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“works of the flesh”

August 26, 2008

Galations 5:19– 21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like

As I read the Strong’s definitions for each of the 17 words ( 3 pages of description in MSWord), I see that EVERY human has “flesh”.

The list of “works of the flesh” covers addictions such as sex (4), drink and drugs (3); religious issues (eg. idolatry, heresies, witchcraft); anger and pride issues; and issues of division in relationships.

The category of “flesh” which stand out to me- as a clean living, long term, church goer… are the latter two in the above paragraph. These are the ones which are not so much about those behaviors we Christians love to hate and judge. These are the fleshly divisive ATTITUDES which we have a tendency to keep right on nursing (and justifying as “righteous”).

Some of the Strong’s definitions for these are-

<2189>- hatred, enmity
<2054>- variance, strife, debate, wrangling
<2205>- emulations, zeal, fierceness of indignation, fervent mind, ardor in embracing pursuing or defending anything
<2372>- wrath, passion, heat, boiling anger
<2052>- strife, contention, putting oneself forward, being selfish
<1370>- division, dissension
<5355>- envy
<139>- heresy- a body of men following their own tenets, dissensions arising from diversity of opinions and aims

Do you see that? Debate, wrangling, division, ZEAL!, passion, contention, dissensions arising from diversity of opinions and aims. Sounds like what passes for the “Christian church” doesn’t it? YIKES!

Sadly, we Christians (myself included) are sometimes guilty of such “zeal” about some pet issue of our particular branch of Christianity… that we succumb to the “works of the flesh” in defending the “rightness” of our position. I looked up cross references for some of the “works of the flesh”. I found this:

1Co 11:19 For there must be also heresies <139> among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.

WOW! There must be heresies among you!
“that they which are approved may be made manifest among you”
What does it mean to be “approved”?
That takes me right back to Galations 5:

14For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
15But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.
16This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
… [snip “works of the flesh”]
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.


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