In our study today, Paul is still focusing on the practical for how a child of God should be living as imitators of God and not the lost world around them.
Verse 1: Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. Paul continues to be practical. The word followers means to be imitators. In other words, we are to be imitators of God as dear children. Just as a child would imitate their earthly fathers, so we should imitate our heavenly Father.
Verse 2: And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Notice that the believer is to walk in the love that Christ had for us. Just think about what it means to love with that kind of love. He went to the cross for us. He was wrongly accused for us. As such, he is to be out standard and not those around us. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 10:12, For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
The rest of the verse demonstrates how much Christ loved us in that he gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. We are to walk in that same love. Again, that is a tall order for sure.
Verse 3: But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Now he lists sins that should not be named among believers. The first is fornication. This could also be translated as immorality which includes all sexual sin. There are five that are mentioned in the Scriptures. These include adultery, fornication, bestiality, incest, and homosexuality. Uncleanness speaks of any kind of impurity, and Covetousness speaks to holding on to or desiring more, or just plain old greed. None of these things should be named among them as becometh saints. Becometh can be translated as fitting or proper.
As proper among the saints could be a reference to the believing Jews as we have discussed before. If so, it means that believers should not do the above listed things just as Law abiding Jews do not do them. Of course, they motivation is the keeping of the Law, and ours should be just because we are told not to.
Verse 4: Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. Filthiness means obscene which speaks of the portrayal or description of sexual matters. Foolish talking speaks of silly talk or buffoonery. Jesting speaks of turning words in a negative sense or twisting them in a vulgar sense. We call it innuendo today and it is very prevalent in our society. Finally, not convenient means appropriate. In other words, instead of doing the afore mentioned things, we should be giving thanks. Albert Barnes puts in this way, “Instead of filthiness, foolish talk, and jesting, we should be using that time in the service of God.”
Verse 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. Paul seems to be making a reference to verse 3 and just reiterating the fact that believers should not be involved in sexual immorality, impurity, and covetousness. Also, he appears to be making a comparison with believing Jews who were under the Law and those believers who were not. He doesn’t appear to be questioning their salvation, just their behavior.
Verse 6-7: Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. This verse seems to be targeted at someone specifically that was spreading this stuff. Paul had dealt with this issue of how to deal with troublemakers before in Romans 16:17-18, “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.”; Titus 3:10-11, “A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; 11 Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself,”; and in 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15, And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.”