Now the deeds resulting from the flesh pursuing its desires are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery [drug use], enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, orgies [unrestrained parties], and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Let’s start with a few word definitions:
- Sexual immortality: In many of the translations both adultery and fornication are listed. Fornication seems to be the modern forgotten sin—written off as an archaic rule that no longer applies to our modern, sophisticated culture. Sex outside the bonds of marriage is always wrong. This is the basic sin of homosexuality also. God designed sex to be confined within the marriage covenant. This covenant is between a man, a woman, and God.
- Pornography: the word used and translated as fornication is porneia. Vine’s defines this as “harlotry (including adultery and incest); figuratively, idolatry, translated: fornication.” It is the root word of pornography, which I usually call lusting after other men’s women. Then there is the modern psychobabble term: sexual addiction.
- Sorcery: From Vine’s we see this is not what we expect. The word used is pharmakeia (English: “pharmacy,” etc.) defined as “the use of medicine, drugs, spells. In that day, the drugs were administered with incantations and pleadings to occult powers. In fact, much of sorcery is about protection from demons. The basic meaning is the use of drugs to obtain power. For us, this is the modern practice of medicine. No, I am not saying that you should quit taking your medicine. I’m saying that you need to be careful.
Where are you looking for your healing? If it is not to God, you are missing the boat. We take medicine in obedience to our doctor—after we discern that the Lord wants us to go to the doctor.
But there are lines that should not be crossed lightly. Acupuncture, yoga, meditation, biofeedback, and the whole host of fleshly and occultic practices that are masquerading themselves as modern medicine or eastern medicine are fraught with danger spiritually.
- Seditions/divisions: dichostasia strife and division are among Paul’s most common warnings—they also make the list of the seven things the Lord hates in Proverbs 6:19.
- Party spirit: Let’s quote Vine’s here “hairesis… properly, a choice, i.e. (specially) a party …: heresy (which is the Greek word itself), sect.” This one is not commonly taught. Obviously this is not about wild parties, but something much worse.
One of Satan’s greatest tools is division, strife, and/or party spirit
In our modern culture, we see this in politics, brand marketing, being hip or cool, plus many denominations are the result of this work of the flesh.
Some heresies are obvious. Paul is dealing with one of the biggies here in Galatians—the circumcision party. Others are more subtle like the “cult of the thin” infecting our culture today. I call the modern thin look the cadaver look. These women and men look scrawny unto death. They do not look healthy. It’s a distortion of how we were designed to live and grow old.
Some of these things cannot be avoided. It is important to know which churches actually believe that Jesus is both man and God, for example. It is crucial to accept the death on the cross and the resurrection.
But a lot of the divisions we see today involve personal style. This is not good. Making divisions based on the type of music, style of preaching, and the like are works of the flesh in almost all cases.
The basic focus of fleshy works is separation, anger, hostility, and selfishness. The most common tools dividing us today, brought out by Satan and his cohorts in the twentieth century, are cars, radio, television, movies, internet, cell phones, and all the rest of our modern benefits that limit personal contact and responsibility.
The enemy’s focus has been on the destruction of community, family, and relationships in general. Leadership is mocked. Niches are glorified. How close is a FaceBook friend, anyway?