3But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. 4Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. 5For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7Therefore do not become partners with them; 8for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9(for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Ephesians 5:3-10
Out of place. Incompatible.
When we are walking in the love of Christ Jesus, these actions and pursuits are out of place.
Filthy, foolish, crude speech.
I find it interesting that Paul was already aware of how people are prone to excuse, justify, and accommodate these vices. He warns, “Let no one deceive you with empty words…” In other words, some people will say these are compatible with Jesus. Yet, the Gospel gives us a vision of the crucified Jesus giving himself as a sacrifice for our forgiveness for these very vices (5:1-2). The wrath of God came upon Him so that His followers could walk in this love, truth, and grace. These things are incompatible with our new identity in Christ. We are no longer “sons of disobedience,” but now in Christ we are His “beloved children.”
What to do when I see these in me? Walk in His love. Depend on the Spirit. Move into repentance and belief.
What to do when I see these in fellow Christians with whom I share life? Gently call them to a greater vision of His love, dependence on the Spirit, and movement into repentance and belief.