We’ve been talking about sexual immorality and inappropriate speech for a few Lord’s Days now. Lusts and lewd words, heart and mouth corruptions, things unrighteous and gross, ought not even be named among saints, they are out of place. In Ephesians 5 Paul is talking to Christians, and he says what we should do instead. It has stuck out and stuck with me since the first time I saw it.
But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not eve 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…
What do you expect to finish that line? Let there be repentance. Let there be killing of that sin or putting off of that sin. Let there be holiness. Those are relevant, but not what he says.
And immediately following what he says we should do instead, he reminds us of the identity consequences.
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.
So he repeats the trifecta from verse 3 in verse 5, giving the reason that such sins need to be replaced. And what do we do instead?
Instead let there be thanksgiving. In this passage, the primary weapon in sanctification is thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is not the clearing on the other side of the woods, thanksgiving is the machete that does the clearing. Tempted to treat a sister in Christ impurely? You are not thankful for what the Lord has given you now. Tempted to tell a crude joke? You are not thankful for the good reasons to laugh by God’s grace.