"THE EPISTLE TO THE GALATIANS" The Works Of The Flesh - II (5:19-21) INTRODUCTION 1. Our study of the "works of the flesh" as found in Ga 5:19-21 now focuses on eight sins... a. They are "hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy" (NKJV) b. Which have been categorized as infractions of the law of love 2. Many find it hard to conceive that these eight sins are really all that terrible... a. Notice this news clipping that made the front page of the Orlando Sentinel (1/7/81) under the heading, "Pope Widens Sin Definition": "Pope John Paul II said today that sins of the flesh are not limited to fornication, orgies and drunkenness, but include idolatry, jealousy, envy and unfriendliness. "The pope made the remarks to his weekly general audience at the Vatican, his forum for the past 14 months on the subject of sex and sin. "In his latest discussion of the subject, the pope cited St. Paul, the first-century apostle, as giving Christianity a very wide definition of sins of the flesh. "'It is significant that when Paul speaks about the works of the flesh, he mentions not only fornication, impurity, libertinage, drunkenness and orgies which are the sins of sensual pleasure,' the pope said, 'but also speaks of other sins to which we are not accustomed to attribute a carnal and sensual character: idolatry, witchcraft, unfriendliness, discord, jealousy, dissent, divisions, factionalism, and envy.'" b. The heading made it sound like the pope is declaring something new, but as the pope himself stated, this is what Paul taught in the very passage we are studying 3. Indeed, what is said of immorality and drunkenness is also said of these eight sins: "...those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God" [Therefore there is a great need to be informed as to what these sins entail, and to make a concentrated effort to put them out of our lives...] III. SINS VIOLATING THE LAW OF LOVE A. HATRED, ENMITY (Grk., echthra)... 1. Echthra means hostility, enmity, hatred - Strong 2. It describes a state and attitude of mind toward other people which involves barriers between them and you 3. Enmity is the direct opposite of love (agape); consider the contrast: a. agape - an attitude of mind which will never allow itself to be bitter to any man; always seeking the highest good of others b. echthra - the attitude which puts up barriers and draws the sword of division 4. When we allow the work of the flesh to rule (e.g., echthra), we cannot allow the Spirit to produce the proper fruit in our lives (e.g., agape) B. CONTENTIONS, STRIFE, VARIANCE, DISCORD (Grk., eris)... 1. Eris is the expression of enmity or hatred; it is the outcome in actual life of that state of mind 2. Paul uses this word to describe one of the evils that was characteristic of the pagan world - Ro 1:28-29 3. Sadly, it can also describe the condition that may exist in a church - cf. 1Co 1:11; 3:3 4. This particular sin invades churches more often, perhaps, than many others a. Because of our tendency to categorize sins, we may allow this one to linger and fester more than such sins as fornication, adultery b. Yet this sin is most destructive of Christian fellowship; it will just as easily destroy (maybe even more so) a local congregation as will sins of moral impurity C. JEALOUSIES, EMULATIONS (Grk., zelos)... 1. Zelos can be either good or bad a. Used in a good way 1) Isa 9:7 - "The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this" 2) Ro 10:1-2 - "...they have a zeal for God..." 3) Used to describe an excitement of mind, ardor, fervor of spirit, for something good b. Used in a bad way 1) 1Co 3:3 - "For where there are envy..." 2) 2Co 12:20 - "For I fear...lest there be...jealousies..." 3) A fervor of spirit that is misdirected, resulting in a form of envy and jealousy that is destructive of personal relationships 2. Zeal that is misdirected is mostly directed toward self; i.e., "selfish" a. When we are zealous for God, that is good b. When we are zealous in behalf of others' good welfare, that is good c. But when we are jealous for selfish reasons, it is wrong! 3. Such jealousy was a mark of carnality in the Christians at Corinth - cf. 1Co 3:1-3 4. In view of the coming of Christ, zelos (envy) is one of the "works of darkness" we need to cast off - Ro 13:11-14 D. OUTBURSTS OF WRATH, FITS OF RAGE (Grk., thumos)... 1. This word describes... a. The blaze of temper which flares into violent words and deeds b. The explosive temper which is uncontrolled 2. Not to be confused with... a. Righteous indignation, which is proper and controlled; e.g., the righteous indignation of God - Ro 2:4-11 b. Anger which is properly checked and not allowed to produce an occasion for sin - cf. Ep 4:26-27 3. Some try to excuse their explosive tempers as simply hereditary... a. "That is just the way I am" b. "I am just a fiery Irishman, a hot Italian, etc." c. "It is human nature" 4. But Christians, no matter what their "nature", are blessed to become partakers of "divine nature", and must therefore put away these things - cf. 2Pe 1:3-4; Ep 4:31-32; Col 3:8-11 E. SELFISH AMBITIONS, STRIFE, DISPUTES (Grk., eritheia)... 1. This word describes a self-centered attitude in the doing of any work; for example... a. Working solely for money b. Seeking and holding political office purely for personal interests and ambition c. Doing the work of the Lord out of a desire for recognition, personal ambition, or rivalry 2. It is used to describe those who were preaching Christ out of jealousy - cf. Php 1:17 3. It is this word which describes those who create party divisions in the church... a. Who are acting out of vainglory and a desire to be first b. Rather than out of a true desire to stand for truth 4. It is contrary to that "mind of Christ" described in Php 2:3-5 F. DISSENSIONS, SEDITIONS (Grk., dichostasia)... 1. This word literally means "a standing apart" 2. It describes a condition where all fellowship, all togetherness are gone a. This was the condition in the church at Corinth
- cf. 1Co 3:3 b. Paul taught we should mark those who cause such divisiveness - Ro 16:17 3. Such may be due to: a. Personal division (where two people refuse to speak to each other) b. Class division (i.e., class warfare between the rich and poor) c. Party division (where devotion to party rises above devotion to principle) d. Racial division (e.g., Jew vs. Gentile, Greek vs. barbarian, white vs. black) e. Theological division (misusing labels and fixing them unfairly on others) f. Ecclesiastical division (church division, especially in the form of denominationalism) 4. This sin is committed when we confuse... a. Prejudice with principle b. Unreasonable stubbornness with unwavering resolution G. HERESIES, FACTIONS (Grk., hairesis)... 1. It most commonly denotes a group belonging to a particular school of thought or action a. Such as the "sect" of the Sadducees - Ac 5:17 b. Or the "sect" of the Pharisees - Ac 15:5 2. Peter used it to describe false teachers who will bring in destructive divisions - 2Pe 2:1 3. Thus it refers to divisiveness, especially that brought about by false teaching 4. This word came to mean a belief or doctrine which is contrary to orthodoxy or the truth H. ENVY, ENVYING (Grk., pthonos)... 1. William Barclay offers this distinction between phthonos and zelos: a. zelos is the envy which casts grudging looks b. phthonos is the envy which has arrived at hostile deeds 2. We might also add this distinction: a. zelos is less serious, less bitter, less malignant than phthonos b. But zelos, left unchecked, can result in phthonos 3. Whereas zelos has both a good and bad sense, phthonos is always bad a. It was phthonos that moved the Jewish leaders to deliver Jesus to Pilate - Mt 27:18 b. phthonos is indicative of a reprobate mind that has denied God - Ro 1:28-29 c. It is often the result of striving over words - 1Ti 6:3-4 d. It is typical of our lives prior to salvation - Tit 3:3 e. But it is part of that which we are to "lay aside"
- 1 Pe 2:1 CONCLUSION 1. "Murders" (KJV, NKJV) is not found in the oldest manuscripts and thus omitted in some translations... a. Though it certainly is an infraction of the law of love
- cf. Ro 13:9 b. It is a sin of which even those who hate are guilty
- cf. 1Jn 3:15 2. Why are such sins included in the works of the flesh...? a. Because of what Jesus did on the cross 1) It is true that He died to reconcile man back to God
- cf. 2 Co 5:18-21 2) But also to reconcile man back to man in one body! - cf. Ep 2: 13-16 b. Because we are to preserve this reconciliation 1) Not only the "vertical" reconciliation we have with God, which we preserve by living holy lives (which is why we must also avoid sins of moral impurity) 2) But also the "horizontal" reconciliation we have with one another, which we preserve by maintaining the unity of the Spirit in the body of peace - cf. Ep 4:1-3 3. Therefore, infractions of the law of love undo the work of Christ on the cross...! a. Dare we commit sins of moral impurity to jeopardize our reconciliation with God? b. Neither should we violate the law of love and jeopardize our reconciliation with one another 4. They also prevent us from producing the fruit of the Spirit in our lives... a. For such sins are certainly contrary to the Spirit - cf. Ga 5:17 b. Making it impossible for us to enjoy love, joy, peace, etc. - cf. Ga 5:22 Our next study will conclude our look at the works of the flesh by noticing the sins of intemperance...