Limited Membership

“For this, we know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” (Eph. 5:5)

Paul is not offering this as a complete list of those not permitted in the kingdom, but it covers a pretty wide range. There is a connection with the previous verse as he uses the terms immoral and impure for the second time. Not only is God not pleased with immoral and impure speech but he is not pleased with that kind of behavior.

The kingdom of Christ and God is reserved for those who have had their sins washed away in the blood of Jesus and taken him as their Lord and savior. We have discussed this process earlier in the book, but it is well to mention it again.

There are two ways to view sin and death. First, you can die as a result of sin and if you do it is a permanent death or separation from God. We sometimes refer to it as hell. Secondly, you can die to sin, and if you do, it is a rebirth into the family of God. This is a big part of Paul’s argument to the Romans. Let me copy it here for us to reread: “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ have been baptized into His death?” (Rom. 6:1-3) Paul says that baptism is a burial into the death of Christ and a resurrection to a new life. It’s the born of water and spirit Jesus talked about.

So the faithful saints in Ephesus were all baptized into the death of Jesus and raised into a new man. This was the sign of their salvation and removed the immorality they had been involved in, and it removed the impurity they were living in and washed them clean in the blood of Jesus. That made them subjects of the kingdom of Christ and God.

One of the requirements of the new birth and salvation in Jesus is faith. Those who are idolaters do not believe God is God. Another requirement is repentance. Those who are selfish and covet the blessings of others have not known true repentance for coveting is a sin.

Task for today: Thank God for his Son’s cleansing blood. If you have been buried with him and risen with him, thank him for your salvation. Thank him for making you clean of immorality and impurity. Thank him that he has given you a generous heart so that you are not coveting anything of this world. Mostly thank him that you are fit for the kingdom and he has let you in to be one of his servants. What an inheritance awaits you.

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