"But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.” Ephesians 5:3
Not even a hint? Isn’t that a bit much? God doesn’t really expect us to reach that level does He? That’s asking a bit much isn’t it? Does God really expect that for us living in the world today?
YES OF COURSE! The beauty of God’s Word is that it is transcendent. It transcends time, culture and all other factors. Something commanded 2000 years ago to a small collection of believers living in the Middle East is just as applicable and relevant to us today. The standard of God is the same yesterday, today and forever. And that standard is this…NOT EVEN A HINT!
Why would a loving and caring God give such as difficult command to follow?
I have a 7 year old son who is now learning to ride his bike. I allow him to practice riding in our neighborhood because it’s safe. Now imagine that he finds a group of friends who enjoy riding their bikes on top of a cliff – somewhat close to the edge. They never actually go to the edge, but they ride close to it. They try to see who can ride closest to the edge without getting scared. It’s a thrill for them.
And now my son wants to join those boys on top of the cliff and is coming to ask my permission.
What would you say if you were his dad? Would you let him ride up there? How close would you allow him to get to the edge? 30 feet? 20 feet? 10 feet? Closer?
My answer? SON, YOU AREN’T GOING ANYWHERE NEAR THAT CLIFF! You aren’t even allowed to get close enough to smell it! In other words, NOT EVEN A HINT!
He probably won’t like that answer. He’ll think I’m being mean or controlling or old fashioned. But I really don’t care. He’s my son and I love him way too much to allow him to ride his bike on top of a cliff. He thinks that if I loved him, I’d let him ride closer to the edge. But nothing could be further from the truth – it’s my love for him that makes me say “YOU’RE NOT GOING ANYWHERE NEAR THAT CLIFF.”
God’s love for us – like the love of any parent for his child – is not shown by letting us do whatever we want. His love for us is shown by His desire to keep as far away as possible from the things that will harm us – especially when we aren’t able to see the danger for ourselves.
And that is why He says “not even a hint of sexual immorality or any kind of impurity” – not because He hates us but because He loves us. Not because He wants to make us miserable but because He wants us to experience real joy.
God knows that there is a very real and inherent danger in the sexual immorality and impure lifestyle that is all around these days. And He calls us – His children – to live according to a different standard… His standard… the NOT EVEN A HINT standard.
For discussion: what do you think about God’s standard for purity and is that really possible in today’s world?