3 But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; 4 and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.
Did Paul just call us out and tell us to never joke around? “That couldn’t be!” I suddenly think back to something my dad told me when I was a kid, “Christians aren’t supposed to cuss or tell dirty stories, but we will always have a good fart joke!” Did I just say “fart” in the beginning of my bible study for today? Yes, yes I did.
I believe this is one of those passages that can easily be taken out of context. It is easy for us to stop after the word fitting, and quickly give our opinion of how we think this is wrong or “out dated”. That last little phrase, but rather giving thanks is actually the defining phrase for these two verses. Let’s start from the beginning…
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…. Ok wait, not THAT beginning! (I kid, I kid!)
Paul opened chapter 5 talking about living as an offering to God. In the same breath, he mentions that immorality, impurity, or greed must not even be a characteristic of us. From what I have gathered in my limited knowledge of the bible, morality is a measure of Christian character. Whether we want it to be or not, it is how the world judges Christians and their behavior. As such, we must make sure that our outside character matches our inside character. If it does, then that is half the equation. The other half is making sure that our “moral fiber,” that which gives us the drive of our character, is without impurity.
“How can we be pure? We are all sinners?” WE have been told that thanks to Christ’s sacrifice, we are “white as snow: Isaiah 1:18 18 “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool. As we become purified through Christ, we will no longer want.
Psalm 23 1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. Through this purification process, we are fulfilled in this life (and the next) by God’s grace. If there is nothing we need or want, we are less inclined to be greedy, are we not? In being of upstanding moral character and of a pure heart, greed is nonexistent. This is the proper characteristics of saints. Ever hear someone say “He’s a saint”? It is because they exhibit these qualities. You and I are saints, let’s start living like them.
Slide into verse 4, which is attached with a semicolon. I mention this because it indicates that while it is a separate sentence, a completely independent thought, it is closely related to the sentence in verse 3. No filthiness, silly talk, or course jesting. What does that mean? How about: no sarcasm, dirty jokes, or picking on each other. Oh yeah, I’m guilty of those! My Christian friends do it back! We all have a grand time! I wonder how that looks to someone on the “outside looking in”. Does it represent Christ the way He wants to be represented? If your boss noticed you representing your company in a way that doesn’t make it look good, that would be an awkward conversation, wouldn’t it? We must not forget that as Christians, we are in uniform 24/7.
What are we to do instead? Rather give thanks. We should act always with a thankful heart. Thankful of what others have done for us, thankful for what we have (and don’t have), most importantly: thankful of God’s grace. We thank God and love Him back by carrying His message to others.
What silliness can you turn into thankfulness?