"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. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or course joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person -- such a man is an idolater -- has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them." NIV
I've never really thought of an immoral, impure or greedy person as an idolater before. What is an idolater? "One who worships idols, a devotee." What's an idol? Webster's says, "That on which the affections are strongly (often excessively) set; an object of passionate devotion; a person or thing greatly loved or adored." The Greek word Paul uses here for idolater is eidololatres which means "a worshipper of false gods, an idolater; used of any one even Christian, participant in any way in the worship of the heathen, esp. one who attends their sacrificial feasts and eats of the remains of offered victims, a covetous man as a worshipper of Mammon "
Alright, so what? Think about it. When we allow ourselves to be pulled into immorality, impurity or greed, even the hint of it, we become devoted worshippers of those things. They become our god. And God's Word clearly states in the very first commandment, "You shall have no other gods before me." Our God is a jealous god. He demands that if we are going to follow Him, we follow no one else. He is it. And our entire devotion must be directed at God and on nothing or no one other than Him.
You see, Christ wants to not only be your Savior, the one who saves you from your sins and eternal separation from God, but He also wants to be your Lord, the one you worship and are devoted to. Salvation may be easy, but devotion takes commitment. It requires sacrifice and selflessness. And if I am going to invest time being devoted to something or someone, do I want it to be fleeting moments of pleasure on this earth or to the Eternal who saved me from my sins? The equation seems very simple to me when you look at the big picture. Our Father wants fully devoted followers, not fire escapees, and His demands are not unreasonable. However, the consequences of not following them are eternal. I don't plan on losing my inheritance over some idol. I choose to follow one God, one Lord, no matter what.
- Look up instances in the Old Testament where God's people worshipped idols. What was the outcome? (Hint: While Moses was on Mt. Sinai, etc.)
- Find lists in the New Testament of the immorality, impurity, and greed we are to avoid. Compare those with the Fruit of the Spirit, the Beatitudes, and other passages that list how we are to live.
- What is the distinction between Christ as Savior and Christ as Lord? Who are you following?
- Is there any hint of sexual immorality, impurity, or greed in your life? Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal it to you now, confess it as sin, and stop doing it.