God’s Holy People (Part 1) – Gospel in Life

God’s Holy People (Part 1)

Tim Keller |  May 5, 1991

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  • Sin
  • Christian Living and Obedience
Ephesians 5:3-6
RS 215-14


This passage explores both the “negative” parts (the prohibitions or warnings) and the “positive” parts (the blessings, love, and acceptance through Christ) of Christianity. To only embrace the “negative” is to be legalistic; to only embrace the “positive” is to be permissive — a true Christian faith must have both.

Ephesians 5:3–7

Ephesians 5:3-7 tells us that it’s important to stay away from wrong actions like sexual sins, impurity, greed, and crude talk. It cautions that those who engage in such behaviors won’t be part of God’s kingdom. At the same time, it reminds us to admit our mistakes and sins, knowing that Jesus has already paid for them. The scripture emphasizes the good and bad sides of Christianity, and the personal effort needed to overcome bad habits and face our difficulties.

1. Covetousness

The Bible sees sexual sins and loving money too much as similar, making no clear difference between personal and social wrongs, or between public and private actions. Prophets like Amos equally criticize sins, comparing selling the poor to make money with sexual sins. The Bible challenges the common belief that we can separate our moral duties, showing that greed can appear as living within your budget or putting money before people, with jealousy and financial stress as its signs.

2. Obscenity, foolish talking, and coarse joking

Being a Christian affects all parts of our life, including how we talk and joke. We should use words that are thoughtful, wise, and encouraging, and our humor should come from humility and respect for God. Being thankful is really important, helping to create a happy and lively conversation that shows what the Christian life is all about.

3. Sexual immorality

The Bible’s teachings about sex have deep historical and religious meanings, emphasizing that sex is a gift from God meant to be enjoyed within a committed relationship. It’s crucial to understand that sex isn’t bad, but rather a biblical symbol of the relationship between God and people. Any misuse of it, like sex outside marriage and adultery, misses the total commitment that sex is supposed to represent. The gospel’s aim is to lead us towards a good life, encouraging us to aim for the goodness that God wants for us and to understand our part in His kingdom.



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