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The Works of the Flesh vs. The Fruit of the Spirit (Part 3)

The apostle Paul says that the works of the flesh include "adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envying, murders, drunkenness, revelries" (Galatians 5:19-21). These 17 things are practiced by those who WILL NOT inherit the kingdom of God. They are also in opposition to fruit of Spirit which includes "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control" (Galatians 5:22-23). Let’s consider a few more of these works of the flesh…

Wrath = This spiritual attack is against our nature. This includes great anger, harshness, fierceness and violence (John 5:42, Romans 7:5, Galatians 5:24, 6:7-8, Ephesians 4:31, James 1:19-20, Revelation 2:23). Like hatred, this is the antithesis of the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12).

Strife = This spiritual attack is against our spirit. This includes arguing, irritation, opposition and contention (Matthew 12:25-26, Romans 2:8-9, 12:17-18, 13:13, I Timothy 2:23, James 3:16). The Scriptures make it abundantly clear that God hates division (Romans 16:17) and that He is not the author of confusion (I Corinthians 14:33).

Seditions = This spiritual attack is against our heart. This includes covert resistance, insurrection, uprising, revolts and direct rebellion (Romans 16:17-18, I Corinthians 1:10, II Corinthians 12:20). It is impossible to serve two masters (Matthew 6:24). In the Old Testament we see several patterns of rebellion in Israel. Each time cause them to meet God’s wrath.

Heresies = This spiritual attack is against our mind. This includes open opposition, dissentions, schisms, teaching error, sowing discord, demanding to have your way, stubbornly following traditions, and outright resistance to the truth (I Corinthians 11:16-19, Ephesians 4:31, Colossians 3:8, I Timothy 6:3-5, Titus 3:9-11, II Peter 2:1). Like seditions, these are complicated disagreements that divide the mind and cause doubt to rise.

Envying = This spiritual attack is also against our heart. This includes ill-will, spite, jealousy, animosity, enmity and resentment (Romans 13:13, I Corinthians 3:3, Philippians 2:14, I Timothy 6:4-5, James 3:14-16, 4:5). The “pride of life” can be a difficult hurdle for many Christians (I John 2:16).

Next week we will conclude this series on the works of the flesh. Have a great week!

You are loved.

Dr. Ray Reynolds

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