2 Timothy 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 3:2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3:3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 3:4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
Today we come to the last item of the “works of the flesh”as listed in Galatians 5:21 which is “revellings”.
Actually this is not the final work of the flesh for after listing all of these works, Paul then adds “and such like”, which indicates that there are even more. Therefore this list is not intended by Paul to be an exhaustive list of all the types of the works of the flesh that men are capable of having and doing. This list of seventeen works just covers the broad spectrum of the kinds of “evils” that make up our human nature and come out manifested as these sins. This list reveals human nature with its basic attitudes, inclinations, habits, lusts; all of which dwells in all of human beings to one degree or another.
Romans 3:10 As it is written, here is none righteous, no, not one: 3:11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 3:12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 3:13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: 3:14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: 3:15 Their feet are swift to shed blood: 3:16 Destruction and misery are in their ways: 3:17 And the way of peace have they not known: 3:18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.
Paul shows by this partial list, an array of evils that the flesh is capable of producing. We as Christians must come to see them for what they truly are and then strive to root them out of our lives with God’s help by the power of His Spirit. None of these works will be allowed in God’s coming Kingdom and those that do these things will have no part in His kingdom.
This week we study into what the work of the flesh called “revelling’s” is all about and how this too, is a depravity of the human spirit. Revelling basically means “partying” but can also be understood as partying to the point of an orgy. It is a type of the “works of the flesh” that takes ecstatic pleasure in sinning, in having a “party spirit” or takes delight in carousing and rioting with others; most often under the influence of intoxicating substances.
Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 5:20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 5:21 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 Greek word for “revelling” is kómos (Strong’s #2970) and means: a village festival, revel (Strong’s Concordance)
2970 kṓmos (originally, village-merrymaking that took place at the gathering of the grapes, Souter) – a riotous party (drunken feast) which hosted unbridled sexual immorality; hence, revelings (debauched “partying”). (kṓmos) had the original meaning, ” ‘a carousal,’ such as a party of revelers parading the streets, or revels held in religious ceremonies, wild, furious, and ecstatic” (K. Wuest, Word Studies, Vol 2, Pastoral Epistles, 1 Peter, 112).] (HELPS Word-studies)
So we see that revelry is associated with the “negative aspects” of partying such as drunkenness, fornication, carousing, out of control behavior in a group of people who are inciting each other on and having a “merry time” committing sin.
God Does Not Condemn Wholesome Fellowship and Celebration
We know that God is not against feasting, fellowshipping and having a good time in a proper manner. Jesus admonished his disciples to remember the poor and the disabled when making a feast [banquet, party]. The Greek word for “feast” in this verse is doché (Strong’s #1403) and means: a reception, party, a feast, banquet. (Strong’s Concordance)
Luke 14:13 But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: 14:14 And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.
When the prodigal son returned home, his father immediately called for a party to celebrate the fact that he had come home. This story is a metaphor of how God celebrates when sinners repent and turn back to Him. How much more will God be celebrating when the captives come home to Him in the Millennium, weeping and repenting of their sins and prodigal living; and then when the billions repent in the Main Fall Harvest of souls.
Luke 15:22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: 15:23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: 15:24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. 15:25 Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing.
Luke 15:9 And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. 15:10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.
Jesus himself attended and celebrated with others at weddings; He also stated that He “came eating and drinking”, indicating that He enjoyed feasting with good food and wine.
John 2:1 And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: 2:2 And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage.
Matthew 11:18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil. 11:19 The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.
And God, of course, commands His people to appear before Him at His Feasts where He says that they are to rejoice and enjoy good fellowship, food and drink while at the same time spending lots of time worshiping, and learning of God and His ways while they are there.
Deuteronomy 16:16 Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the Lord empty:
Deuteronomy 12:11 Then there shall be a place which the Lord your God shall choose to cause his name to dwell there; thither shall ye bring all that I command you; your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the heave offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which ye vow unto the Lord: 12:12 And ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God, ye, and your sons, and your daughters, and your menservants, and your maidservants, and the Levite that is within your gates; forasmuch as he hath no part nor inheritance with you.
Biblical Examples of Reveling
It is when the feasting and fellowshipping is carried over to drunkenness, indecent behavior and letting down of morals that it becomes “revellings”.
An example of this kind of thing happened shortly after God had come down and given the nation of Israel His commandments and while Moses was with Him on the mountain.
The Israelites had quickly turned aside from God and proceeded to have a feast of their own. It was the kind of feast (wild party) dedicated to their own idol; a golden calf that they had demanded from Aaron to make for them. Revelling is in essence idol worship for the things the revelers do are of Satan and not of God. They are putting their seeking of sin-filled pleasure before any kind of regard or respect for the commandments or things of God.
Exodus 32:3 And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. 32:4 And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. 32:5 And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the Lord. 32:6 And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play. 32:7 And the Lord said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: 32:8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
As we talked about on the subject of drunkenness, Jesus strictly warned His disciples not to let their hearts become over burdened with surfeiting, which is defined as giddiness, headache, and nausea from self-indulgence, drunkenness; and also with the worldly worries and cares pertaining to the business of this life, lest that day come upon them suddenly like a trap or a noose.
Keep Alert and be Watchful
Luke 21:34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. 21:35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. 21:36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
To watch we must remain sober and alert and not allow ourselves to be sidetracked by seeking the pleasures of this world. Jesus also stressed that we are to stay in a prayerful attitude so that we qualify to stand before Him when He returns at the resurrection of the just. If we heed Jesus’ instruction to always be ready, to be awake and alert, and prayerful we will be able to discern the times just before or as they are happening.
Luke 21:31 So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.
Romans 13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 13:12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13:13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 13:14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
1 Thessalonians 5:1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. 5:2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 5:3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 5:4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. 5:5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. 5:6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. 5:7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. 5:8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. 5:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
God Has Called Us Out of Darkness
Not always, but revelling usually does take place at night, during the dark time. When do the bars become packed and when are they the loudest? Usually beginning in the evening until late at night or early morning, and it is at these times when most of the drunken arrests take place and when accidents caused by drunk drivers occur.
But when God calls a person, He calls us out of this kind of lifestyle. If God begins to call us and we respond to His call, in repentance and committing to never again do these kinds of things or anything else that is considered sin, God says that He will deliver us from the power of darkness and He will put us on the path to His Kingdom, a path that is lit up with the fruit of righteousness rather than the works of darkness.
Colossians 1:10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; 1:11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; 1:12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 1:13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 1:14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
Once we have been forgiven and become the children of light, we are to walk in God’s light (which is the keeping of all God’s laws and commandments) watching and waiting for Christ’s return. Not that we just sit and do nothing while we wait, but we keep busy doing those things that Jesus says we are to occupy our time with while we still have the time.
Luke 12:42 And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? 12:43 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. 12:44 Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.
No matter how long it takes for Jesus to return, whether in is in the second watch or the third or whatever watch it should happen to be, we are to persevere to the end and not become weary in well doing all the while remaining sober, watchful and alert. Who knows for certain whether anyone shall live another day?
Luke 12:36 And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.
12:37 Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.
12:38 And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.
Luke 12:45 But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken;12:46 The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.
As long as we have Christ with us and we are walking with Him, conforming ourselves into His image, we are abiding in Him and He in us as we live out our lives in this present evil world. But He cautions us to remain in His light that we can continue to be “children of light”.
John 12:35 Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. 12:36 While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.
1 John 4:14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. 4:15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.
Let Our Moderation Be Known by All Men
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 5:24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
The life of a mature growing Christian is a life that exhibits these characteristics rather than the works of the flesh. When it comes to revelry, the antidote against that work is to have the fruit of the Spirit, but especially the fruit of temperance which is self control. If we have God’s Spirit and we are controlling our passions and the desire to fit in with those around us, then we will be repelled by even the thought of wild and riotous living.
Philippians 4:5 Let your moderation [unselfishiness, your considerateness, your forbearing spirit] be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
To be moderate refers to being stable, it is moderation of the desires and and passions, having a sound mind and exhibiting that soundness with restraint and self-control. It is a sober, mature mind that takes life and especially a calling from God very seriously. It is the opposite of a mind that is frivolous, giddy, full of silliness, with excessive desire to have fun all the time.
We live in a materialistic pleasure seeking culture that promotes the idea that happiness is derived from a life of stimulation, getting high and sexual exploits. Those who exhibit these traits show an immaturity and a lack of modesty, moderation and self-control, all of which seems to permeate our modern western culture which is getting worst as time goes by. For evidence all we have to do is look around us, read the news paper, watch the rich and famous celibates and how they live, visit a college or even our locale schools. (Please see 2 Timothy 3:1-5 again)
A child of God refrains from this kind of behavior and he or she is marked by showing self-control and moderation. Yes, this one may be made fun of for not wanting to partake of the parties and social gatherings that end up in over-drinking and other forms of debauchery, but we have been called to better things in life than to be always seeking the things that others deem as pleasurable and fulfilling. But if we are growing in the wisdom of God, we know that these kinds of things are only pleasurable and fulfilling for a little while; either early or later, eventually the pleasures that revilers seek only serves to bring misery and bad consequences on themselves.
1 Peter 4:1 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; 4:2 That he no longer should live the rest of [his] time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. 4:3 For the time past of [our] life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: 4:4 Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with [them] to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:
Galatians 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 6:8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
Revelling is a fleshly work which often brings the immediate reaping of the consequences; for under the intoxicating effects of alcohol and being in a mob type atmosphere: fornication, carousing and uncontrolled behavior can quickly result in horrible things happening. Really bad things can happen that have lasting effects for the rest of our lives; or we could even lose our lives if things get so out of control that violence erupts.
On the other hand those who are called by God can use their lack of wanting to participate when urged to join the “fun”, to witness to those around them that they are not living according to the ways of the world. Others are watching us and even if they mock us, they are receiving a witness that these things are sins against God and ought not to be done.
Whether we realize it or not, the way that we live our lives; in moderation and in obedience to God, gives those who know us, evidence that we really do live according to what we say we believe. If we say that we believe in obeying God and keeping all of His commandments and then give in to joining our peers at their parties where sinful behavior is taking place, then we provide them with a false witness and we lose our credibility as a Christian.
If we too begin to drink excessively and act similar to the unconverted then we reinforce in their minds that those who claim to be Christians are hypocrites and that they are not to be trusted to be who they say they are. That is why we must behave to God’s standards even when we are feasting before Him wherever we keep His Feasts. We want to have good fellowship and celebrate God’s way of life when we are attending the holy festivals, but always being mindful that others, specially the community and the workers that are serving us, are observing and taking note of how we act and behave.
If we use the Feast time to have social parties with those who are consuming too much alcohol and begin to act just like any other carnal group that comes to their community, we lose our opportunity to witness to them what the Feast is all about, and what God is all about. We are not to even have an appearance of evil when it comes to these things, yet sometimes we do hear of instances at the Feast of Ingathering’s with drunkenness, improper music and conduct, causing annoyance to other guests and such things. These things just ought not to be.
It is not wrong to feel good; however when we lose our moral compass or moral filter for our behavior; what the world calls losing our inhibitions; then we have imbibed too much and have reached the point of drunkenness and loss of self control that opens us up to sin.
The Feasts are to honor God and to come together to strengthen each other in our faith and to learn more about God’s Plan and Purpose, not to have a field day with partying and carousing with our brethren.
It is also an opportunity to be lights to the dying world with how we conduct ourselves by the deportment we exhibit, the attitudes we show forth, and the words we use to communicate with each other and with those who are outside our group.
When we exhibit moderation and godliness in all of our behavior and in all of our activities, we cannot help but to send a silent message to the unbelievers in our midst that we are serious about our faith and that we belong to a Great God who Himself is holy and expects His children to be holy even when we gather together at the various Feast sites. Being moderate, exercising self-control and self-restraint and having peaceful, wholesome, family type gatherings will speak volumes to those on the outside who may be watching us.
Avoid Even of the Appearance of being a Reveler
We have all heard the saying “birds of a feather flock together” and “you are known by the company you keep”. These sayings are not in the Bible but they reflect what everyone comes to know about hanging out with those who are of dubious character.
1 Thessalonians 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.
This brings us, once again, to the importance of avoiding evil company. The very first psalm deals with this matter. This psalm speaks of the two different paths, the way of sinners and the way of the righteous. It begins by telling us that we are blessed if we don not walk, stand, or sit with the ungodly.
Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. 1:4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. 1:5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 1:6 For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
Bad company will cause us to soon lose our focus on the things of God, just being around those who are flagrantly sinning exposes us to ungodly influence and it is easy to start thinking like they do, then talking like them and soon we are acting like them.
The Bible warns us that we must avoid bad company, and knowing the ramifications of how they can effect us, we must avoid it like the plague. If we are seeking God’s companionship and His influence, and keep company with those of like-mind in the spiritual things of God, we will take on God’s nature and not the nature of bad company.
Solomon also gives us very wise advice for those who want to walk in God’s ways; that the influence of hanging out with fools that we allow to be our companions can be our total undoing!
Proverbs 13:20 He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.
In many of Paul’s epistles, he admonishes the brethren to avoid sin and evil, and he repeatedly uses such terms as: flee, avoid, shun, depart, turn away, and “from such withdraw yourself”.
We would be very wise if we will only heed what he has to say, for if we stay “far from a false matter”, or sin-filled environments when we can, we will be protected from the influence of sinners including those who like to party and “revel at banquets.” And even if were to attend their parties while staunchly making up our minds that we will not join in with them, would that really please God? We are not to even have fellowship with those who walk in darkness.
1 Corinthians 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 6:15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
1 Corinthians 10:21 Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.
Paul explains that a little bit of sin, a little bit of compromise and toleration can leaven a whole congregation or any kind of association for that matter.
1 Corinthians 5:6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?
Galatians 5:7 Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? 5:8 This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. 5:9 A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.
A few verses later in 1 Corinthians 5, Paul shows us that even members of our assemblies who call themselves Christians should be avoided if they are unrepentant of habitual serious sin and we should not fellowship with them. We are actually helping them by avoiding them for by doing so we make them aware of the seriousness of their sin and hopefully they will come to themselves before it is too late and they will see their need to repent of these things. And if we refuse to do as the apostle commands in this passage we risk becoming leavened with their attitude of unrepentance and compromise, and by tolerating them in our midst we are actually giving our approval to their sinful behavior. (Romans 1:32)
1 Corinthians 5:9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: 5:10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. 5:11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.
The apostle Peter also speaks of the debauchery of the world’s activities and how people give in to their lust-filled desires and if we were partakers with them, he exhorts us to withdraw ourselves from these kinds of friends and seek to live according to the will of God, ceasing to do according to the will of carnal folks. (See again 1 Peter 4:1-5)
Paul wrote to the Thessalonians that it is the will of God that they abstain from certain sexual sins, always exercising self-control in how they use their bodies, being sanctified [set apart] and living honorably and not like the unbelievers who do no know God.
1 Thessalonians 4:3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: 4:4 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; 4:5 Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:
All of these evils make up a package of what we call the “works of the flesh” and once we begin to give in to one sin it leads to the next, and we know that if we break one of the commandments, we are guilty of breaking them all. The works of the flesh really do not stand individually on their own but they are interconnected to each other, just as the fruits of God’s Spirit are a whole package of righteousness and work in conjunction with each other; they are the foundation of what it means to live a pure way of life.
Keeping company with flagrant sinners is like exposing ourselves to someone with a highly contagious disease, and it is easy to catch what they have if we allow ourselves to be in their presence for very long. Instead it is protection against the wiles of those who would beguile us into sinning as they sin if we quarantine ourselves from them as much as we possibly can.
Ephesians 5:8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: 5:9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) 5:10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. 5:12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.
Paul is saying that to avoid the darkness we are to walk in the light, rather than walk in the works of the flesh, we are to replace bad works with good works. Continuing on in this section of Ephesians he prescribes avoiding the works of the flesh by being filled with God’s Holy Spirit.
Ephesian 5:13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. 5:14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. 5:15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 5:16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 5:17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 5:19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 5:20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; 5:21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
If we make a conscience effort to fill ourselves up with God’s Spirit rather than wine and dissipation we will naturally empower ourselves to overcome the temptations that come our way.
Romans 12:21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
Bringing Into Captivity Those Things that are Against God and His Ways
With God in us by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we can be triumphant over these things if we keep persevering.
2 Corinthians 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
All of us are subjected to the downward pull of human nature and its affects are experienced by every one of us. We are all constantly bombarded with the negative thoughts, ideas, and attitudes broadcast of Satan the deceiver, the prince of the power of the air. His influence is the source of carnal nature and the evils that it produces whether it is envy, hated, murders, sexual immorality, lying, and everything else that is evil. But we are to bring into captivity every thought and every action to the obedience of Christ. How do we in all practicality do that? We take up the whole armor of God.
Ephesians 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 6:14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
Everyday as we wake up we can begin to fill our minds with God’s Word, meditating on it, praying to Him about everything we are thinking about and everything that is going on in our lives. We then keep our minds on those things which are from above all day long. As we go through our daily activities and whatever is happening around us, or in our interacting with others, we can have in the back of our minds, “am I pleasing God with these thoughts, or this activity, or what I am watching” and as we run all that we think and all that we do through a spiritual filter system; we discard the not so good and keep the things that we know He approves of.
We Overcome the Works of the Flesh by the Power of the Spirit
All of the evils of the flesh make up a package of what is called the “works of the flesh” and once we begin to give in to one sin it leads to the next, and we know that if we break one of the commandments, we are guilty of breaking the whole law.
The works of the flesh really do not stand individually on their own but are interconnected to each other, just as the fruits of God’s Spirit are a package of righteousness and they work in conjunction with each other; these fruits are the foundation of what it means to live a pure way of life and to have God’s divine nature operating within us.
We can change our human nature to God’s divine nature and we do not have to be enslaved to sin. We must keep our eyes on the goal of what God has for us in the future, if we keep walking with Him and never turn aside until the very end of our lives, we will have the victory. We have our Great God who is only a thought or a prayer away and if we start to slip up, we can cry out to Him to help us. God desires for us to develop strong, righteous character and to live in a way that blesses us and others. He wants us to be joyous and fruitful to Him with zeal and enthusiasm and to present our bodies as living sacrifices in His service.
Romans 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 6:7 For he that is dead is freed from sin. 6:8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 6:9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 6:10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 6:12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 6:13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
Our God is not powerless and feeble. He is completely able to protect us and provide us with strength to overcome the pulls of the flesh, not just revelings but all of the so called “works of the flesh”. He is the the Almighty Creator God whom we acknowledge as our God and His is all powerful, especially when His help to overcome all of these things is needed.
Psalm 68:35 O God, thou art terrible out of thy holy places: the God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power unto his people. Blessed be God
Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
In Galatians 5 the apostle Paul warns us about the works of the flesh but in the same chapter he gives instruction as to how we are to defeat them and their corruption; and that is to “walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16.
He says goes on to say:
Galatians 5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 5:18 But if ye are led by the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
Paul also talks about this principle in Romans 7 and again he tells us that it is through our Lord, Jesus Christ that we find our help.
Romans 7:21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 7:22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 7:23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 7:24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 7:25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
It is by the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit that we are able to defeat he works of the flesh. Carnal man on his own just cannot. It may be that we sometimes just do not realized what a truly wonderful and empowering gift we have been given by God. We are at this time just flesh and blood individuals and we cannot see the invisible things of God, but they are nevertheless more real that this physical world for those who are being led by the Spirit and have eyes to see.
1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.2:10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
Galatians 4:6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 4:7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
We have the power of God dwelling in us which permeates our hearts and mind and it is by His power that we fight against the powers of the flesh if we are allowing His Spirit to lead us.
If we have faith that God provides us with this power then we must set our minds to act under the guidance and influence of that Spirit rather than on the spirit that is in the world. Christians still do battle with the lusts of the flesh but we have mighty weapons through God for pulling down these carnal works [strong holds]. We need to have faith in God that He is able to help us and to defeat the passions that rage through our souls as physical human beings. God has not taken us out of this world yet and we must walk in the midst of an evil environment, yet we are not to let it have dominion over us, but if we are walking in the Spirit we have the weapons we need to be able to have victory over it. (Please see 2nd Corinthians 10:3 again)
The best antidote against the corruption of sin is to walk in the Spirit; to be mindful of spiritual things, to mind the things of God more than the things of the world; to commit ourselves to the guidance of the whole Word of God wherein the we fill our tanks up with God’s precepts and we learn to think like God thinks and we replace our carnal nature with His divine nature.
The Scriptures make known the will of God concerning us, and it shows us the way of salvation. It also has the power to deliver us from the power of darkness to His light, if we will just repent of going after the things of the world and instead value the opportunity to abide in His presence.
John 15:1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 15:2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 15:3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 15:6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 15:8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.15:9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. 15:11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
If we abide in Christ we WILL be able to overcome the pulls of the flesh. We have to put forth the effort to spend time with Him and it must take precedence over superfluous and time wasting activities.
There will always be a struggle between the flesh and God’s Spirit as long as we are in the world. The flesh will be lusting against the Spirit as well as the Spirit against the flesh, but if we are being led by the Spirit and acting according to its guidance and leadership, and if we make the Word of God the guide for our lives, then we will be walking in the Spirit. By doing so the flesh (our carnal human nature) will be crucified (put to death) with its affections and lusts (passions, appetites, and desires).
Galatians 5:24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
This is also explained in detail in Romans 8:1-14.
Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 8:4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 8:5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8:8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 8:10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. 8:12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
Galatians 5 is a treasure house of wisdom as to the workings of the flesh and how we are to overcome them by the power of the Holy Spirit; and how we are to recognize and mortify [crucify, destroy] the works of the flesh and then replace them with the fruits of the Spirit.
Paul first speaks of the works of the flesh, and illustrates how they are products of a corrupt and depraved nature.
All of these, of course, are against God’s commandments. Idolatry and witchcraft are sins against the first and second commandment; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness are against the seventh; others like hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, which very often bring about seditions, heresies, envyings, and sometimes leads into murder are all sins against our neighbor and are contrary to loving our neighbor as ourselves. Then there are sins that are mostly against ourselves like drunkenness and revelings, but these too do damage against others as well.
Paul concludes the list with “and such like” indicating that there are even more sinful works of the flesh, and then gives us a sobering warning that those who do such things, no matter how much they may have deceived themselves that they are okay with God; if they continue in them and do not repent, these sins will shut men and women out from entering God’s Kingdom and they will not stand before God at His appearing, and they will not be in the first resurrection.
Over these last few months we have studied into great detail these “works of the flesh”. We learned that these things will not be tolerated by a holy and just God and He cannot allow any of this filth to be allowed in His presence, either in His house, which is the spiritual temple which make up the Ekklesia, nor in the coming Kingdom of God.
For those who seek to have this kind filth of the flesh removed, there is hope and God provides a way to be cleaned up. God tells us through Paul that even if we have committed these things in the past, but are now sincerely repentant, we can be forgiven, washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of Jesus by having the sacrifice of Jesus applied to these sins.
1 Corinthians 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 6:10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.6:11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
In the rest of Galatians 5, Paul lists the fruits of the Spirit which Christians are expected to make a part of their nature. These are called “fruits of the Spirit” for they proceed from God’s divine nature which He places in us when we receive His Holy Spirit, and they are to be nurtured so that they grow and become our nature as well.
The works of the flesh are damaging, hurtful and bring misery and death, whereas the fruit of the Spirit produces the love of God that we are to reflect back toward Him first; and then it produces joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and self-control all of which make life a blessing and we become a blessing to others who come into contract with us.
At the end of this list of the fruits of the Spirit, Paul declares that “against such there is no law”. (Galatians 5:23) There is no law that condemns such attributes and if these attributes reign in us, it plainly shows that we are led by the Spirit and that we have God’s Spirit. Chapter 5 teaches us to what we are to avoid and to resist and what we are to treasure and cultivate; this is our duty to God as Christians. If we belong to Christ we will not only say we believe in Him and His principles; but we will show that we are His by exhibiting the fruits of His Spirit and that we have indeed “crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.”
Romans 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 6:5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 6:7 For he that is dead is freed from sin. 6:8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:
As long as we are in this flesh we have not obtained a complete victory over it, as we still have flesh as well as God’s spirit but if we are constantly crucifying the worldliness of our fleshly desires, then it no longer reigns in our mortal bodies so at to obey it in the lusts thereof (Romans 6:1).
It is not enough that we cease to do wicked works, but as followers of Christ we must learn to do good works!
As God’s children we are not only to die unto sin, but to live unto righteousness; not only to resist and oppose the works of the flesh, but to bring forth the fruits of the Spirit to replace the works of the flesh.
As Paul concludes this segment with “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit”; he is saying; if we profess to have received the Spirit of Christ, let us make it evident by exhibiting the proper fruits of the Spirit in our lives and walk accordingly. Our conduct will always show forth whatever we are allowing to govern us and we show it by how we live our lives: “as those that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh, so those that are after the Spirit do mind the things of the Spirit”( Romans. 8:5).
In conclusion to this whole series on the “works of the flesh” we demonstrate that we are Christ’s and that we are partakers of God’s Holy Spirit, by our walking not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. We must set it in our hearts that we will constantly and diligently strive to mortify the deeds of the body (works of the flesh) and to walk in newness of life for as long as we live.
We Have an Invitation to the Best Kind of Banquet
Back to the subject of parties and feasts.
God the Father is right now in the process of inviting many to come and be a part of His Son’s marriage banquet. He wants us to participate in seeking to be accounted worthy to partake of His wedding Feast as a member of His collective bride. The Father is calling many and some of them are responding and are allowing Him to open their eyes “to behold wondrous things out of His law” (Psalm 119:18). But we must never be like some in the parable that make light of their calling, put things off, make excuses, or even like those who mock and kill those who are zealous and being used to call others to repent and make themselves ready.
Many are called and reject God’s call, but for those who accept the Father’s invitation to enroll in His training program, who put off the works of the flesh and internalize the very nature of God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ, the Bible says that those who overcome [the overcomers] will be a part of it and will live with God forever as His children.
Matthew 22:2 The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, 22:3 And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. 22:4 Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.
22:5 But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: 22:6 And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. 22:7 But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.
22:8 Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. 22:9 Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. 22:10 So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.
22:11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: 22:12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.
To have a part in the marriage of the Lamb, we must put on the clean white garment of righteousness, walk in the Spirit and be keeping all of God’s commandments in the letter, as well as according to the spiritual intent, living by every Word of God.
Instead of reveling and carousing in this world’s wild parities, those who have learned to put off the works of darkness and have come to walk in God’s light in this life will truly be glad and rejoice and will have all of eternity to CELEBRATE God’s mercy and goodness.
Revelation 19:7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
Romans 13:13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.
2 Peter 1:5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 1:6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 1:7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 1:8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1:9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
John 5:20 For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. 5:21 For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.
And if we are counted worthy to be a part of this first quickening of the dead which is the first resurrection, we will have much to celebrate about…. for all eternity!
So my question is; is it really worth it to struggle against all that is part of our human nature, to put off the works of the flesh and then put on the righteousness of God and to be filled with the fruits of His Holy Spirit therefore qualifying to be part of the marriage supper?
Revelation 19:8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. 19:9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.
Let us strive with all our hearts to be there while we still have time!
James Malm and Constance Belanger
Note- Constance submitted the original rough draft of this article in 2016, which I then completed for posting.
13:11 And that, knowing the time,
that now it is high time to awake out of sleep:
for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
13:12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand:
let us therefore cast off the works of darkness,
and let us put on the armour of light.
13:13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day;
not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering
and wantonness, not in strife and envying.
13:14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ,
and make not provision for the flesh,
to fulfil the lusts thereof.