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EPHESIANS - Chapter 5 - Verse 3

Verse 3. But fornication. A common vice among the heathen then as it is now, and one into which they were in special danger of falling. See Barnes "Ro 1:29"; See Barnes "1 Co 6:18".


And all uncleanness. Impurity of life. See Barnes "Ro 1:24".

Comp. Ro 6:9; Gal 5:19; Eph 4:19; Col 3:5.


Or covetousness. The connexion in which this word is found is remarkable. It is associated with the lowest and most debasing vices, and this, as well as those vices, was not once to be named among them. What was Paul's estimate, then, of covetousness? He considered it as an odious and abominable vice; a vice to be regarded in the same light as the most gross sin, and as wholly to be abhorred by all who bore the Christian name. See Eph 5:5. The covetous man, according to Paul, is to be ranked with the sensual, and with idolaters, (Eph 5:5,) and with those who are entirely excluded from the kingdom of God. Is this the estimate in which the vice is held now? Is it the view which professing Christians take of it? Do we not feel that there is a great difference between a covetous man and a man of impure and licentious life? Why is this? Because

(1.) it is so common;

(2.) because it is found among those who make pretensions to refinement and even religion;

(3.) because it is not so easy to define what is covetousness, as it is to define impurity of life; and

(4.) because the public conscience is seared, and the mind blinded to the low and groveling character of the sin. Yet is not the view of Paul the right view? Who is a covetous man? A man who, in the pursuit of gold, neglects his soul, his intellect, and his heart. A man who, in this insatiable pursuit, is regardless of justice, truth, charity, faith, prayer, peace, comfort, usefulness, conscience; and who shall say that there is any vice more debasing or degrading than this? The time may come, therefore, when the covetous man will be regarded as deserving the same rank in the public estimation with the most vicious, and when TO COVET will be considered as much opposed to the spirit of the gospel as any of the vices here named. When that time shall come, the world's conversion will probably be not a distant event.

Let it not be once named among you. That is, let it not exist; let there be no occasion for mentioning such a thing among you; let it be wholly unknown. This cannot mean that it is wrong to mention these vices for the purpose of rebuking them, or cautioning those in danger of committing them—for Paul himself in this manner mentions them here, and frequently elsewhere—but that they should not exist among them.

As becometh saints. As befits the character of Christians, who are regarded as holy. Literally, "as becometh holy ones"—agioiv.

{c} "and all uncleanness" 1 Co 6:18; 1 Th 4:3 {d} "among you" Eph 5:12

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