Not Even Named

Ephesians 5:3: “Bur fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints.”

People sometimes get legalistic and nitpicky about what is and isn’t a sin, but as believers, we are called to a higher standard than just “don’t sin”.  Our standard is to stay so far from sin that we don’t even look like we’re sinning, so that sin is not even named among us. The Bible doesn’t just tell us not to be sexually immoral; it tells us to flee sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:18).  In other words, get as far away from it as you can.  Don’t hang around the loose woman to see if she’s really going to put any more moves on you – run the other way!

That is why, for example, I will not counsel a woman alone or put myself alone in a situation where I’m alone in a car with a woman, unless that woman is Rosie!  It’s not just a question of what I am doing, but of what someone might suspect or allege I am doing. So, married men, where you do draw the line at how “friendly” you can be with a woman who isn’t your wife?  A simple and usually reliable method is to ask your wife!  If she’s uncomfortable with it, take the hint.  Likewise, ladies, if you want to know if things are too “cute” with a certain man, just ask your husband for his opinion on the matter!  After all, you’re going to have to live with your spouse after whatever you do.

This is also why I don’t pull up to the bar down at the Black Bull Tavern or the Time Out Pub and order a beer. Now if you get technical about it, it isn’t a sin to drink as long as you don’t get drunk, so there’s nothing “legally” wrong with it as a Christian if you’re not getting plowed. But what kind of impression would it give others to see the preacher (or church member) at the bar drinking?  I don’t want to mislead people and possibly cause them to sin because they see me there drinking and figure they’ll drink in my footsteps, and end up drunk (or worse if they try to drive home).

Notice that uncleanness is not even to be named among us.  (The next verse goes on to exclude filthiness and coarse jesting.) It both amazes and appalls me to see the kind of garbage that CHRISTIANS forward to each other on the Internet!  Christians should not be known as either propagators or consumers of dirty, crude jokes. So, dear reader, please don’t copy me on the latest “coarse jesting” you came across on the Net.

(I will squawk about it – ask anyone who’s sent me that stuff!)

This column was written to Christians. People who don’t know Jesus yet are going to do all kinds of lewd things; it’s par for the course. They need someone to share the love and forgiveness of God with them, not a pointed finger for all the things they’re doing that we know are sins. But as Christians, we are no longer slaves of sin, so we don’t want to act in ways that make us look like we still are.