The Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Ephesians 5:3-6

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.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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