Sin is Dissatisfaction

September 14, 2023 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement

In our sermon series on Ephesians we come to Paul’s exhortations related to the 7th and 10th commandments this week. We have noted that as Paul gives his ethical teaching he circles back to the 10 Commandments. Paul touched on the 9th Commandment in 4:25, the 6th Commandment in 4:26-27, and the 8th Commandment in 4:28. He will address the 5th Commandment in 6:1-4. In Ephesians, Paul touches on every commandment of what is commonly known as the second table of the 10 Commandments. The first table is the first four commandments that focus on our relationship with God. The second table, which includes the last six commandments, focuses on our relationship with others. All of this goes to demonstrate the unity of the Bible. God is the same in the Old Testament as the New Testament. God’s obligations for his people are the same in both Old and New Testaments. And the way of salvation remains the same in both the Old and New Testaments. 

Today I want to highlight something I find striking about how Paul addresses the 7th and 10th Commandments. Consider Paul’s words from Ephesians 5:3 and 5, “But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints… For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” What I find striking is that Paul lumps together, almost in the same breath, the sins of sexual immorality and covetousness. Is he running out of time or space and wants to hurry along his ethical teaching? I don’t find that to be likely. Paul is about to give some of his most in-depth teaching on marriage in Ephesians 5. I believe the only explanation is that Paul understands that there is a commonality that links the sins of sexual immorality and covetousness. 

The common link between the sins of sexual immorality and covetousness is dissatisfaction, namely, dissatisfaction with God. God designed and created human sexuality for the purposes of procreation of children and the mutual enjoyment of one man and one woman in the covenant bond of marriage. Any engagement of sexual activity outside of God’s design reveals a dissatisfaction with God’s intentions. Our allotment in life, which includes the number of our days, our family heritage, our gifts, talents, and abilities, and our financial state, is all provided by God (see Job 1:21, Ps. 139:16, Matt. 6:32, James 1:17). Covetousness, the desire for more than what we have, is a dissatisfaction with what God has given. 

In fact, we can say all sin is a dissatisfaction with God. At some level, in every sin, we reject God and his ways in order to create our own path. This is why Paul inserts in Ephesians 5:5 the phrase, “that is, an idolater.” Sexually immoral and covetous people are idolaters because they elevate themselves, or other things, to be greater than God. The fight of faith is a fight to remain satisfied with God, his provisions, and his ways. In light of this, the Psalmist prays, “Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days” (90:14). 

Sin is deceitful because it promises to satisfy, but those are empty promises. May the truth of God’s goodness guard our hearts and minds in full satisfaction with Christ. This is the core issue for our struggle against sin and our endurance of faith in Christ.


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