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Μηδεὶς ὑμᾶς ἀπατάτω κενοῖς λόγοις· διὰ ταῦτα γὰρ ἔρχεται ἡ ὀργὴ τοῦ θεοῦ ἐπὶ τοὺς υἱοὺς τῆς ἀπειθείας. Let no one deceive you with empty words; for because of these things comes the wrath of God upon the sons of disobedience.
Paul continues his section on the life of the new person here. Paul commands that his readers and listeners not be deceived by anyone. He exhorts them to protect themselves against empty words. What are empty words? Foolish words, words without power or truth, these are what Paul is referencing. Then Paul says, “. . . for because of these things . . .” What are these things? Are they the empty words referenced in the same sentence? Are they the things formerly mentioned earlier in the paragraph, such as sexual immorality, general immorality, and greed? If it were the words in view, it would read with the masculine, διὰ τούτους. The use of the neuter, διὰ ταῦτα, indicates that a more general theme is going on. Because of sexual immorality, general immorality, and greed, God’s wrath is coming. This verb, ἔρχεται, is not future tense, but it conveys a future idea. God’s wrath is already in transit, but it is not yet here. It is coming. But it is coming upon particular people. God’s wrath is not coming on the church, but rather it is coming on the sons of disobedience. Those who are in opposition to God are disobedient. Paul is linking such opposition with lifestyles of sexual immorality, general immorality, or greed.
Let no one deceive you with empty words; for because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience.
We already know that God does not approve of the sexually immoral lifestyle. We have seen that God is not pleased with general immorality. And we learned that God does not like greediness. For such things God’s wrath, his anger, is coming to discipline them. But we should not be deceived. There is such thing as divine wrath. We should not allow people to tell us there is no such thing as God’s divine judgment. Such statements are foolish and empty. They are short of the truth. Furthermore, we should pay attention to the fact that God, though he is merciful, can be angry. It has been thought by some that the God of the Old Testament is an entirely different God of the New by merit of the wrath in the former and the grace in the latter. But the latter demonstrates the same wrath of the same God. We should learn to please God and not to provoke him to anger. We should associate ourselves with the new person, not the old person, being characterized by disobedience. The disobedient are going to be punished, but we, the church, have been destined for a glorious inheritance in the kingdom of God. We should live like we have such an inheritance. We should certainly put off sexual immorality, general immorality, and greed in favor of a higher calling–a life of love, respect, faithfulness, and generosity.