No Names

“But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints;” (Eph. 5:3)

Faithful saints have a standard of proper behavior. There are three things mentioned here that can’t be a part of that standard. People who imitate God and Christ and walk in love have to maintain a certain level of decorum. Walking in love, you see, modifies behavior.

I’m sure Paul did not intend to imply that these were the only things that shouldn’t be named among the Ephesians. Maybe he meant for immorality and impurity to cover a long list of things. Just immorality alone would provide us with a long, long list of improprieties.

The question of immorality is a little tricky because society often determines what is and what isn’t immorality. We may think that if it is acceptable to society then it is acceptable to God but that is not necessarily the case. In fact, it isn’t the case at all. God sets the standards of moral behavior. He and he alone has the right to determine what is acceptable and isn’t.

Instead of asking if my neighbors approve I should be asking if God approves. Often society will ignore what God says because it wants to create its own code of conduct. Society may decide a thing is pure when God will declare it an impurity.

The only way to avoid having immorality or impurity among the saints is for the saints to go to God and ask him about the thing in question. Society accepts men and women living together without a marriage contract. What does God say? Society says it’s alright to lie if it’s in your or someone’s best interest. What does God say about lying? If you have a question about the morality or purity of a thing or action the place to find the answer is not on the internet or a popular magazine. The place to look is in the Bible.

Love of money is the root of all kinds of evil we are told in the Bible. Greed is the love of money, and that’s why it shouldn’t be named among saints. God tells us that we can’t love two things, money and him. The greedy are none God lovers according to that understanding. Faithful saints are to be generous. They are to give to others cheerfully. They are to love God and mankind more than they do money or the things money can buy.

Paul tells the church, don’t let people call you names like liar, thief, adulterer, pervert, selfish, greedy, and so forth.

Task for today: Do a moral inventory. Check what you think is okay with what God says is okay. Do a purity inventory. Check what you believe is pure religion with what God says is pure religion and living. Do a money inventory. Check what you think about “your” money compared with what God says about treasure on earth.

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