“As is proper among saints”
What a challenge it is to realise that all those who really believe in God and Jesus Christ are called “saints”. The Greek word translated as saint, means, “holy, set apart”. Saints set themselves apart from worldly, godless ways of thinking and doing.
Paul’s letters are addressed to saints, “the saints who are in Ephesus”; “saints … who are in Philippi” (opening verse in each letter).
So all true believers are “saints” in God’s eyes, and therefore inspired writers like Paul send encouraging letters to them. The tactic of venerating ‘saints’, as practiced by the Roman Catholic Church, is nonsense.
Now we must note what Paul says
“is proper among saints” (5:3).
“But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness, nor foolish talk, no crude joking” (verses 3,4).
Something which is “named” is something which is mentioned and talked about; yet we are confronted with such things so often if we watch much television! Paul’s ‘punch line’ in the message is –
“you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous, that is an idolater, has not inheritance in the kingdom of God” (verse 5).
We have idolaters today! Think of the things people idolise, things that are the focus of their thinking or admiration! It can be something we own, or covet and want to own, and that thing (as one example, a motorbike), takes centre stage in our thinking, pushing godly thoughts into the background or even swamping them completely.
The way our minds work is often devious so that we avoid being honest with ourselves and so prevent ourselves from feeling uncomfortable, or even guilty about a matter; we put in our conscience to sleep.
We can do that as we read what Paul has written, discounting what he really means. But note he then writes,
“Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience … it is shameful even to speak of the things they do in secret” (verses 6,12).
How soon now, before the wrath of God comes? What “is proper among saints” today? The signs are that 2018 was a most significant year and that 2021 has it surprises as well and shall bring us closer to special times!