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The Works of the Flesh vs. The Fruit of the Spirit (Part 4)

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…

Murders = This is a spiritual attack against other people. It includes killing, torture, misery, torment, tribulation, trials, temptations, organized slaughter or to slay another person (Matthew 5:19-22, I John 3:12,15). Jesus says even thinking ill of someone can put you in danger of eternal judgment (Matthew 5:21-22, Ephesians 4:31, Colossians 3:8). It is an issue of the heart.

Drunkenness = This is a spiritual attack against the flesh. This includes alcoholism, intoxication, inebriety, insobriety, intemperance, and is often combined with debauchery or being bewitched and drunk with desire (Luke 12:45-46, 21:34, Romans 13:13, I Corinthians 6:10, Ephesians 5:18, I Thessalonians 5:6-9). This is often listed among sins that evident in those who have no inheritance in the kingdom of God (Isaiah 5:11-22). The best way to avoid drunkenness is to never drink. Alcoholism is one of the most addicting, and easily remedied, sins in the list. It is impossible to become an alcoholic if you never drink alcohol.

Revelries = This is another spiritual attack against the flesh. This includes wild partying, carousing, rioting, letting loose of inhibitions, drunken rampages, debauchery, orgies, excess merriment, buffoonery and flippantly romping (Luke 12:45-46, Romans 13:13, I Corinthians 6:10, I Thessalonians 4:5, I Peter 4:3). This is a sin that reveals the inability to practice self-control. Wild and reckless parties should not be desirable to a Christian.

One of the greatest benefits to free will is the ability to make independent choices. Unfortunately, we also have the choice to make poor decisions. Our Christian freedom (liberty) is a two edged sword. This list exposes the difference between those who walk in the light and those who walk in darkness. It causes us to take spiritual inventory. Which list represents your life? The works of the flesh or the fruit of the Spirit?

There is still time to repent of these works. Paul’s letter was intended to convict the sinners and bring real change among the Gentiles. The pagan way of life provides a divisive, sinful spirit. Those works need to cease. A Christian, who bears the fruit of the Spirit, will have good works that are clearly evident to both believers and non-believers.

Notice that Paul's list seems to be only a partial list. The works of the flesh are many and varied. Christ is the only answer! We must place our faith in Christ, be covered by His blood, and bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit if we wish to avoid the condemnation that Paul describes. How is that possible? Get your life in sync with God’s will.

May God bless you this week!!!

You are loved.

Dr. Ray Reynolds

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