1 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 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.
3 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. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5 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. 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.
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth)10 and find out what pleases the Lord.
The idea of being pure is an old and outdated thought, at least to our 21st century minds tuned to social media, contemporary entertainment, and modern life. We equate purity with all kinds of "isms" and intolerance (sexism, racism, ethnocentrism, and other prejudices). Purity from the perspective of the Bible, however, is what should be expected of us, but this biblical purity looks very different from our modern culture's understanding of purity.
The Bible's perspective of purity more closely aligns with words like holiness, righteousness, and sanctification than it does with "isms." So when Paul calls for the Ephesians and other first century Christians to flee from impurity he is in fact calling for those Christians to live a life of holiness, righteousness, and sanctification. John Wesley often referred to this life as a life of being "perfect in love."
Our sermon series on Ephesians 4-5 entitled "Renovations" will conclude this Sunday with a strong and clear call to holiness. God the Father calls us to holiness, God the Son sacrificed Himself to clear the path for holiness, and God the Holy Spirit lives in us to make us holy. This call to holiness is not a call for more willpower or striving on our part. It is a call to open ourselves up to God's transforming power and Spirit. We don't need to strive to be better; we need to allow God to be bigger.