Oh Father, I just lost everything I had typed.
I don't know what You want me to do, but lead the way and I will follow.
I just don't want people to think I got broadsided again, away from this Ephesians study. I want them to know and understand it has been because You have been calling me, and many of Your children, into a closer, more intimiate relationship with You. From the time I wake up, till the time I fall back asleep, my heart and my thoughts have been with You. With a single minded focus that I have exerted many times in my life in earthly ways, I have set my sites on You...this desperate need in my heart has had been pursuing a closeness with Your heart. I don't know how to put this into words, so I'll just let You unfold it in Your time.
3. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;
Calvin writes, "But fornication. This chapter, and the third of the Epistle to the Colossians, contain many parallel passages, which an intelligent reader will be at no loss to compare without my assistance. Three things are here enumerated, which the apostle desires Christians to hold in such abhorrence, that they shall not even be named, or, in other words, shall be entirely unknown among them. By uncleanness he means all base and impure lusts; so that this word differs from fornication, only as the whole class differs from a single department. The third is covetousness, which is nothing more than an immoderate desire of gain. To this precept he adds the authoritative declaration, that he demands nothing from them but that which becometh saints, — manifestly excluding from the number and fellowship of the saints all fornicators, and impure and covetous persons."
Clarke comments, "But fornication] It is probable that the three terms used here by the apostle refer to different species of the same thing. The word fornication, porneia, may imply not only fornication but adultery also, as it frequently does; uncleanness, akaqarsia may refer to all abominable and unnatural lusts-sodomy, bestiality, &c., and covetousness, pleonexia, to excessive indulgence in that which, moderately used, is lawful. As the covetous man never has enough of wealth, so the pleasure-taker and the libertine never have enough of the gratifications of sense, the appetite increasing in proportion to its indulgence. If, however, simple covetousness, i.e. the love of gain, be here intended, it shows from the connection in which it stands, (for it is linked with fornication, adultery, and all uncleanness,) how degrading it is to the soul of man, and how abominable it is in the eye of God. In other places it is ranked with idolatry, for the man who has an inordinate love of gain makes money his god.
Let it not be once named] Let no such things ever exist among you, for ye are called to be saints."
Henry writes, "These verses contain a caution against all manner of uncleanness, with proper remedies and arguments proposed: some further cautions are added, and other duties recommended. Filthy lusts must be suppressed, in order to the supporting of holy love. Walk in love, and shun fornication and all uncleanness. Fornication is folly committed between unmarried persons. All uncleanness includes all other sorts of filthy lusts, which were too common among the Gentiles. Or covetousness, which being thus connected, and mentioned as a thing which should not be once named, some understand it, in the chaste style of the scripture, of unnatural lust; while others take it in the more common sense, for an immoderate desire of gain or an insatiable love of riches, which is spiritual adultery; for by this the soul, which was espoused to God, goes astray from him, and embraces the bosom of a stranger, and therefore carnal worldlings are called adulterers: You adulterers and adulteresses, know you not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Now these sins must be dreaded and detested in the highest degree: Let it not be once named among you, never in a way of approbation nor without abhorrence, as becometh saints, holy persons, who are separated from the world, and dedicated unto God."
4. Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient; but rather giving of thanks.
Calvin shares, "Neither filthiness. To those three — other three are now added. By filthiness I understand all that is indecent or inconsistent with the modesty of the godly. By foolish talking I understand conversations that are either unprofitably or wickedly foolish; and as it frequently happens that idle talk is concealed under the garb of jesting or wit, he expressly mentions pleasantry, — which is so agreeable as to seem worthy of commendation, — and condemns it as a part of foolish talking The Greek word εὐτραπελία is often used by heathen writers, in a good sense, for that ready and ingenious pleasantry in which able and intelligent men may properly indulge. But as it is exceedingly difficult to be witty without becoming satirical, and as jesting itself carries in it a portion of conceit not at all in keeping with the character of a godly man, Paul very properly dissuades from this practice. Of all the three offenses now mentioned, Paul declares that they are not convenient, or, in other words, that they are inconsistent with Christian duty.
But rather grace. Others render it giving of thanks; but I prefer Jerome’s interpretation. With the vices which had been formerly mentioned it was proper that Paul should contrast something of a general character, displaying itself in all our communications with each other. If he had said, “While they take pleasure in idle or abusive talk, do you give thanks to God,” the exhortation would have been too limited. The Greek word, εὐχαριστία, though it usually signifies Thanksgiving, admits of being translated Grace. “All our conversations ought to be, in the true sense of the words, sweet and graceful; and this end will be gained if the useful and the agreeable are properly mingled.”
Clarke comments, "Neither filthiness] aiscrothv? Any thing base or vile in words or acts.
Foolish talking] mwrologia? Scurrility, buffoonery, ridicule, or what tends to expose another to contempt.
Nor jesting] eutrapelia? Artfully turned discourses or words, from eu, well or easily, and trepw, I turn; words that can be easily turned to other meanings; double entendres; chaste words which, from their connection, and the manner in which they are used, convey an obscene or offensive meaning. It also means jests, puns, witty sayings, and mountebank repartees of all kinds.
Which are not convenient] ouk anhkonta? They do not come up to the proper standard; they are utterly improper in themselves, and highly unbecoming in those who profess Christianity.
But rather giving of thanks.] eucaristia? Decent and edifying discourse or thanksgiving to God. Prayer or praise is the most suitable language for man; and he who is of a trifling, light disposition, is ill fitted for either. How can a man, who has been talking foolishly or jestingly in company, go in private to magnify God for the use of his tongue which he has abused, or his rational faculties which he has degraded?"
Henry writes, "The apostle not only cautions against the gross acts of sin, but against what some may be apt to make light of, and think to be excusable. Neither filthiness (v. 4), by which may be understood all wanton and unseemly gestures and behaviour; nor foolish talking, obscene and lewd discourse, or, more generally, such vain discourse as betrays much folly and indiscretion, and is far from edifying the hearers; nor jesting. The Greek word eutrapelia is the same which Aristotle, in his Ethics, makes a virtue: pleasantness of conversation. And there is no doubt an innocent and inoffensive jesting, which we cannot suppose the apostle here forbids. Some understand him of such scurrilous and abusive reflections as tend to expose others and to make them appear ridiculous. This is bad enough: but the context seems to restrain it to such pleasantry of discourse as is filthy and obscene, which he may also design by that corrupt, or putrid and rotten, communication that he speaks of, ch. iv. 29. Of these things he says, They are not convenient. Indeed there is more than inconvenience, even a great deal of mischief, in them. They are so far from being profitable that they pollute and poison the hearers. But the meaning is, Those things do not become Christians, and are very unsuitable to their profession and character. Christians are allowed to be cheerful and pleasant; but they must be merry and wise. The apostle adds, But rather giving of thanks: so far let the Christian's way of mirth be from that of obscene and profane wit, that he may delight his mind, and make himself cheerful, by a grateful remembrance of God's goodness and mercy to him, and by blessing and praising him on account of these. Note, 1. We should take all occasions to render thanksgivings and praises to God for his kindness and favours to us. 2. A reflection on the grace and goodness of God to us, with a design to excite our thankfulness to him, is proper to refresh and delight the Christian's mind, and to make him cheerful. Dr. Hammond thinks that eucharistia may signify gracious, pious, religious discourse in general, by way of opposition to what the apostle condemns. Our cheerfulness, instead of breaking out into what is vain and sinful, and a profanation of God's name, should express itself as becomes Christians, and in what may tend to his glory. If men abounded more in good and pious expressions, they would not be so apt to utter ill and unbecoming words; for shall blessing and cursing, lewdness and thanksgivings, proceed out of the same mouth?"
5. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
Calvin writes, "For this ye know. If his readers were at all captivated by the allurements of those vices which have been enumerated, the consequence would be that they would lend a hesitating or careless ear to his admonitions. He determines, therefore, to alarm them by this weighty and dreadful threatening, that such vices shut against us the kingdom of God. By appealing to their own knowledge, he intimates that this was no doubtful matter. Some might think it harsh, or inconsistent with the Divine goodness, that all who have incurred the guilt of fornication or covetousness are excluded from the inheritance of the kingdom of heaven. But the answer is easy. Paul does not say that those who have fallen into those sins, and recovered from them, are not pardoned, but pronounces sentence on the sins themselves. After addressing the Corinthians in the same language, he adds:
“And such were some of you; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
(1 Corinthians 6:11.)
When men have repented, and thus give evidence that they are reconciled to God, they are no longer the same persons that they formerly were. But let all fornicators, or unclean or covetous persons, so long as they continue such, be assured that they have no friendship with God, and are deprived of all hope of salvation. It is called the kingdom of Christ and of God, because God hath given it to his Son that we may obtain it through him.
Nor covetous man, who is an idolater. “Covetousness,” as he says in another place, “is idolatry,” (Colossians 3:5,) — not the idolatry which is so frequently condemned in Scripture, but one of a different description. All covetous men must deny God, and put wealth in his place; such is their blind greediness of wretched gain. But why does Paul attribute to covetousness alone what belongs equally to other carnal passions? In what respect is covetousness better entitled to this disgraceful name than ambition, or than a vain confidence in ourselves? I answer, that this disease is widely spread, and not a few minds have caught the infection. Nay, it is not reckoned a disease, but receives, on the contrary, very general commendation. This accounts for the harshness of Paul’s language, which arose from a desire to tear from our hearts the false view."
Clarke writes, "For this ye know] Ye must be convinced of the dangerous and ruinous tendency of such a spirit and conduct, when ye know that persons of this character can never inherit the kingdom of God. See on ver. 3; and see the observations on the Greek article at the end of this epistle."
Henry shares, " I. To fortify us against the sins of uncleanness, &c., the apostle urges several arguments, and prescribes several remedies, in what follows,
1. He urges several arguments, As, (1.) Consider that these are sins which shut persons out of heaven: For this you know, &c., v. 5. They knew it, being informed of it by the Christian religion. By a covetous man some understand a lewd lascivious libertine, who indulges himself in those vile lusts which were accounted the certain marks of a heathen and an idolater. Others understand it in the common acceptation of the word; and such a man is an idolater because there is spiritual idolatry in the love of this world. As the epicure makes a god of his belly, so the covetous man makes a god of his money, sets those affectations upon it, and places that hope, confidence, and delight, in worldly good, which should be reserved for God only. He serves mammon instead of God. Of these persons it is said that they have no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God; that is, the kingdom of Christ, who is God, or the kingdom which is God's by nature, and Christ's as he is Mediator, the kingdom which Christ has purchased and which God bestows. Heaven is here described as a kingdom (as frequently elsewhere) with respect to its eminency and glory, its fulness and sufficiency, &c. In this kingdom the saints and servants of God have an inheritance; for it is the inheritance of the saints in light. But those who are impenitent, and allow themselves either in the lusts of the flesh or the love of the world, are not Christians indeed, and so belong not to the kingdom of grace, nor shall they ever come to the kingdom of glory. Let us then be excited to be on our guard against those sins which would exclude and shut us out of heaven."
6. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.
Calvin writes, "Let no man deceive you. There have always been ungodly dogs, by whom the threatenings of the prophets were made the subject of merriment and ridicule. We find such characters in our own day. In all ages, indeed, Satan raises up sorcerers of this description, who endeavor by unholy scoffs to escape the Divine judgment, and who actually exercise a kind of fascination over consciences not sufficiently established in the fear of God. “This is a trivial fault. Fornication is viewed by God as a light matter. Under the law of grace God is not so cruel. He has not formed us so as to be our own executioners. The frailty of nature excuses us.” These and similar expressions are often used by the scoffers. Paul, on the contrary, exclaims that we must guard against that sophistry by which consciences are ensnared to their ruin.
For because of these things cometh the wrath of God. If we consider the present tense to be here used, agreeably to the Hebrew idiom, for the future, these words are a threatening of the last judgment. But I agree with those who take the word cometh in an indefinite sense, — the word of God usually cometh, — as reminding them of the ordinary judgments of God which were executed before their own eyes. And certainly, if we were not blind and slothful, there are sufficiently numerous examples by which God testifies that he is the just avenger of such crimes, — examples of the pouring out of divine indignation, privately against individuals, and publicly against cities, and kings, and nations.
Upon the children of disobedience, — upon unbelievers or rebels. This expression must not be overlooked. Paul is now addressing believers, and his object is not so much to present alarming views of their own danger, as to rouse them to behold reflected in wicked men, as in mirrors, the dreadful judgments of God. God does not make himself an object of terror to his children, that they may avoid him, but does all that can be done in a fatherly manner, to draw them to himself. They ought to learn this lesson, not to involve themselves in a dangerous fellowship with the ungodly, whose ruin is thus foreseen."
Clarke comments, "Let no man deceive you] Suffer no man to persuade you that any of these things are innocent, or that they are unavoidable frailties of human nature; they are all sins and abominations in the sight of God; those who practice them are children of disobedience; and on account of such practices the wrath of God - Divine punishment, must come upon them."
Henry states, "(2.) These sins bring the wrath of God upon those who are guilty of them: "Let no man deceive you with vain words, &c., v. 6. Let none flatter you, as though such things were tolerable and to be allowed of in Christians, or as though they were not very provoking and offensive unto God, or as though you might indulge yourselves in them and yet escape with impunity. These are vain words." Observe, Those who flatter themselves and others with hopes of impunity in sin do but put a cheat upon themselves and others. Thus Satan deceived our first parents with vain words when he said to them, You shall not surely die. They are vain words indeed; for those who trust to them will find themselves wretchedly imposed upon, for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. By children of disobedience may be meant the Gentiles, who disbelieved, and refused to comply with, and to submit themselves to, the gospel: or, more generally, all obstinate sinners, who will not be reclaimed, but are given over to disobedience. Disobedience is the very malignity of sin. And it is by a usual Hebraism that such sinners are called children of disobedience; and such indeed they are from their childhood, going astray as soon as they are born. The wrath of God comes upon such because of their sins; sometimes in this world, but more especially in the next."
"7. Be not ye therefore partakers with them.
Calvin has no commentary on this verse.
Clarke writes, "Be not ye therefore partakers with them] Do not act as your fellow citizens do; nor suffer their philosophy, to it in vain words, kenoiv logoiv, with empty and illusive doctrines, to lead you astray from the path of truth.
That there was much need for such directions and cautions to the people of Ephesus has been often remarked. It appears, from Athenaeus, that these people were addicted to luxury, effeminacy &c. He tells us that the famous Aspasia, who was herself of the Socratic sect, brought a vast number of beautiful women into Greece, and by their means filled the country with prostitutes, kai eplhqunen apo twn tauthv etairidwn h ellav, lib. xiii. cap. 25. Ibid. cap. 31, he observes that the Ephesians had dedicated temples etaira afrodith, to the prostitute Venus; and again, cap. 32, he quotes from Demosthenes, in Orat. contra Neaeram: tas men etairav hdonhv eneka ecomen, tav de pallakav thv kaqÆ hmeran pallakeiav, tav de gunaikav tou paidopoieisqai gnhsiev, kai twn endon fulaka fisthn ecein? "We have whores for our pleasure, harlots for daily use, and wives for the procreation of legitimate children, and for the faithful preservation of our property." Through the whole of this 13th book of Athenaeus the reader will see the most melancholy proofs of the most abominable practices among the Greeks, and the high estimation in which public prostitutes were held; the greatest lawgivers and the wisest philosophers among the Greeks supported this system both by their authority and example. Is it not in reference to their teaching and laws that the apostle says: Let no man deceive you with vain words?"
Henry writes, "And dare we make light of that which will lay us under the wrath of God? O no. Be not you therefore partakers with them, v. 7. "Do not partake with them in their sins, that you may not share in their punishment." We partake with other men in their sins, not only when we live in the same sinful manner that they do, and consent and comply with their temptations and solicitations to sin, but when we encourage them in their sins, prompt them to sin, and do not prevent and hinder them, as far as it may be in our power to do so."
All my life I've heard similar 'do's and don'ts' in the church. Don't do this, don't do that...it's skerry trying to rush around trying to not do these things and in many instances, I still found myself in the middle of doing that which I shouldn't. It was nothing more than wasted energy expended on my part because too many times I still found myself in the bottom of that pit. In the past this was always skerry to me because all I could see and hear was "don't do THIS or God's judgement will fall upon you" and there I would find myself in the middle of doing that which I knew was displeasing to You. Over the years, I got very weary and quit trying because I was never one of those people who could do what they said You wanted us to do.
However, what I'm beginning to see and experience these days is that as I crave to be closer to You and draw more into Your presence, 2 things are happening. The first thing is that I am desiring to do less, those things that I used to be able to do without having my conscience pricked. I'm learning that there is no way that I can be in Your presence, experiencing that first and foremost that You really do love me, and not only be aware of these things that You do not want in my life, but I'm finding that I don't want them either. I don't know how to write this out very well Father, so You're going to hafta help me. The more You reveal that this relationship isn't about "do's and don'ts, consequences and rewards", but that this relationship is about getting to know You, looking at You as more a Godly Father figure instead of just God on the throne of judgement, I find myself wanting to please You...I find my heart breaking when I consciously do something wrong because I know it hurts You that I have been rebellious. Because I am Your child, and because You love me as my Heavenly Father, Your heart breaks when my sins destroy the good things in my life. So, as I push to be closer to You, and the more sensitive I am becoming to these sinful things earlier...before they've entrenched themselves in my life and are outta control. I guess I'm trying to say that drawing closer to You is helping me to have the wisdom, the clarity, the strength, the conviction to nip them in the bud before they take ROOT. As Your glory settles over my heart, and You are illuminating these things in my heart, You create a desire in me to partner with you to eradicate them. You guide me and teach me how to guard against them gaining entrance into my heart where I want only You to reside.
The enemy is so sneaky and blinds us so easily. We allow so many things in the home of our heart unknowingly...and then before we know it, we fall flat on our face, or at least I do and have. I don't have any answers but all I know is that as each day goes by, and as Your Spirit grows inside my heart, I just can't handle anything coming between You and me. How many times as You've brought these issues to mind, have I had to make a decision. How many times have I closed my eyes, taken a deep breath and jumped into Your arms blindly, crying out, "I want You more...more than this or that". It's been skerry at times Father, and I don't know how to explain to others what has been happening, but something real and living is going on inside me...something that is born of You.
Oh Father, I can't explain it, You're just going to hafta touch others hearts, open their eyes that they might see, open their ears that they might hear, and zap their hearts with a starvation that is spiritually birthed. All I know is that is what You've done to me and it's rocked my world and I am so grateful.
In Jesus Name,
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Posted 14 March 2008 - 01:16 PM
"One day, we’re going to stand before the gates of Heaven. Some of us want to be able to walk up there in a white robe and we want to sing Abba Father and Amazing Grace and we want to say to the Lord, “I worshiped You.” But I want you to think about this: Heres the way I want to enter the gates of Heaven. I want to come skidding in there on all fours. I want to be slipping and sliding and I want to hit the gates of heaven with a bang. And when I stand up and I stand before Christ, I want there to be blood on my knees and my elbows. I want to be covered with mud. And I want to be standing there with a ragged breast plate of righteousness. And a spear in my hand. And I want to say, “Look at me, Jesus. I’ve been in the battle. I’ve been fighting for you.” Ladies and gentlemen, put your armor on and get into battle. God bless you." ~ General William G. Boykin, U.S. Army (ret.)
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