As we shall see, the sins of adultery and fornication are very serious, and a Christian who has “fellowship with them” (which is what the word “partakes” means) will bring dishonor to the Lord, to himself, and to his local church until he breaks off fellowship with them.

We read in Ephesians 5:1-3, 5-7: “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also loved us and given Himself for us…But FORNICATION and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not once even be named among you, as is fitting for saints…For this you know, that NO FORNICATOR, unclean person, nor covetous man…has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. THEREFORE, DO NOT BE PARTAKERS WITH THEM.” God does NOT mince words here; He utterly condemns the sin of fornication. In fact, in saying “let it not once even be named among you, as is fitting for saints,” we are being taught that if one does commit this sin, He/she is LIVING A LIE! A Christian is a child of God and should be “imitators of God.” A Christian has become a “PARTAKER of the divine nature” (see 2nd Peter 1:5) which cannot sin (see 1st John 3:9) and thus we should be living holy lives to the glory of God.  We should NOT be “imitating the unbeliever” who will experience God’s wrath in a future day for living an immoral lifestyle. The apostle ends this by saying, “Therefore do not be PARTAKERS WITH THEM.” This can be referring to 1) actually partaking with them by committing those same sins, or 2) keeping company with those who do commit those sins.

Let’s read on in verses 8-12, “For you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Do not PARTICIPATE in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret” (NASB). Once again, the Lord reminds us of WHAT WE NOW ARE; we are “Light in the Lord” and as such we should “walk as children of Light.” When the Lord was on this earth He said, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12) and by His life He exposed the darkness of sin (John 1:4-5). In Matthew 5:14 Jesus said, “You are the light of the world,” which means, as we saw above, that believers share His divine nature and by our lives we too should be “exposing the unfruitful deeds of darkness.” To practice these terrible “deeds of darkness” or to have fellowship with those who do, is an outright denial of who we are as “children of light.”

I have heard some Christians say, “As long as I don’t actually participate in those sins myself, I believe I can participate with them in innocent activities like attending sporting events.” What they fail to see is the truth of 1st Corinthians 15:33, “Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits.’” You may “think” you won’t be affected by their sinful lifestyles but you are “deceived.” Eventually, if you continue to keep company with them, they will entice you to participate with them in their sins and you will succumb to the temptation. Your “good habits” will be corrupted by the “evil company” you keep. Even if you don’t actually commit the sin of adultery or fornication, you are “guilty by association.” We learn this truth in 1st Corinthians chapter 5 where a brother in the local church at Corinth was guilty of committing “sexual immorality with his father’s wife” (verse 1). The church was guilty of not judging this sin and of going on in fellowship with him (verse 2). The apostle Paul told them that by not judging this sin they had become DEFILED BY HIS SIN. “Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump” (verse 6). This is a principle called “association with evil defiles” and it runs throughout Scripture. Paul then commanded them to “put away from yourselves the evil person” (verse 13). We learn from Paul’s second epistle to the Corinthians that they did put the FORNICATOR out of fellowship, and it resulted in the man repenting of his sin of fornication and the assembly repenting too (for allowing sin in their midst), which then cleared the assembly of the bad reputation they had in their local community (see 2nd Corinthians 2:1-8; 7:11). We too will have a “bad reputation” if we “keep bad company.” We won’t be able to “clear ourselves” until we judge the sin and break off fellowship with the evil person(s).  (DO)