Be Not Deceived. Paul continues Ephesians 5 with a laundry list of vile sins which, unfortunately, even invade the lives of professing Christians.
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.
Ephesians 5:3-7, NKJV
Paul continues Ephesians 5 with a laundry list of vile sins which, unfortunately, even invade the lives of professing Christians. Rather than delve into each sin, however, let us look at the conclusion Paul made in verses 6 and 7.
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 be partakers with them.
The real difficulty we face is our proneness to compare ourselves with one another. It is quite easy to excuse what we perceive as small sins in light of the great sins we see manifested in people we meet each day. And, if that is not enough, we certainly can see the really bad people parading before us on television.
What happens, however, when we compare ourselves with God, Himself? Now, all of our excuses fall away. Even the small sins appear as giants before the righteousness of a perfect and holy God. Remember, Paul is writing this letter of Ephesians to the church. He is addressing fellow believers. It is to Christians that Paul is saying, "Be not deceived!" Do we think that God will somehow overlook our small sins when He sees the much greater sins of the people of the world?
No! To profess to believe in Christ and yet to comfortably live in the sins of our culture is to not actually believe in Christ at all. Salvation is not a band aid or a free ticket to heaven. Salvation is a complete change in our hearts and lives. Though we struggle with the temptations of sins, and often fall prey to their influence, our heart's desire is to live a holy life before God.
How do we do that? Truthfully, we cannot! However, by the grace of God, as we seek to love and serve Him, He gives us the ability to live that holy life. When we fail, we go before Him asking forgiveness and seeking help to live in a manner that is pleasing to Him.
As believers, then, let us take our eyes off this world and fix our eyes upon the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the One who has saved us, He is the One who keeps us, and He is the One who will bring us safely into His kingdom to live with Him forever.
Helen Lemmel beautifully illustrated this in the lyrics of the song she wrote in 1922, "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus."
Go today in the strength and power of the Lord, and by His grace, let us be not deceived, but, rather, turn our eyes upon the Lord Jesus Christ, rather than on the things of this world.