All who repent of their sins and receive for themselves the redeeming work of the Lord Jesus Christ, "die" for themselves and are "born" again by the Holy Spirit of God. So God reveals his love, so great as to forgive all their sins and to give them a new life that is eternal (and therefore will never taken from them).
If we are among them, God declares that we are His "children" (Romans 8:14 -17 etc.) and, as such, should be His imitators forgiving each other just as he forgave us. In our natural life, we have a natural resemblance to our parents and so we are recognised as being their children. In the spiritual life we must also imitate our heavenly Father and demonstrate that we are "beloved children" worthy of His paternity, forgiving each other as He forgave us, and walking in love.
To walk in love means to be subject and helpful to each other. Our perfect example, Jesus Christ the son of God, surprisingly loved us while we were sinners, to the point of giving His righteous and spotless life in our place on Calvary. This was the proof of His love. His gift was "an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma". An "offering" is something that is given to God, and the "sacrifice" this time included the additional element of death.
The Lord Jesus was the true "burnt offering", having dedicated his life entirely to do the will of God, until the death by crucifixion. His extreme sacrifice of devotion is described as having a "sweet-smelling aroma". The commentator B. Meyer exclaims: "In love so measureless, so reckless of cost, for those who were naturally so unworthy of it, there was a spectacle which filled heaven with fragrance and God's heart with joy.”
Similarly we can bring joy to God in the highly honourable position of His children, dedicating ourselves with love to one another and also nursing a righteous and integral character, again according to the example of Jesus Christ.
First it is necessary to purify ourselves and move away from all impurities with which the world in which we live is contaminated. Verses 3 to 13 of Ephesians 5 provide us with a list of things because of which “the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience" and in which the sons of God must not participate. They are sins of sexual order and the severe instruction given is to depart from them completely, “let them not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints".
These are the following:
Sexual immorality - also translated as “fornication”, is a translation of the Greek word "porneia" from which comes the word "pornography": it includes prostitution, adultery, incest, and in the Old Testament it is a figure of idolatry.
Impurity -Also involves immoral acts, but in a broader sense, such as frames or obscene books and other suggestive things that accompany indecent lives and encourage immorality.
Greed – also translated as “covetousness”, similar to the tenth commandment of the Law of Moses, comes from the Greek word "pleonexia" that includes avarice, fraudulence, extortion, greediness, and also extends to desires of a sensual or sexual kind outside of marriage.
With the frightening decline of morality in the world in which we live, these sins have left the category of illegality in which they were a few decades ago and are now considered to be of little importance, or even part of the normal behaviour of the current civilization and are promoted without censorship by the media, from newspapers and magazines to the cinema, television and the internet. Let us be careful not to be tempted into them, because before God and being His children, they should not even be mentioned among us. Remember what the Lord Jesus said: "but I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her, has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:28).
It is clear that this type of sin should never have to be mentioned as something committed by believers, children of God, because they are characteristics of the children of disobedience (see Genesis 6:2). They should not even be discussed in a manner which decreases their sinful and shameful character. There is always the even greater danger of treating these things lightly, seeking to excuse the detractors or even to discuss them trite and continually, therefore they are not suitable for saints.
“Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving” (Ephesians 5: 4 NIV), because believers were separated from the corruption that is in the world, as much in works as in words.
The speech of the believer must therefore be free of all traces of:
Obscenity: All forms of depravity and indecency, including gestures, wording or exclamations, and gutter language.
Foolish talk: To boast of practicing or of having practiced such things, because it is a silly idiocy and has no merit.
Coarse joking: Jokes or conversations that make immorality seem like something common, frivolous and humorous.
Such speech reduces the negative impact of immorality on the mind of anyone who listens. It is not suitable even for the son of God to think about these things, because he may be tempted to approach them and eventually fall into their practice. It is always dangerous to joke about sin. Instead of using his tongue to speak in an unbecoming and unseemly manner well, the Christian must deliberately cultivate the practice of giving thanks to God for all the blessings and mercies in his life. This is pleasing to the Lord, a good example to others and is also beneficial to his own soul.
The text does not leave any room for doubts as to the attitude of God toward those who practise immorality: they have no inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and of God. This exclusion is in sharp contrast with the current attitude of the world, who think that sex offenders are only sick and in need of psychiatric treatment. What the world calls a disease God calls sin. What men think they can cure with psycho-analysis God declares can only be remedied through a complete regeneration. What the world tolerates God condemns.
Three kinds of wrongdoers are identified as having no inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and of God, so cannot be His children: the immoral, the impure and the covetous, who is an idolater. The covetous is an idolater because he imagines that God might approve his sensual lust, he puts his own will above the will of God and virtually worships the creature instead of the creator (Romans 1:25).
People whose lives are characterized by these sins are lost and in the path of eternal perdition. It is not a case of simple loss of reward at the judgment seat of Christ, but they have never been saved, even those that profess being converted. They can still be saved through repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus. But the children of God do not practise these sins.
It is alarming to see how the world is becoming more and more tolerant of these things and how many churches are allowing themselves to be contaminated by sexual immorality, including its aberrations that are so condemned in the Scriptures. It is no wonder that the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience. We can see an example of the wrath of God on fornication and adultery when twenty-four thousand Israelites were killed because they sinned with women of Moab (Numbers 25:1-9) and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:24,28).
The punishment of God is also evidenced in other ways: venereal diseases are multiplying, and the virus commonly known as AIDS emerged a few decades ago as a result of homosexuality and promiscuity, and spread throughout the world, bringing a large wave of suffering and deaths. There are more and more mental, nervous and emotional disorders arising from a sense of guilt. There are changes in personality and the deterioration of habits and customs descends in wide steps (Romans 1:26 -32).
But the children of God must walk as "children of light" in contrast with those which produce such "fruitless deeds of darkness". Away from these harmful things, having the Lord and His word to guide them in all things, they must always seek the will of their Father so as to then manifest themselves the characteristics of God: goodness, righteousness and truth. To please God they should avoid (but rather expose) those who practice the unfruitful works of darkness. They will then be wise, walking prudently.
1. Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.
2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.
3 But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints;
4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.
5 For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.
7 Therefore do not be partakers with them.
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light
9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth),
10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.
11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.
12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.
13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.
Paul's letter to the Ephesians chapter 5, verses 1 to 13