The anger of God
5:5 Hoc enim scitote intelligentes: quod omnis fornicator, aut immundus, aut avarus, quod est idolorum servitus, non habet haereditatem in regno Christi et Dei. [n. 277]
5:5 For know this and understand: that no fornicator or unclean or covetous person (which is a serving of idols) has inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. [n. 277]
5:6 Nemo vos seducat inanibus verbis: propter haec enim venit ira Dei in filios diffidentiae. [n. 281]
5:6 Let no man deceive you with vain words. For because of these things comes the anger of God upon the children of unbelief. [n. 281]
5:7 Nolite ergo effici participes eorum. [n. 284]
5:7 Therefore do not be partakers with them. [n. 284]
276. Supra prohibuit Apostolus peccata carnalia, hic comminatur poenam damnationis, quae peccatoribus infligitur.
276. The Apostle above forbade carnal sins, and here he threatens them with the penalty of damnation that is inflicted on sinners.
Circa quod duo facit. Primo enim de hoc eos certificat; secundo sigillatim peccata recitat, ibi quod omnis fornicator, et cetera.
In reference to this he does two things: first, he assures them of it; second, he mentions the sins one by one, at that no fornicator.
277. Dicit ergo hoc scitote intelligentes, id est actualiter, non solum habitualiter, pro certo habete. I Io. III: haec scripsi vobis, ut sciatis, et cetera.
277. He states for know this and understand, that is, be actually certain of it and not just habitually. These things I write to you that you may know that you have eternal life; you who believe in the name of the Son of God (1 John 5:13).
278. Et quid? Quod omnis fornicator, aut immundus, aut avarus, quod est idolorum servitus, non habet haereditatem in regno Christi et Dei.
278. And what does he write? That no fornicator or unclean or covetous person, which is a serving of idols, has inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
Nota quod vocat hic avaritiam idololatriam, quoniam idololatria est, quando honor soli Deo debitus, impenditur creaturae. Nunc autem Deo dupliciter honor debetur, scilicet ut in eo finem nostrum constituamus, et ut in eo fiduciam nostram finaliter ponamus; ergo qui hoc in creaturis ponit, reus est idololatriae. Hoc autem facit avarus, qui finem suum in re creata ponit, et etiam totam suam fiduciam. Os. VIII, 4: argentum suum et aurum suum fecerunt sibi idola, ut interirent. Et hoc, quia, ut dicitur Prov. XI, 28: qui confidit in divitiis suis, corruet.
Notice that he calls covetousness idolatry, for idolatry happens when the honor due God alone is given to creatures. Now there is a twofold honor due God; we must establish him as the goal of our life and we must put our trust of reaching the goal in him. Hence, whoever places these in creatures is guilty of idolatry. A covetous person commits this when he fixes his end in a created reality as well as putting all his trust in it. Of their silver and their gold they have made idols to themselves, that they might perish (Hos 8:4). This happens because he that trusts in his riches shall fall (Prov 11:28).
279. Sed cum in aliis peccatis ponat homo finem suum in creatura, cui amore inhaeret, quare etiam in illis non dicitur peccator idololatra?
279. However, since in the other sins a man also puts his goal in a creature, clinging to it by love, why are they not termed idolatry too?
Respondeo. Idololatrare est aliquid exterius indebite colere. Nunc autem in aliis peccatis ponitur finis in interioribus quasi in propria exaltatione. Sed qui ponit finem in divitiis, ponit in eis finem ut in re exteriori, sicut idololatra.
I reply that idolatry consists in giving an illegitimate worship to some external object, whereas in the other sins one fixes one’s end on interior things, as though it consisted in one’s own exaltation. Whoever places his end in riches, on the other hand, fixes it in an external object as an idol.
Sed numquid avari honorem Deo debitum exhibentes creaturae, realiter sunt idololatrae, et per se? Dico quod non, quia in moralibus actus seu opera iudicantur ex fine. Ille ergo per se est idololatra, qui intendit per se cultum exhibere creaturae. Hoc autem non intendit avarus per se, sed per accidens hoc facit, inquantum superflue et inordinate diligit.
Does that mean that covetous persons, giving the honor due God to creatures, are really and essentially idolaters? I hold that they are not, because in moral issues acts or deeds are judged by their end. Therefore, only those are essentially idolaters who intend to really offer worship to a creature. A covetous person does not really intend to do this, but only happens to do it in his excessive and inordinate love for riches.
280. Et quid de tali? Non habebit haereditatem, quippe quia filii et haeredes, ut dicitur Rom. VIII, 17. Nunc autem tales non sunt filii, qui sic carnales sunt; ergo haereditatem non habent, quia, ut dicitur I Cor. c. XV, 50: caro et sanguis regnum Dei non possidebunt, id est Deum, qui dicit Ez. XLIV, v. 28: ego haereditas eorum.
280. What happens to such people? They do not possess the inheritance since heirs are sons, as Romans states (Rom 8:17). But these persons are not sons because they are carnal, therefore they do not enjoy the inheritance. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot possess the kingdom of God (1 Cor 15:50), that is, God himself, who said: I am their inheritance (Ezek 44:28).
Sed posset quaeri: si haereditas ista est ipse Deus, cum sit indivisibilis et impartibilis, quare dicit in regno Christi et Dei divisive, ac si haereditas ista sit divisibilis?
It might be asked: if the inheritance is God himself who is indivisible and inseparable, why does he say in the kingdom of Christ and of God, dividing the two as if the inheritance could be divided?
Respondeo. Haereditas nostra consistit in fruitione Dei, nunc autem Deus aliter se fruitur, et nos eo; quia Deus seipso perfecte fruitur, quia seipsum perfecte cognoscit et totaliter diligit quantum cognoscibilis et diligibilis est. Non autem sic nos, quia licet ipsum perfecte cognoscamus in patria, et per consequens diligamus, quia qui aliquid simplex attingit, ipsum totum cognoscit, etsi non totaliter, sicut lux solis si esset punctalis, humanus oculus ipsam totam apprehenderet, non totaliter, oculus vero aquilae ipsam totaliter comprehenderet. Sic et si Deum perfecte cognoscimus in patria et perfecte diligimus, sed ipsum totaliter non comprehendimus, ideo videtur ibi esse quaedam imperfectio et particularitas.
I reply. Our inheritance consists in the enjoyment of God. But God enjoys himself in a way different from that in which we shall enjoy him. God perfectly delights in himself since he perfectly knows and totally loves himself inasmuch as he is knowable and lovable. Not so with us, even though we shall perfectly know him in heaven and, as a consequence, love him. For someone may indeed grasp a simple reality and know the whole of it, yet not totally. For example, if the light of the sun were as small as a point, the human eye could perceive the whole of it, although not fully, whereas the eagle’s eye would grasp it totally. Similarly, even if we know God perfectly in heaven and love him perfectly, nevertheless we do not totally comprehend him. Hence it seems that there is a certain imperfection and individuality there.
Et ideo dicit Christi et Dei coniunctim, quasi partem cum parte ponendo, id est quia per Christum et non per alium habetur haereditas.
Therefore he says of Christ and of God conjointly, as though setting one part with another part, since it is through Christ and none other that the inheritance is had.
281. Deinde cum dicit nemo vos seducat, hic excludit fallaciam seductorum.
281. Next he says let no man deceive you, thereby rejecting a fallacy of those who would mislead them.
Et circa hoc duo facit.
Regarding this he makes two points:
Primo enim ponit admonitionem;
first, he sets down a warning;
secundo subiungit ipsius rationem, ibi eratis enim aliquando tenebrae, et cetera.
second, he adds the reason for it, at for heretofore you were darkness (Eph 5:8).
Prima iterum in duas, quia
The first has two more parts:
primo monet eos, ut non seducantur verbis, eis credendo;
first, he warns them not to be deceived into believing what is told them;
secundo ut non communicent eis mala faciendo, ibi nolite ergo effici, et cetera.
second, that they should not associate with those liars by doing evil, at therefore do not be partakers.
Prima adhuc in duas, quia
The first section still has two parts:
primo removet seductiones;
first, he puts an end to the deception;
secundo ostendit seductionis signum, ibi propter hoc enim venit ira, et cetera.
second, he shows them a sign of the deceit, at for because of these things comes the anger.
282. Notandum est ergo quod in vitiis carnalibus solum docuit cavere seductionem, quia a principio, ut homines possent libere frui concupiscentiis, cogitaverunt invenire rationes, quod fornicationes et huiusmodi venerea non essent peccata. Et ideo dicit inanibus verbis, quia sine ratione sunt talia verba, quae dicunt quod huiusmodi non sint peccata, nec excludant a regno Dei et Christi. Col. II, 8: videte ne quis vos seducat per prophetiam et inanem fallaciam.
282. Notice that only in reference to carnal vices does he teach them to avoid being deceived. For from the beginning men have rationalized to find reasons why fornication and other venereal sins were not really sins so that they might indulge their cupidity without restraint. Hence he states vain words since words that claim that these are not sins and do not exclude one from the kingdom of God and of Christ are irrational. Beware lest any man cheat you by prophecy and vain deceit (Col 2:8).
283. Et quod tales sint seductores et talia verba seducentia, ostendit, quia nisi peccata carnalia essent peccata, non punirentur a Deo, quia cum Deus sit iustus, non infligit poenam sine culpa. Nunc autem talia puniuntur a Deo, ergo peccata sunt.
283. He demonstrates that such men are deceivers and their words fallacious since, if carnal sins were not sins, they would not be punished by God; God is just and does not impose a penalty where there is no offense. But such acts are punished by God and therefore are sins.
Minorem probat, cum dicit propter haec enim venit ira Dei, scilicet propter peccata carnalia, in filios diffidentiae, ut patuit in diluvio; item in Sodomitis; item tribus Beniamin fere tota consumpta fuit propter haec.
He proves the minor when he says for because of these things comes the anger of God, namely, on account of carnal sins, upon the children of unbelief. This is evident in the flood (Gen 7), in what happened to the Sodomites (Gen 19); and again, almost the whole tribe of Benjamin was destroyed on account of this (Judg 19, 20).
Dicit autem filios diffidentiae, quia sic peccantes diffidunt de vita aeterna; quia si sic faciens speraret vitam aeternam, magis esset praesumptio, quam spes, quae est certa expectatio futurae beatitudinis ex meritis, et cetera. Unde supra IV, 19: qui desperantes semetipsos tradiderunt impudicitiae in operationem immunditiae omnis, in avaritiam. Sap. VII: nullum pratum sit quod non pertranseat luxuria nostra, et cetera. Et sequitur in fine capitis: quia tales non speraverunt mercedem iustitiae, et cetera.
He says the children of unbelief because those who sin in this way despair of eternal life. If they acted this way and still hoped for eternal life, it would rather be presumption than hope, which is the certain expectation of obtaining future beatitude meritoriously. So he mentioned previously: who, despairing, have given themselves up to lasciviousness unto the working of all uncleanness, unto covetousness (Eph 4:19). Let no meadow escape our riot. Let none of us go without his part in luxury, and near the end of the same chapter, for they hoped not for the wages of justice, nor esteemed the honor of holy souls (Wis 2:8; 22).
Dicit ergo, quod in filios diffidentiae, id est qui non confidunt de gaudiis aeternis, venit ira Dei, scilicet propter peccata. Vel diffidentiae, id est de quibus non est confidendum, quantum est ex parte meritorum.
Hence he states that upon the children of unbelief who do not hope for eternal joys, comes the anger of God on account of their sins. Or, of unbelief signifies those of whom we cannot be confident of as far as their merits are concerned.
284. Et ideo concludit nolite ergo effici participes eorum, communicando scilicet eis in talibus operibus. II Cor. VI, 14 s.: quae enim participatio iustitiae cum iniquitate, aut quae societas lucis ad tenebras, aut quae communicatio Christi ad Belial, aut quae pars fidelis cum infideli?
284. He concludes, therefore do not be partakers with them by associating with them in such actions. For what participation does justice have with injustice? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness? And what concord does Christ have with Belial? Or what part hath the faithful with the unbeliever? (2 Cor 6:14–15).
Children of the light
5:8 Eratis enim aliquando tenebrae: nunc autem lux in Domino. [n. 286] Ut filii lucis ambulate: [n. 288]
5:8 For you were heretofore darkness, but now light in the Lord. [n. 286] Walk then as children of the light. [n. 288]