Ephesians 5:5–6 (NKJV)
5 For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and God.
6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.
This text, which is often used as an objection to eternal salvation, is very similar to two other scriptures from previous sections with a new addition: “the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.” The implication is that believers in Christ, who are sons of God and disobey Him by doing any of the shameful things enumerated, will come under the wrath of God after a certain point. However, what kind of disobedience is Paul talking about here? It’s disobedience of faith, not disobedience to the Law. He also says in Romans 1:5 that through Jesus, we received the grace and apostleship to bring about “the obedience of faith” among all nations. Sons of obedience are those who put their faith in Christ while the sons of disobedience are those without Christ.
Again, here the main argument to this objection is that the apostle Paul describes the behavior of those who will never inherit the Kingdom of God and are under His wrath with the purpose of teaching believers how not to live. He begins in Ephesians 4:17 by saying, “you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk,” and he continues with this contrast throughout Chapters 4 and 5. In Ephesians 5:1, Paul encourages believers in the church of Ephesus to become imitators of God, as beloved children, and in Verse 7 of the same chapter, he instructs them not to be partakers with the sons of disobedience. In Verse 8, Paul clarifies even more that they were once darkness, but now they are light in the Lord, so they should walk according to that light from inside of them. So, they are not those who will be disinherited if they persist long enough in sinful behaviors. The phrase “wrath of God” is meant to emphasize the gravity of sin. Although Jesus Christ has removed all sin and condemnation at the time of salvation, that doesn’t mean God became softer on sin and we can be relaxed about it. We should strive to differentiate ourselves from darkness and live according to the Kingdom standards we inherited.
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