Covetousness, Idolatry, and the Heart of the Believer – 1

I recently had the opportunity to discuss some of these things with some of my brothers at our Tuesday morning men’s breakfast.  More posts and scriptures to follow… for now, I will just post the scriptures and working definition that I used to begin our discussion.  In our study of Ephesians 5, Paul’s warning against coveting–and especially the way he referred to a covetous person as an idolater–prompted me to explore this link between covetousness and idolatry.  I’ll write more on that when time allows.

Ephesians 5:3-5

3        But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.5 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.


Exodus 20:17

17      “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”


Exodus 20:22-23: Laws About Altars

22      And the LORD said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the people of Israel: ‘You have seen for yourselves that I have talked with you from heaven.23 You shall not make gods of silver to be with me, nor shall you make for yourselves gods of gold.


Romans 7:7-12: The Law and Sin

7        What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”8 But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead.9 I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died.10 The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me.11 For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me.12 So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.


Romans 13:8-10: Fulfilling the Law Through Love

8        Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.



Covet    to desire (what belongs to another) inordinately or culpably (Merriam Webster);
to desire and to seek things for oneself that God has not provided or ordained;
rooted in discontentment and stemming disobedience, flowers and fru
ctifies death.


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