Ephesians 5:3
But among you, as is proper among the saints, there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed.
Covetousness Decried and Yet PractisedHarris.Ephesians 5:3
Evil of CovetousnessC. H. Spurgeon.Ephesians 5:3
Forbidden SinsT. Manton, D. D.Ephesians 5:3
Sinful Lusts Must be AbhorredC. H. Spurgeon.Ephesians 5:3
The Sin of ImpurityLe Jeune.Ephesians 5:3
What to Imitate and to AvoidR. Finlayson Ephesians 5:1-14
The Love and the Wrath of God Enforcing MoralityR.M. Edgar Ephesians 5:1-16
Warning Against CovetousnessT. Croskery Ephesians 5:3-5
Warnings Against Impurity of All KindsT. Croskery Ephesians 5:3-5
Covetousness Amongst the Worst of Human CrimesD. Thomas Ephesians 5:3-7

The sins here described were common among the heathen, and received no adequate check from their moral guides. Indeed, the old pagan world regarded them as things indifferent. They are, for the most part, sins against ourselves, as the sins condemned in the previous verses are sins against our neighbors. They are to be condemned on many grounds.


II. THEY ARE DISHONOURING TO GOD AND HIS HOLINESS. The corruption that is in the world through lust is inconsistent with the Divine nature (2 Peter 1:4).

III. THEY THWART THE DESIGN OF THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST, which is "to purify a people to himself" (Titus 2:14); "to cleanse us from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit" (2 Corinthians 7:1). Jesus suffered in the flesh that we should die to the flesh (1 Peter 4:1).

IV. THEY GRIEVE THE HOLY SPIRIT, whose office is to sanctify us (Ephesians 4:29, 30). "That pure and holy dove will not dwell in a cage of unclean and filthy birds."

V. THEY DISHONOUR THE BODY, which is the temple of the Holy Ghost (1 Corinthians 6:18). They waste it as well as dishonor it (Proverbs 5:11).

VI. THEY WAR AGAINST THE SOUL in every sense of the term - against its life, its aspirations, its happiness (1 Peter 2:11). They even darken the judgment and the understanding (Hosea 4:11). No sort of sin so hardens the heart.

VII. THEY PROVOKE GOD'S AUGER. (Colossians 3:5, 6; Jeremiah 5:7; Ephesians 5:6.) "For the wrath of God cometh upon the children of disobedience." They subject transgressors to God's judgment, for "whoremongers and adulterers God wilt judge "(Hebrews 13:4). And they keep them out of heaven (1 Corinthians 6:9; ver. 5). These sins of impurity are not even to be named among saints, who are to be pure in thought, pure in heart, pure in speech, pure in life. "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof" (Romans 6:12). To this end we must:

1. Avoid all the occasions that prompt to impurity:

(1) idleness (Ezekiel 16:49);

(2) evil company (Proverbs 7:25); and

(3) all other sins (Proverbs 1:25).

2. Make a covenant with our eyes (Job 31:1).

3. Watch over our thoughts (Malachi 2:16).

4. Delight in God's Word (Proverbs 2:10, 16).

5. Continue in prayer (Psalm 119:37). - T.C.

But fornication, and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints.
Consider the hatefulness of this sin.


1. This sin, however loathsome in the sight of God and of human nature transformed by His grace, is nevertheless most seductive to the lower fallen nature of man. As a check to it, God has implanted in us the noble sense of shame, so that the Christian, who has not returned like a dog to his vomit, abhors whatever is unchaste.(1) Thoughts. How deeply ashamed you would be if your fellow men could perceive your impure thoughts and desires, though they be involuntary! Happy is he who, when merely thoughts cross his mind, listens to the warning voice of nature.(2) Words. St. Stanislaus fainted at hearing, by chance, an expression of ambiguous meaning. Even ordinary virtue will blush in confusion at the gibes of immodesty; only habitual shamelessness will laugh at them.(3) Deeds. Is not the whole nature set in an uproar? Who is so base as to commit impure actions before witnesses? Yet, when you are alone, the All-knowing God, and the holy angels, witness your deeds.

2. It is repugnant to the higher nature of man. Man — the image and likeness of the Triune God — by his impurity reviles

(1)God the Father, who created our limbs in honour;

(2)God the Son, whose members we are;

(3)God the Holy Ghost, of whom our body is the temple.

3. It is an abomination before God.


1. Ruin of earthly happiness. Lewdness works destruction

(1)on the body;

(2)on temporal welfare.

2. Ruin of the soul.

(1)The reasoning faculty is weakened.

(2)The will becomes perverted.

(3)Conversion becomes almost impossible.

3. Eternal damnation.

(1)Reflect on the loss of everlasting joys, where nothing defiled can enter.

(2)Reflect on the torments of hell. Sodom and Gomorrah are set for a warning example. The unchaste are threatened with "their portion in the lake burning with fire and brimstone."

(Le Jeune.)

I. To fix the sense. First: The manner and degree of forbidding — "Let it not be once named among you." You will think this over-strict; and how can it be reproved if it be not named? But let us consider the sense.

1. The apostle speaketh thus to express the height of detestation; for things that we utterly detest we will not name. "Never let these foul practices get the least admission among you."

2. Some sins are more catching than others; the very mention of them may revive and stir the motions of them in an unmortified heart. And uncleanness and fornication are of this nature, because they tend immediately to please the flesh; other sins more remotely.

3. There is a naming of these things which is very sinful, and that two ways.(1) When it is done in such a brood and coarse way, or nasty language, as doth invite rather than rebuke sin.(2) When we seek to palliate foul deeds with handsome and plausible names, and so speak of these things with allowance and extenuation, and not with extreme detestation.Secondly, the reason — "As it becometh saints"; that is, Christians or believers; all of them are saints, or should be saints.

1. Some are so only by external dedication and profession; as by baptism they are set apart for God as a clean and holy people.

2. Others are saints by internal regeneration, as sanctified and renewed by the Holy Ghost (Titus 3:5). Now these things are contrary to the disposition and spirit of saints, or to the holy, new, and Divine nature which is put into them.

II. What purity and cleanness of heart belongeth to Christians. In the Scripture they are everywhere described by it, "With the pure thou wilt show thyself pure '" (Psalm 18:18); "Ye are clean through the word which I have spoken to you" (John 15:3); "Surely God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart" (Psalm 73:1); "Separate yourselves from the unclean thing, and I will receive you" (2 Corinthians 6:17); and in other places. Let us see what obligations lie upon us to be clean and pure.

1. We are consecrated to the service of a holy God.

2. We profess the most holy faith; this obligeth us also, whether we took to the laws of God, which are the rule of our duty, or the promises of God, which are the charter of our hopes.

3. Because of our present communion with God and service of God.

III. The special impurity that is in such sins, so that holiness must be forsaken, or else these vices so opposite to holiness. What special impurity is there in those sins?

1. They defile the body, and are contrary to the dignity of the body, as it is a member of Christ, a temple of the Holy Ghost, or an instrument to be used for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 6:18).

2. Uncleanness corrupts and defileth the mind; for it turneth it from the true pleasure to the false, and that procured on the basest terms of downright sin against God.What need we have to work in Christians a greater abhorrence of fornication and uncleanness, because it is a common sin and a grievous sin.

1. It is a common sin; and then it is time to cry aloud and spare not, when persons, both single and married, make so little conscience of this duty.

2. It is a grievous sin. We will endeavour to touch them in the tenderest part that is left, viz., fear. "Whoremongers and adulterers God will judge" (Hebrews 13:4). Men think it a small matter to satisfy nature, but God will find them out both here and hereafter. There fell in one day twenty-three thousand for this sin (1 Corinthians 10:8). It unfitteth for every holy duty. Holy and sacred things never can be seriously received by sensual minds and hearts. Caution to young men that are not yet taken in the snare. Keep yourselves at a great distance from and great abhorrence of this sin. Therefore, first, avoid occasions (Proverbs 5:8). Advice to all Christians. Upon all occasions, think what will become saints. Let the consciousness of your dedication to God be ever upon your heart.

(T. Manton, D. D.)

When Venice was in the hands of the Austrians, those alien tyrants swarmed in every quarter; but the Venetians hated them to the last degree, and showed their enmity upon all occasions. When the Austrian officers sat down at any of the tables in the square of St. Mark, where the Venetians delight on summer evenings to eat their ices and drink their coffee, the company would immediately rise and retire, showing by their withdrawal that they abhorred their oppressors. After this fashion will every true Christian treat his inbred sins; he will not be happy under their power, nor tolerate their dominion, nor show them favour. If he cannot expel them, he will not indulge them.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Beware of growing covetousness; for, of all sins, this is one of the most insidious. It is like the silting up of a river. As the stream comes down from the land, it brings with it sand and earth, and deposits all these at its mouth; so that by degrees, unless the conservators watch it carefully, it will block itself up, and leave no channel for ships of great burden. By daily deposit, it imperceptibly creates a bar which is dangerous to navigation. Many a man when he begins to accumulate wealth, commences at the same moment to ruin his soul; and the more he acquires, the more closely he blocks up his liberality, which is, so to speak, the very mouth of spiritual life. Instead of doing more for God he does less; the more he saves, the more he wants; and the more he wants of this world, the less he cares for the world to come.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

About the time that the Apostle Paul was denouncing the sin (of covetousness) in his Epistle to Timothy, Seneca was decrying the same evil, and composed his Ethics; but, as if to show the impotence of his own precepts, "he was accused of having amassed the most ample riches" — a circumstance which, though not the ostensible, was no doubt the real, cause of his finally falling a victim to the jealousy of Nero.


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