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Thursday, September 05 2019

Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai

INTRODUCTION: In last week’s study we looked at living our lives by the Spirit of God; where we examined how to live in the liberty of Christ and using this liberty in serving one another in love and walking in holiness. The contrary to living by the Spirit is living in the flesh. And that is what we will be considering in today’s study – being able to identify the acts and works so as to be able to avoid and or discard them when faced with them. Galatians 9:19-21 (AMP) says:

“19 Now the practices of the sinful nature are clearly evident: they are sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality (total irresponsibility, lack of self-control), 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions [that promote heresies], 21 envy, drunkenness, riotous behaviour, and other things like these. I warn you beforehand, just as I did previously, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

Let’s read the same scripture in The Living Bible version:

“But when you follow your own wrong inclinations, your lives will produce these evil results: impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, 20 idolatry, spiritism (that is, encouraging the activity of demons), hatred and fighting, jealousy and anger, constant effort to get the best for yourself, complaints and criticisms, the feeling that everyone else is wrong except those in your own little group—and there will be wrong doctrine, 21 envy, murder, drunkenness, wild parties, and all that sort of thing. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.”

  1. VERSE 19 - THE FLESH MANIFESTED

Paul starts off by saying: " Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these" and then he lists them

What is the flesh?

Paul uses the word "flesh" to mean: "something that is totally human, with no special grace attached." In Paul's use of the term "flesh" in Galatians, he does not simply mean: "possessed of a physical body"; rather, he means: "limited to only a physical body and the physical strength it contains."

So the flesh is what you do in your own power, in your own strength, what you can do yourself - which is legalism. Legalism is anything that I think I can do in order to make myself more righteous before God. It is human achievement; it's a form of self-righteousness.

To walk after the flesh is to seek life in terms of what man can accomplish of himself. Doing all kinds of religious things in the flesh. The flesh can preach a sermon, sing songs of praise, pray, fast, etc.

Most humans do not spontaneously, naturally and consistently humble themselves to serve others in meekness and kindness. Matter of fact, right attitudes and actions do not come out of us as naturally as light and heat come out of the sun. We know they don't.

On the other hand, walking in the flesh takes almost no effort whatsoever on our part - it comes quite naturally. What takes constant hard work and diligence is walking by the Spirit.

What Paul was delivering here to the Galatian churches is that if the flesh is defined as our humanity, and as life without the power of the Spirit of God, then let us just look at humanity without God and ask ourselves: Where does humanity go if God isn't in the picture?

As people are just left to do it themselves, where do they go? Do they become more righteous? Do they become more moral? Or do they just drift away from God into sin? Paul is saying the answer to that question is pretty obvious: just look around.

The same applies to us today. "You know what the flesh produces, just look around." Look at every environment where God (and true worship) has been pulled out from and ask yourself: Is that environment becoming more righteous or less? Is it becoming more moral or less? (Romans 1:21-32)

  1. VERSE 20 - CATEGORIZATION OF THE WORKS OF THE FLESH

(a) SEXUAL: The first three sins Paul listed could be categorized as sexual: immorality, impurity, sensuality (total irresponsibility, lack of self-control).

Immorality: Foremost among the acts of the flesh is immorality, this is from the Greek word porneia, which is often translated as fornication.

Impurity: It is a more general term than immorality, going beyond the act to the evil thoughts and intentions of the mind. It could refer to what we would call perverted forms of sex - homosexuality, child abuse, and various strange and kinky sexual practices.

Sensuality: It speaks of someone who flaunts their immorality ((total irresponsibility, lack of self-control), throwing off all restraint and having no sense of shame, propriety, or embarrassment.

We are often appalled at the sexual immorality of our day, but we should remember that the times Paul wrote in were as bad, if not worse. The purpose of Paul listing out these works of the flesh is for our realization and abstinence. Clearly, God's will for believers is sexual purity

Let's look at some of the Bible's exhortations against this sexual sin:

  • Ephesians 5:5 (TLB) “You can be sure of this: The Kingdom of Christ and of God will never belong to anyone who is impure or greedy, for a greedy person is really an idol worshiper—he loves and worships the good things of this life more than God”
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4 (TLB) “For God wants you to be holy and pure and to keep clear of all sexual sin so that each of you will marry in holiness and honour—"
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:6 (TLB) And this also is God’s will: that you never cheat in this matter by taking another man’s wife because the Lord will punish you terribly for this, as we have solemnly told you before.”

(b) RELIGIOUS idolatry, sorcery,

The next category is Religious sin and Paul mentions two:

Idolatry: Idolatry is the worship of something or someone other than the true God. Christians commit idolatry when they put anything ahead of God. When we put our careers, business or family before God, we commit idolatry. Some people make money their god. Anything that we put in the principal place of our lives other than God Himself is idolatry.

Sorcery: Sorcery is the use of magical arts, often in connection with idolatry. This sin attempts to do something that normal means cannot accomplish. It steps into the domain of mysteries and exploits occult powers to enter the supernatural.

(c) THE FALLEN NATURE: The next category is sins toward others comprising of a fairly long list of sins we are conversant with. The Living Bible version lists them out clearly, hatred and fighting, jealousy and anger, constant effort to get the best for yourself, complaints and criticisms, the feeling that everyone else is wrong except those in your own little group—and there will be wrong doctrine, 

Paul now lists sins toward others. Sins of faulty relationships flow naturally from the fallen nature of the sons of Adam. Non-believers may be cultured or refined, but they are unadulterated flesh. They cannot produce the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). They do what comes naturally. They do not care whether it is right or wrong, religious or irreligious. Life is simple for non-believers, because all they have is flesh. Every believer has the same potential as a lost person, if he or she allows the sin capacity to operate without the power of the Spirit. Victory comes to the believer, not by changing his or her overt behaviour patterns, but by the counteracting power of the Spirit of God.

VERSE 21 - CONCLUSION

Sexual promiscuity in our day is less shocking than it once was. Homosexual sins are less outrageous. This is because sexual looseness has become pandemic through television and other forms of media. Most everyone in our culture grows immune to this deterioration of standards because of the sheer weight of non-Christian information and communication in our society.

Some Christians “practice” some of these sins at least mentally every day. There will be great shock at the judgment seat of Christ when Jesus will hand out very few rewards because they allowed themselves to fall prey to the deterioration of morality. We can hardly distinguish between the standards of believers and non-believers today. Carnal Christians characterized by moral corruption shall not inherit the Kingdom of God

This study was culled from: http://www.bereanbiblechurch.org/transcripts/galatians/5_22.htm and https://versebyversecommentary.com/galatians/galatians-520/

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 03:34 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
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