The Christian puts off the old self, immorality, impurity, and greed—even no longer speaking unfruitfully or joking coarsely. We put on Christ and live for the benefit of others. We do so for, or because, we know with certainty that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. These are strong words. We actively kill our own sin because we know that sinners do not receive and inheritance in the kingdom of Christ. Paul takes it further. Because of immorality, impurity, covetousness, and idolatry, the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.
Paul has already established that salvation is not works based but by grace alone (cf. 1:4-12; 2:5-10). By God’s grace, we are changed form the inside out. He has also established that sin creates injustice, conflict, and suffering on the earth. Thus, those who are changed by the Holy Spirit and consequently reject their sin by putting off the old man have an inheritance with Christ. It is a gift. God’s wrath, though, is by works. Godless people earn it because they cause injustice and suffering in the world through their immorality, impurity, and covetousness—which all find their roots in greed. Salvation is by grace, damnation is by the works of the natural, greedy, self.
Paul instructs the saints to let no one deceive them about this matter with words that are void of meaning. The saints are not to be partakers with those apart from Christ in their immoralities, impurities, and covetousness. We are to facilitate justice and peace through humility and selflessness rather than cause injustice and suffering because of our greed.
Each of us was formerly darkness, walking according to our own wills and by our works earning the wrath of God. But, now we are light in the Lord. So, we act like who we are now in Christ. We walk as children of the light. Notice, Paul refers to works of the light as fruit rather than root—these works result from salvation. They do not cause it. The fruit of the light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth. That is why those who are in Christ try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord—they actually want to please God and see peace and justice on the earth among people.