VB072 Put Away Filth, Give Thanks (Eph 5:3-4)

The Bible tells us that fornication is any kind of sex act outside the boundaries of marriage. Uncleanness refers to impurity or unholiness – anything that has to do with improper sex activity. We all know that one thing leads to another, and we can see that in Paul’s list of unfit actions here. Remember we are to be imitators of God as dear children. …VB072

Put Away Filth, Give Thanks – Eph 5:3-4

[Eph 5:3-4] (NKJV) –But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; [4] neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.

[v.3] The NIV translates this verse: “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.” Paul was simply emphasizing that sexual impurities and covetousness should never be a part of the Christian life.

Covetousness” or “greed” in this context means a want for more sex. An example is when one looks at another person and thinks or wonders what they would be like together in fornication. There shouldn’t be even a hint of these kinds of thoughts among saints.

Sad to say, many Christians today have abandoned the belief that Christians can live different than the world. That may be the way we see things in the body of Christ today, but that is not the way God wants it to be.

The reason for the holiness is that we are saints. The very word “saints” means separation. The true nature of a saint is to be separate from the sin the world lives in.

[v.4] As Paul listed the things that are unbecoming to saints in verse 3, he included some things in verse 4 that surprise many Christians today. He told us not to use “foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient.”

The Greek word that was translated “foolish talking” literally means “silly talk, i.e. buffoonery.” Paul basically repeated a statement he made in Ephesians 4:29. Silliness is not a godly trait. This is not to say that there is no place for joy and fun in the Christian life. Jesus Himself was anointed with the oil of gladness more than anyone around Him (Hebrews 1:9). Jesus had a good time, but He never spoke foolishly.

Next Paul mentioned “jesting,” but he qualified this by specifying jesting that is “not convenient.” So there must be some jesting that is convenient. The word “convenient” can mean “fitting and proper; suitable.” Synonyms for “convenient” are appropriate, good, suitable, and useful. Joking with a person in an appropriate, good, and suitable way can be useful to building relationships. But if inappropriate it can be very damaging.

It is not always easy to know what type of jesting is fitting, but if the person you are kidding around with doesn’t like it, it is inappropriate, so stop it. If what you say during the week would not be appropriate for your pastor’s ears, it’s not fitting for you to say. We have too many “church-only” Christians. God wants full-timers!

The NIV translates verse 4 as “Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.”

Paul was saying that thanksgiving is the opposite of the filthiness, foolish talking, and inappropriate jesting he had just condemned. Thanksgiving takes humility. Proud people aren’t thankful; they only think of themselves. All the things Paul was condemning in these verses are rooted in selfishness. If the motive is to bless others, then jesting will most likely be appropriate and not the type Paul was rebuking here.


Father help me to be on guard so that when I hear a filthy joke, I do not partake in the conversation. Thank you that I can use jesting that is convenient and will build a relationship, instead of saying something that I cannot be thankful for.


I thank God that fornication and all uncleanness is far from me. I have been redeemed from the world and its filthiness. I quickly cast down evil thoughts, and begin to praise God with thanksgiving for His Word.

God bless you my friend,


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