We Are Guilty   Leave a comment

So now that I’ve pissed off my non-Christian readers by comparing them to The Walking Dead, I’m turning my attention to Christians.

When the apostle Paul talks about the works of the flesh, he wasn’t telling Christians to go out and condemn non-Christians for living like … well, non-Christians. They can’t help themselves and they don’t owe God a moral life because they have never accepted His gift of salvation. When Paul wrote about the works of the flesh, he was talking about us — Christians.

When we accepted Christ, our spirits were made alive. We are no longer the walking dead. Our old selves and our past sins were crucified and new spirits exist in us. There is no more condemnation for what we did in the past because we have been made new.

But ….

In Romans 7, Paul talked about how the flesh wars with the spirit so that we struggle to live a Christian life. Our spirits have been saved, but our bodies are still very much of this world.

So what do we do?

We are required to put to death the aspects of our nature that separate us from God. To make it easier for us, Paul identified them in Colossians 3 and Ephesians 4.

The works of the flesh are: fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiescence, coveteousness, anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication, and our “former corrupt way of life” that tended toward “deceitful lusts”.

Even Paul battled carnality. Our entire Christian lives deal with battling Satan, ourselves and society. Today, I’m focusing on ourselves.

Mark 7:21-23, Romans 1:29-31, Galatians 5:19-21, Colossians 3:5-8 list the following terms having to do with carnality (our fleshly weakness):

Adultery, an evil eye, anger, backbiter, blasphemer, boaster, covenant breaker, covetous, debater, deceiver, despiser of those that are good, despiteful, disobedient, disobedient to parents, drunks, emulations, envious, evil concupiscence, evil thoughts, false accuser, fierce, filthy communication, foolish, fornications, hater of God, hating one another, heady, heresies, highminded, idolaters, implacable, incontinent, inordinate affection, inventors of evil things, lasciviousness, lovers of pleasures, lovers of their own selves, maliciousness, malignity, murder, proud, revellings, seditions, serving various lusts and pleasures, sorcerers, strife, thefts, traitors, trucebreakers, unclean, unholy, unmerciful, unrighteousness, unthankful, variance, whisperers, wickedness, witchcraft, without natural affection, without understanding, and finally, wrath.

Every last one of the letters Paul wrote were written to Christians, so he was not talking to the world when he made these statements. He’s talking to US … YOU and ME.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus expanded on the commandments. It wasn’t just “you shouldn’t kill”, it was you shouldn’t think angry thoughts about your neighbor. Um, yeah, I’m guilty. It wasn’t “don’t commit adultery”. It was “don’t look at the opposite sex with lust in your heart.”

Now look at that list and ask yourself — does any of that exist in you in even the slightest amount? A drop of yeast leavens the whole loaf. You’re guilty. I’m guilty.

The list breaks down into some broad categories.

Attitudes: anger, covetousness, deceit, emulations (jealousy), envy, foolishness, hateful, incontinent (lacking self-control), lasciviouseness, lovers of themselves and pleasure, malice, proud, and uncleanness (immoral actions and motives).

Actions: adultery, blasphemy (speaking evil of either God or man), boasters, variance (contentious), fierce, filthy communication (foul language), fornication (which is a broad topic), heresies (wrong teachings), idolatry (putting anything before God), seditions (divisions), traitors, unmerciful, unthankful, wickedness (lawlessness).

1 Corinthians 10:12, Paul wrote that Christians should be wary because Satan is trying to trip us up. And, I would submit that every Christian in the world could not cast a stone at an unsaved sinner were Jesus standing there to observe. We’re all guilty and we should all recognize it because it will allow us to be better Christians.

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