What “little” sins do we excuse? I’m not talking about in other people; the Bible accounts for that as something we handle with prayer (1 John 5:16). I’m talking about in ourselves. The Gospel is about Grace, for sure, but we should remember who administers that Grace to cover our shortcomings.

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

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 coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person 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.

Ephesians 5:1-17

Don’t be deceived by the “not saved by works” language some teachers use around the Gospel. We are not saved by works indeed, and the result of that gift of salvation is necessarily a life which remains holy. The teaching that we can’t escape Grace ignores the character of God. He has never tolerated deliberate disobedience (Numbers 15:30-31).

Moreover, the “not saved by works” justification for continued sin overlooks the real nature of sin. From the earliest interactions with God and Man, sin has always had a community effect and not merely an individual result. The guilt of sin may be reflected only inwardly but the results are always outward. There is no sin which harms only the sinner. The Church suffers while sin is tolerated.

So when Paul describes a Christian behaving well, it is interesting what he calls “walking in the way of love”. No obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking. We all bad mouth someone once in a while, right? We might make an unkind suggestion about someone’s history as a joke or bring up a certain topic to get a reaction.

This might be, socially, the lowest form of transgression. It might be entirely acceptable or even expected for some people! “Locker room talk” has that reputation for a reason. But for the Christian we ought to know whose name we have on us. We ought to know who our behavior reflects in the eyes of those around us. A Christian’s words are the Gospel, whether they want them to be or not.

Walk in the way of love today. How? By minding how you speak.

Ethan Kirl