.

Psalms 37:30-31 [ESV]

Thief to Philanthropist…

Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.
Ephesians 4:28 [ESV]

This was a shorter quiet time but still important and the Lord had some alignment to show me in regard to verse 25 and that quiet time.

This verse feels like it is ‘no duh’ as it is one of the 10 commandments. But we need to remember the context in which Paul is writing -> support for the unity of the church in biblical community. No life of falsehoods. don’t let your anger linger, and now ‘don’t steal’, yet work for wages and have open hands with what you earn.

I was reading this and thinking about why Paul was talking about thievery to the church in Ephesus. The only real thing I could come up with is that it is possible that the Christians in Ephesus were stealing from the Romans. The Jewish people in the days of Jesus Christ had issues with the Roman government, and they thought that the evil Roman empire was unjustly stealing from them by overtaxing, and so some of the Jews tried to get away with not paying taxes – others—like the Jewish Zealots—sometimes tried to steal back from the Romans. This might be the kind of activity Paul was referring to.

Paul just got done talking about not giving satan a foothold, where right here satan is not to be blamed because the hearts of the Ephesians had been hardened to not see that even stealing from evil Roman empire is….still stealing and is sin that is not aligned to a pure and holy God. Paul did not want anything to come in between the Ephesians having both an amazing fruitful relationship with God and in turn, with each other. Conversely, Paul was saying, make an honest living and then be generous with what you earn. There were many in the church that poor and this was almost killing two birds with one stone – Stop sinning and support the biblical community.

Application:

Lord God in Heaven, please convict my spirit if there is anything I am doing in my daily life that could be considered “Robinhood Stealing” (taking something I believe I have earned, deserve, or believe I am taking back because it was first taken from me…like taxes). Help me to see the places that I can be open handed with what you have given me through wages, that I would live a life and model generosity for my children.

Today’s Psalm:

Turn away from evil and do good;
so shall you dwell forever.
For the LORD loves justice;
he will not forsake his saints.
They are preserved forever,
but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.
The righteous shall inherit the land
and dwell upon it forever.

Psalms 37:27-29 [ESV]

Anger Dealt with Quickly…

Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger and give no opportunity to the devil.
Ephesians 4:26-27 [ESV]

in these two verses we take a short departure from the ‘do not do this but do that’ pattern of the section. Instead, we have a ‘do it this way’ exhortation. Paul is telling us that there is an anger that is not sinful but to let it simmer is. There are some that say that this covers a lot of types of sin but I don’t think so. When you look at the Greek words used for ‘anger’ and ‘angry’ in this text, you get orgizō (enraged) and parorgismos (provocation) respectively. When Paul is saying ‘Be angry’, he is referring to being enraged, but the provocation word makes this the kind of anger where you are provoked to an angry response. Like when the bible says that “God is angered by sin”. However, anger for anger’s sake is never right, but a righteous anger might be justified.

Simmering anger, even when justified, hurts us and even marginalizes our health. When anger simmers the devil gets an opportunity to divide and conquer. In Matthew 5, Jesus urges that if someone has something against a brother, it is to be dealt with before bringing an offering to worship God. Part of the check on justified anger is to not let it linger. The explanation is seen in the next command to not allow the sun to go down on one’s anger, which is a metaphor for not letting that reaction hang around. The present tense tied to the exhortation ‘do not let the sun set’ means that this is to always be our response. Anger may come, even for good cause, but it is not to hang around like a cloud over relationships.

When anger hangs around, opportunity comes to the devil. This has to be avoided. No place is to be given to him; the devil should not be allowed to stir the pot. The devil should be given no place at the table of relationships in the community. This whole line of thinking points to the larger context of the drive toward unity in biblical community.

Application:

First and foremost, I should not be looking for opportunities of righteous anger. That is not the point of the passage. Paul is saying that as humans made in God’s image there will points in my life where the initial response of anger is not sinful, but if I stew and ponder, it will become resentment and bitterness which is a key foothold for satan to have chink in my armor in which to insert a fiery dart. Additionally, I must have a heart like the Lord’s which is slow to anger (James 1:20). I must be careful in the justification of my anger as I have a tendency to lean in the feeling of ‘rights driven’ frustration and anger which when the provocation is something that incites anger that is birthed from pride, this is when there is a REAL danger.

Today’s Psalm:

The wicked borrows but does not pay back,
but the righteous is generous and gives;
for those blessed by the LORD shall inherit the land,
but those cursed by him shall be cut off.

Psalms 37:21-22 [ESV]