“Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.” Ephesians 5:6
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the very best of news to the truly seeking heart. It alone is the message that brings to reality the salvation that God has provided through His Son Jesus Christ. And the Gospel is that which the church has been commanded to preach and of which the church fathers truly did proclaim. It is founded upon these principles: man has sinned and is living in rebellion against a holy God; God has loved mankind so much that He came to suffer and to die to pay the penalty of which our sin deserves; Jesus’ death was sufficient to forgive men of their sins once and for all; the humble repentant sinner can find forgiveness for their sins through Christ alone; Jesus rose from the dead, a living proof of His divinity, His power and His authority; He is coming again to establish His kingdom on this earth wherein His righteousness and rule will be established.
The Golden Rule (do unto others as you would have them do unto you), is not the Gospel. Having pleasant thoughts of heaven or whatever, is not the Gospel. Hearing a soft message that men can remain in their sins in defiance against God, is not the Gospel. Presenting Jesus as anything less than the means by which God alone will forgive mankind, is not the Gospel either.
Thus when Paul writes to the church at Ephesus, he is lovingly reminding them that “empty words” are dangerously deceptive. Some may preach and offer a false assurance of one’s salvation to professing believers who defiantly remain in their sin by showing no shame for such behavior. Earlier in this same letter in chapter two, verse two, he states that such disobedience is headed toward the eventual wrath of God. To align oneself with those who are walking according to the “course of this world”, its values and standards, is contrary to sound Christian teaching and orthodoxy.
“Empty words” are what Paul identifies as incorrect, deceptive teachings. His warning is clear; his message distinct. To the church at Corinth he wrote of the difficulties that he often endured for the sake of the Gospel. In 2 Corinthians 11:26,28 he wrote, “….in perils among false brethren (those who appeared to be Christians, but were not); besides, (now catch his heart as a true shepherd to the church), besides the other things, what comes upon me daily, my deep concern for all the churches.”
So…. “let no one deceive you through empty words.”