Therefore, since we put off our old selfish selves and put on Christ, we are instructed to be imitators of God. We are His beloved children. Just as Christ gave Himself up for us as an offering and sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma, we also give ourselves up for others. This is our calling in Christ. Yet, it is difficult because we really like our natural selves. We love what we love. We want things to be the way we want them to be. When we try to affect change, it is always according to the way we think things ought to be. This is not our instruction in Christ. Never does Scripture say that we must make things according to our traditions or contemporary society. Never does it tell us to make a country red or blue. Instead it instructs us to give ourselves up for the benefit of others. So, we don’t waste our time or lives away bickering about lesser, worldly things. We give ourselves up for the benefit of others like Christ gave Himself up for us. To live such a sacrificial life is a sacrifice, a pleasing aroma, to God. That is our spiritual act of worship and means infinitely more than singing.
This way of living opposes all immorality, impurity, and greed. In fact, Paul has already established that all sinful acts, especially sexual sin, root themselves in greed. When he addresses sin, immorality and impurity, he does so because greedy actions are the ones that cause injustice, division, quarrels, and so on. It is proper for the saints to all be giving themselves up for one another, not pursuing their own greed or lusts—which cause injustice and division in the world. We have witnessed it in the Twenty-First Century. The pursuit of our own selfish lusts has caused greater injustice and division. If we really wanted to see justice and peace in our time, we would start dealing with our sin and putting off our greed. Yet, society does the opposite and expects that fighting for the things that cause injustice will somehow end discrimination and hatred; but they only pour more fuel on the fire. So, it is up to Christians to speak the truth in love. Greed causes societal gout. It is a spiritual gluttony that creates an obese and sickly state. We want liberty, peace, and justice for all. We know how to get there, but we are so far unwilling to graciously deal with our own sin.
Paul takes it further than outward actions. Let no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting be heard among the saints. His instruction deals with speaking foolishly—either without meaning or understanding. Before we speak to anything, we seek to understand it so that we don’t add to the confusion or encourage people toward ignorance. I see it every election cycle. There is so much misinformation that people mostly misunderstand the candidates they begin opposing because of the color of their flag—which is only a little better than racism. We are given over to name-calling and discrimination and placing our political blinders on so we only see good in our own political parties. Read the instruction here. Don’t speak foolishly. Don’t joke around in a way that objectifies or demeans others in any way—sexually or otherwise. Why? Christians are to give themselves up for the good of others. So, we give thanks concerning others rather than reel against them directly or indirectly.