6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.
7 Therefore do not be partners with them.
Ephesians 5:6-7 (NIV)
This is another installment in the series of Ephesians 5. Verse 6 looks the same as Verse 5, which I am sure is among the most abused verses in the Bible. When you read this verse alone without the whole context in mind, you will feel very threatened. Religious preachers will love to use this verse to threaten their church members.
Read it again. Isn’t it scary? The religious preacher will undoubtedly like to stress on the phrase, “God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient” to get their drones to be obedient to God. In case, anyone wonders on the meaning of “obedient to God”, the answer is simple. In a religious church, obedient to God means obeying everything the preacher tells you to do. If the preacher tells you to go for missions, you must go for missions. If the preacher wants your money, you must give him your money If not, God’s wrath is on you.
I have mentioned the need to read the verse in its proper context. So, what is the context here we should use to neutralize what seems like a threat in Verse 6?
There are 2 ways to deal with this.
The first is to go back to the original contract as I have explained in the previous article. You chose to become a Christian because you want the benefits of having a secured place in heaven. Jesus has died for all your sins. He took all the punishments that you deserve and gave you all the blessings that you don’t deserve.
Therefore, Jesus must also have taken the penalty of God’s wrath with him at the Cross. If you happen to be worried of being at the receiving end of God’s wrath, remember Jesus. Pass that wrath to him and you will be fine.
The second way is look into the context set in Ephesians 5:1-7. The entire passage speaks of our position in God. We are holy people of God who are his dearly beloved children. We are not idolaters who are immoral, impure or greedy. These characteristics are not suitable for us in our present status.
However, there are still many people in the world who practise those characteristics. God’s wrath is meant for them, not us. The first part of Verse 6 that says, “Let no one deceive you with empty words” refers to idolaters who tried to get us to follow their ways. The advice here is, don’t follow them.
Therefore, Verse 6 is not blackmail to us.
Verse 7 gives us further confirmation to this context. We should not be partners to people who are immoral, impure or greedy. Please note that is does not say, we should not be friends with them. What is the difference? We can be friends without doing the same thing. However, if we are partners in a certain venture, this means we are both a part of it. So, do not be a partner of those who are immoral, impure or greedy.
This is what the above verses mean.