Learning to Live for Others
Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people.
Ephesians 5:1-3 NLT Read More
In this section, Paul is going to give some specific examples of what the new life looks like. It doesn’t come by default. Many times it takes intention to change from the old way of life that we lived when we were separated from a relationship with God. My son can play chords on a guitar without thinking about each finger’s placement. I can type words without thinking about which finger presses which key, but at some point, I had to be told how to do that and I had to do it with thoughtful, intentional purpose.
First of all, it should be noted, that all of these things are done as an act of love in response to God’s love for us. These aren’t things that we do to keep God from wiping us off the map with a lightning bolt. These are responses. God has shown His great love for us in sending Jesus to die for our sins — in sending the Holy Spirit to live in us as a guide and helper. Everything in this list and every thing that we do to live the Christian life should be seen through this lens. With our best efforts, we hurl ourselves infinitely away from God with our pride and sin. Because God has reached across that expanse to save us, we respond by living life for Him.
Christ sacrificed Himself for others. Not just not on the cross in His death, but daily. He skipped rest when the crowds came all around Him. He lost honor when His own hometown failed to believe in Him. His life was entirely lived for the sake of the Father and the Father’s mission to the world.
With that context, Paul say “Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you.” Those three things are deeply linked to being selfish.
In selfishness, a person can dive into self-pleasing sexual immorality. If they aren’t caring about building up the Body of Christ but only pleasing themselves, any impurity is open season to them. With a continual lust for more self-pleasing, greed sets in as a means to the end of pleasing themselves even more.
“Let there be no…” among us means that we fill our lives so full of selfless service to one another that there isn’t room for greed, impurity, or sexual immorality. It works for a marriage, a 2nd grade room, a restaurant, or a neighborhood. As we live a life of love and sacrifice for others, God increases in everyone we are loving, and in us.