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A person controlled by the flesh or by the human nature is contrasted to the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:16-22.  Being in the flesh means to be “carnally minded”. 

The sinful nature remains with Christian after conversion and is the deadly enemy of godly living. Those who practice the sinful nature cannot inherit God’s Kingdom:

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.(Galatians 5:19-21)

Let’s explore each of the acts of the sinful nature:

1.      Adultery – is sexual activity or intercourse outside of the marriage union.  . The person who puts away his or her spouse for a cause other than fornication and marries another also commits adultery... (Matt 5:32).

2.      Fornication –is sexual immorality in general and includes sexual sins, evil deeds and vices, including thoughts and desires of the heart. This would also include sex by homosexuals and lesbians. We would also include incest in this category, for it is a form of fornication (Eph. 5:3, Col. 3:5, Acts 21:25)

3.      Uncleanness and lasciviousness –involve sensuality, following one’s passions and desires to the point of having no shame or public decency. ( 2 Cor. 12:21)

4.      Idolatry –includes worship of spirits, persons, or graven images; trust in anything, persons, institutions, or thing as having equal or greater authority than God and His Word. (Ex. 20:3-4,Col. 3:5, James 4:5)

5.      Witchcraft –includes sorcery, spiritualism, black magic, worship of demons and use of drugs to produce “spiritual” experiences. (Ex. 7:11,22; 8:18; Rev. 9:21, 18:23)

6.      Hatred –denotes intense, hostile intentions and acts; extreme dislike or enmity. (1 John 3:15)

7.      Variance –represents quarrelling, antagonism; a struggle for superiority. (Romans 1:29, 1 Cor. 1:11’ 3:3)

8.      Emulations –resentfulness; envy of another’s success. (2Thess. 1:1-12, Eh. 2:2, Romans 11:14)

9.      Wrath – explosive anger that flames into violent words or deeds. (Psalms 37:8, Proverbs 15:18; 29:22; 30:33)

10.  Strife –occurs when people unrighteously seek power or position. (2 Cor. 12:20, Phil. 1:16-17)

11.  Seditions – introduction decisive teachings not supported by God’s Word. (Rom. 16:17)

12.  Heresies – division within the congregation into exclusive groups or cliques that destroy the unity of the Church. (1 Cor. 11:19)

13.  Envyings – resentful dislike of another person who has something that someone desires. (Romans 13:13, 1 Cor. 3:3)

14.  Drunkenness – impairing one’s mental or physical control by alcoholic drink. (Pr 23:29-35, Isa 5:11-12, 1Th 5:7-8)

15.  Revellings – excessive feasting and revelry; a party spirit involving alcohol, drugs, sex, or the like. (romans 13:13, 1 Cor. 12:2, Eph. 4:7)

The spiritual and sinful natures are at war with each other.  We must resist the sinful nature and continue to put to death (through the power of the Holy Spirit) those acts. Paul’s warning to abstain from those behaviors is directed toward the entire Christian community.  We must take heed to the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit and let the Word of God direct the course and activities of our lives.


Living in the Spirit