I am struggling to understand Paul in ephesians 5vs6. This is because he seems to be contradicting what he says in 1 Corinthians 6 VS 9-11. He lists a couple sins which I infer are supposed to represent all sin as he adds greed to sexual immortality which he discusses earlier but he doesn’t refer to it in a manner as in Corinthians as a state of being before we are saved. Only in verse 8 does he start speaking about how we have changed through salvation but he seems to imply that change is separate from the sins discussed before. Yes we all still sin but this verse implies that some sin was to big for his sacrifice to forgive and if we still do it we will not inherit salvation. I understand that when we choose sin we reject God but God won’t reject us till the end of times. Is the verse not potentially speaking about the treasures we store up in heaven which we won’t receive?
Hi Michael and thanks for your question . I am not sure if I understand your question fully with regard to the contradictions between Ephesians and 1 Corinthians. In Ephesians are you making particular reference to Ephesians 5:3-5 by chance? Maybe if you could also elaborate more on the specific passages that are central to your question, and why you think they are meaning that Jesus Christ’s sacrifice was not enough to forgive certain sins?
Sorry Michael for asking for some further elaboration, but I just want to make sure I can really understand and grasp the primary details of your question.
Edits made. I used a poor way of righting the scripture I’m referring to
Hey Michael @Michael_Ryan, great question. I want to set the background before I answer. So Jesus came and died for us. In that he restored the broken relationship between man and God. There was no way to go back to heaven but through him, our debt can be paid. But that is only if truly believe, having thought about it, repented and truly are changed. Now how do you know someone truly loves you or says he believes in you as a God. By their actions, God did not say dont worry I will save you and stayed in Heaven. He came down from his throne in heaven to be with us, insignificant creatures, to be cursed, spitted on, and be put on the cross to die for us to save us. What would God expect in return? He knows that we cant be perfect because He is the only One who is good and perfect, but we have to mean what we say. Yes we may fail but we have to realize that and repent and come back in the ways of God. We have to be purposeful of our last sin and find ways to prevent it so it does not happen again. We have to abide in him, and pray and put effort to purify our life day in and out to be like Christ. If not, are we truly changed, do we truly know God. To know God is not to know his name. God’s words are life altering. To say I believe in Christ and to walk in your old ways would beg the question if you ave truly known God in the first place. Sure, you cant know God overnight, your relationship with him grows deeper and deeper but our lives have to be purposeful and has to show Christ in us.
In my opinion this where faith without works is “dead.” God does not just want us belief in him. Your belief is demonstrated by how you act. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” John 14:15. Take a look at this as well.
14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without my works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. 24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. 25 Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? 26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
Another verse is
Matthew 7: 21 “Not everyone who calls me Lord will enter God’s kingdom. The only people who will enter are those who do what my Father in heaven wants. 22 On that last Day many will call me Lord. They will say, ‘Lord, Lord, by the power of your name we spoke for God. And by your name we forced out demons and did many miracles.’ 23 Then I will tell those people clearly, ‘Get away from me, you people who do wrong. I never knew you.’
This is not to say we are saved by our works, as we are saved by faith via Jesus, but you have to mean what you say and show it too. We have to be honest with ourselves and examine the reasons of why we truly follow Christ. We have to really get to know Christ and choose him because we believe in him in what he stands and not out of fear to go to hell or for the sake of it. When we commit sin, we are hurting God’s kids. He cares about you as much as he cares about your brothers and sisters that are suffering in this world because of our works. God hears alllllll the cries. Can you imagine how much troubling that is to him. If we say we know him, our actions have to change.
Revelation 6:10 They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?”
John 13:35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
You may say “but I am in my house, how am I affecting them.” Well if you are hoarding all your money, your talents and just watching TV, you are not sharing what God gave everyone on earth. 8000 children die everyday in the world out of hunger, how many of our food spoil in the fridge.
So we truly have to understand what it means to be a follower of Christ and show it in action. Our actions always mirror what we think is important. People are usually not late to work, no matter how late they are at other things. Why? because it is important. If God is important, then we have to show it too. We cant lie to God and stand him up either. Faith without works is dead.
The other question is can we lose our salvation? In my opinion, yes if you reject God. Would you believe somebody that they love you if they kept cheating on you? If they truly do, would they do that? Say you forgave them 5 times and they kept doing it. If they say “oh no I have a sex addiction and please help me” that is different, but if they just say I will but never change, then they dont think you are important. If you are rejecting God by your actions, why does it matter if we say we believe in you in our words. Words dont mean anything. It is crucial to know that if we lose salvation, it is not because of God but because of us, our choice. If you say no to God I dont want you, I will do what I want, aka through your action, then why would not you lose salvation. But if you are truly making effort, no father will deny his child a forgiveness. He will help you every second to be like him. He paid a big price, his own life, to make a way for our return to our home.
So in short there is nothing you can do to earn salvation and you are saved by Christ, but mean what you say.
I hope this helps.
Hi Michael! Thanks for the question. I think that the verse that you are quoting is in Ephesians 3:5 right? So, my approach would be to take a look at the context. The letter to Ephesians was ment to bring back together the church, because of new philosophies arriving. Thats why the word “Love” “Agape” in Greek is mentioned a lot. Regarding the passage Paul is encouraging the church to not even mention sexual immorality, so that this sin couldn’t start new divisions. Now, In 1 Corinthians the context is very different, it is very well known that there was a group of people in Corinthians that practiced ancient rituals that required things like group sex, homosexuality etc. So, Paul addresses this topic a lot. This is why he says that sexually immoral will not inherit the kingdom, referring to the teachings that Jesus brought. I think you are also asking if a person can lose salvation if he/she commits a sexual sin? The simple answer is no, as Christians we are expected to leave all inadequate sexual behavior in the past, but if somebody sins, God will still judge you and God will allow consequences to happen, but you do not lose your salvation.
I tried to be as consistent and clear as I could, hope it helps!
Thanks for the clear man and explanation
There is one thing our Lord calls us all to… and this is repentance.
Roman’s 3:23 ’ for ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.’ We are both on that list sir.
Roman’s 10:9. ’ confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him and you will be saved.’
There is repentance… required of us all! 1 John 1:19 ’ If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness’
Thank you for reminding all of us of our Fathers grace… for each of us…
Thank you for your question. I don’t think there is a contradiction between the passage in Ephesians and the passage in 1 Corinthians. A central theme to much of the letters the Apostle Paul wrote, was that in being a follower of Christ, we have given up the old life of the flesh/sin nature and have entered into a new life that is led by the Spirit. The reason we no longer walk or live in sin is because we have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (Galatians 5:24). Paul also reiterates this theme in Ephesians 4:
Ephesians 4: 20-24: But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self , which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self , created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
I don’t believe in the passages in 1 Corinthians and Ephesians that you reference, that Paul is also trying to give a complete list of ‘worse’ sins. For example, he doesn’t include murder or as long a list as he includes in Galatians chapter 5. Paul may be alluding to commonly known sins and sinful behavior that were most prevalent of the people, at those particular cities, before some of the people had entered into the churches he had established. He could also have heard of sins within the believing community, as he writes about in his first letter to the church in Corinth. This is also why 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11, cannot be referring to past sins people used to do, as for example 1 Corinthians 5: 1 reads, “ It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife .” This shows that there was sexual immorality happening even within those who are supposed to be believers and followers of Christ.
Paul is telling the believers that if we have come into a true belief in Christ, that this true belief shows itself in a transformed life. If Christ has made the tree healthy, then the fruit it will produce will be good fruit. Believers aren’t producing good fruit because they are better at obeying the Law than what the Jews were, they produce good fruit because the grace of God and union with the Spirit of God, frees us from the flesh nature and empowers us to live a righteous life. Now, this often takes time and there is a work of sanctification (a process of being made holy), but, a true follower with a transformed and transforming life, will be shown true by the quality of the fruit they produce. It is why Paul says in Ephesians 5:8 “ for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord ,” and in 1 Corinthians 6: 11 “ and such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God .”
Paul is not saying that certain sins are too big for Christ’s atoning sacrifice. His teaching is that true belief in Christ will yield a transformed life that will free us from the former life that was held captive by our flesh nature.
Romans 6: 20-23: For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
In the letters that Paul writes, he is trying to raise the church to the maturity that is in freedom from sin and freedom in Christ. You can’t be a slave to two masters.
I hope that is of some help to your question Michael .