Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For 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. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them. – Ephesians 5:1-7
Clinton Arnold writes:
Although Christians are not called to isolate themselves from the world, they are called to live differently that their non-Christian friends and acquaintances. Throughout this letter, Paul never advocates an escapism, but he repeatedly commends a countercultural lifestyle. Christians need to be with non-Christians (especially for the sake of mission), but they simply cannot live like them, especially when it comes to matters such as sexual standards, attitudes toward money, and the way non-Christians joke, tell stories, and engage in verbal innuendo. Paul warns these believers, “do not be fellow sharers with them” (5:7). This kind of behavior is inconsistent with their new identity as light.
Paul also warns that there are some believers who will attempt to justify their inappropriate behavior and seek to persuade fellow Christians to join in with them. This is likely what stands behind Paul’s admonition, “Let no one deceive you with empty words” (5:6)
Unfortunately, the moral practices of Christians today sometimes tend to mirror the inappropriate behaviors of the prevailing non-Christian culture. While it is important for Christians to identify with unbelievers as a means of reaching them with the good news of redemption in Christ, we need to be cautious of allowing their impure practices to influence our own behavior. God calls us to be different from the world. This inevitably means that we will sometimes make unbelievers feel uncomfortable because we decline to join them in their practices. Yet God specifically and directly calls us to the higher standard of living our lives in ways that reflect His purity and holiness.
MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 11
Q. 11. What are God’s works of providence?
A. God’s works of providence are his most holy, wise and powerful preserving and governing all his creatures, and all their actions.