The Church That Cares For Your Soul

The Works of the Flesh

Galatians 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: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

The works of the flesh are listed here Galatians 5.  There are a total of 18.  That can be compared to the nine fruits of the spirit later in the chapter.  It is interesting to note that they are called works of the flesh as opposed to sins of the flesh.  The definition of this kind of work would be.

Work –  That which is made or done; Action; deed; feat; achievement; moral duties or external performances, as distinct from grace

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary

A work is something produced externally or in the flesh.  Fruit grows from the inside out on a tree.  It is produced from within.  Obviously a Christian could get mixed up in any of these works produced from the outside or the flesh.  A work produced from the outside is a work of the flesh and falls within the works listed here.  I believe these 18 works can be grouped into about six categories.  They would be:

  1. The Works of False Purity – Adultery, Fornication, Uncleaness, and Lasciviousness
  2. The Works of False Worship – Idolatry and Witchcraft
  3. The Works of False Temper – Hatred, Variance, Emulations, Wrath, Strife and Murder
  4. The Works of False Doctrine – Seditions and Heresies
  5. The Works of False Desires – Envyings
  6. The Works of False Joy – Revellings and Such Like
The works of false purity cover a wide gambit from uncleaness to adultery.  Many a Christian is guilty of unclean thoughts who has never committed adultery but yet God lumps them all in together here.
Next you have the works of false worship.  Rebellion is close cousin to witchcraft.  When you go against God given authority in your life you are saying God is not sovereign but you are.  You can make your own decisions.  As a result you begin to worship self rather than God.
The works of false temper all center around a lack of a spirit controlled life.  When self controls us, sooner or later hatred and wrath are manifest as works of our flesh. When someone becomes very angry we say they have “lost” their temper.  I would really say that for the Christian, the spirit of God has lost control.
The works of false doctrine happen when pride sets in and man starts to replace the clear teachings of the Word of God with man exalting doctrines.  Satan ultimately wants worship and any worship not directed toward God he considers a victory.  Seditions and heresies always seem to spring from a rebellious attitude toward some doctrine in God’s word.  When someone does not like what the Bible says, they often use passages out of context to create new doctrines.  These new doctrines almost always include some kind of work or something someone has to do to get saved or stay saved.
The works of false desires or envyings is when we start to grow discontent with what God has for our life and begin to desire other things.  Many are not content with their place or position.  Are you “just” a faithful Christian but not some world renowned missionary?  If that is what God intended for you, then you are fulfilling God’s purpose for your life.  However, if God called you to the mission field and you are not following that call, that is a different story.  You need God’s desires.
Lastly there are the works of false joy. You can have a joy that is based in the Lord or a joy based in the world.  If all you crave is worldly amusements and don’t want the joy of the Lord in your heart, you have a false joy.  Revellings and such like with the parties and amusements of the world should not be the source of joy for God’s children.  Your joy and strength has to be in the Lord.
Make sure you have the fruit of spirit and not the works of the flesh in your life.

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