Let No One Deceive You
It’s easy to be deceived. One reason is that we think we can’t be deceived, which then leads to the very attitude of arrogance which makes us ripe for deception. But an even greater reason for succumbing to deception is our own sinful nature. The deception of easy forgiveness if we indulge in a little sin, that we can continue in sinful habits with impunity, that God will be forever gracious no matter how many times we mock Him—these deceptions wreak havoc on Christians either in the form of robbing them of the joy of their salvation as they are ever in the throes of conviction, or worse, leading them slowly down the pathway to hell as people fooled into thinking they were saved when their lives proved otherwise. And the worst deceivers of all are oftentimes our brothers and sisters in Christ. Oh, they mean well. But we are experts at dispensing cheap grace: “You’re only human,” “We are all sinners,” “God forgives,” and a host of other pious platitudes that clear the record of wrong before the disease was ever allowed to come under the divine Physician’s examination, much less His scalpel. In other words, our brothers and sisters are guilty of short-circuiting the process of repentance and healing. Be sure of this: Conviction of sin is NOT the sign of a Christian; a life of growing in godliness and thereby producing the fruits of the Spirit is.
So the Apostle returns to his list of sins. I say that this is a good thing because we need specificity. He is not saying that these are the only ones that will damn you, but that these are the most ubiquitous and universal among people from time immemorial. No one practicing sexual immorality (a catch-all for any sexual activity outside a married man and woman), uncleanness (a broader term including sexual immorality along with the secret gratification of lustful passion, clinging to impure thoughts, or looking at that which should not be seen), and covetousness (which includes the former but also anything else we desire indicating our dissatisfaction with the bounty God has given us) are especially dangerous. Indeed, covetousness is idolatry as we idolize that which we do not have. Paul further lists sins of the tongue: filthy, foolish, and crude joking are completely out of place. The Christian gives his tongue to thanksgiving. Indeed, Paul goes as far as to say that these things must not even be named among us, so shameful are they. Christians not only do not commit such sins; they refuse to even mention them! And then comes the boom (to paraphrase): No one who does these things has any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and God. Do not be deceived, indeed! Levity is a dangerous thing. We take sin lightly at our peril. God will not be mocked (Galatians 6:7). Do not be deceived.