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Lifestyle Danger!

By Dale A. Robbins

Galatians 5:19-21 “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness,
(20) idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies,
(21) envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

There is a grave danger lurking ahead for some who profess to be Christians. It is the danger of being deceived into thinking that we will not be held accountable for a continued lifestyle of sin. The Bible says, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9-10).”

The sinful acts of the flesh described in Galations 5:19-21 is a reference to a lifestyle -- not mere isolated acts of sin. If believers “fall” into such sins, and sincerely repent (1 John 1:9), God will forgive and restore His fellowship. But a continued “lifestyle” identified with this behavior reveals an absence of God’s presence — a soul who is lost, destined to spend eternity in the lake of fire (Rev 21:8). “Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God” (3 John 1:11 NIV).

The following is a list of the 17 mentioned sinful works of the flesh, along with the original Greek words and their definition. The Bible warns that persons with these kind of lifestyle acts will not inherit the kingdom of God. So, read them carefully and take a self examination of your own life.

1. Adultery - MOICHEUO — “...to apostate (to depart), or to break the marriage covenant.” The Hebrew word for adultery, NAAPH, is similar, meaning to break wedlock. The word adultery doesn't refer to sex only, but deals primarily with the betrayal of a sacred covenant and commitment. Adultery is a sin of unfaithfulness (Matthew 5:28).

2. Fornication - PORNEIA — “Harlotry, sexual impurity [sometimes used as a spiritual metaphor of idolatry].” This would include premarital sex, homosexual sex or any sexual activity outside the sanctions of marriage (1 Cor. 6:18).

3. Uncleanness - AKATHARSIA — “Impure, or foul, [demonic]” (2 Cor. 7:1).

4. Lewdness - ASELGEIA — “Licentiousness, lasciviousness, lack of restraint” (1 Cor. 9:25).

5. Idolatry - EIDOLOLATRES — “Image worship.” Idolatry is often associated with worshipping an idol, but scripture links it to covetousness (Col. 3:5), because it can also be the worship of material possessions.

6. Sorcery - PHARMAKEIA — “Drugs, magic, witchcraft [that which deceives, manipulates or controls.]” (1 Sam. 15:23).

7. Hatred - ECHTHRA — “Hostility, opposition, enmity.” (1 John 3:15) Bitterness, hatred and unforgiveness is contrary to every principle of Christianity (1 John 3:15), inasmuch as those who retain unforgiveness cannot be forgiven of their own sins (Matt. 6:14-15).

8. Contentions - ERIS — “Quarrel, wrangle, Variance, contention, debate, strife” (Col. 3:12-13).

9. Jealousy - ZELOS — “Heat” jealous, envy, indignation, emulation (zeal) from ZEO; hot or boil.”

10. Wrath - THUMOS — “Passion [as if breathing hard], fierceness, or indignation” (James 1:20). Romans 2:8-9 says that those who are contentious and who yield to indignation and wrath, are doing evil, and can expect tribulation and anguish.

11. Selfish Ambition - ERITHEIA — “Faction, contention [provocation]” (James 3:16).

12. Dissension - DICHOSTASIA — “Disunion, dissension, division” (Rom. 16:17).

13. Heresies - HAIRESIS — “A choice, disunion, or sect. [from HAIREOMAI ‘to take for one’s self,’ or to prefer.]” Heresy is a term which can describe false teachings, but it means even more than that. It is teaching of certain “preferences” which brings disunity in the body, and draws persons apart into dissenting groups. Heresy does not necessarily have to be false teaching, but can be pressing opinions which serve to divide, rather than unite God’s people (2 Pet. 2:1).

14. Envy - PHTHONOS — “Jealousy, spite, ill-will” (2 Cor. 12:20).

15. Murders - PHONOS — “Slaughter, unjust killings” (John 8:44).

16. Drunkenness - METHE — “Intoxication, under the influence, drunk” (Eph. 5:18).

17. Revelries - komos — Rioting, wild partying [letting loose] (1 Pet. 4:3).

As we have already stated, the Bible warns “...they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal. 5:21). It goes without saying, this is an extremely serious warning.

Unfortunately, there are professing believers... people who go to church on Sundays, who assume that because they call Jesus their Lord, He’ll wink at these so-called little “character flaws.” However, Jesus warned that not all those who profess to be His followers would enter heaven — only those who follow Him with their lives. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matt. 7:21).

If one’s lifestyle consists of works of the flesh, there’s only one thing can detour their dreadful destination. They must repent and forsake a lifestyle of sin, to turn about and live for the Lord. Repentance means to “turn around and walk in a new lifestyle” (2 Cor 7:10). Any person who truly repents and becomes born-again, is empowered by the Spirit of God to walk in a new lifestyle. The Scriptures say that “old things pass away and all things become new” (1 Cor. 5:17). Instead of justifying continued sinful behavior, persons who wish to follow Christ must forsake a lifestyle of sin and walk in the newness of Christ’s life. “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires” (Rom. 6:12 NIV).

Do not misunderstand. In no way do we suggest that you must “earn” salvation by doing good works (Eph. 2:8-9) — nor are we implying that Christians will never stumble in sin or imperfection (1 John 2:1). But what we are saying is that a genuine experience of salvation “produces” good works (James 2:20) — in effect, a godly change in a person’s lifestyle. The same Holy Spirit who brings grace to cover all our sins (Rom. 8:2), also brings a new nature, to which we are to yield our lives. “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Gal 5:16).

Confess and forsake Sin

His grace and forgiveness is available for all manner of sin, whatever it may be. Jesus will forgive all sins that we confess to Him (1 John 1:9) — but remember, we must also “forsake” them. “He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy” (Prov. 28:13).

True repentance means that we will make every effort not to repeat our former sins and will seek to walk in the nature of Christ. Such was David’s desire in his repentant prayer. “Hide Your face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psa. 51:9-10).


This article (VL-159) is copyrighted © by Dr. Dale A. Robbins, 1990-2024 and is a publication of Victorious Publications, Grass Valley, CA - Nashville, TN. Unless otherwise stated, scripture references were taken from The New King James Bible, © Thomas Nelson Inc., 1982. In some references to real persons, pseudonyms may have been used to preserve their privacy. You may download this article for personal use as long as you retain credit to the author. Obtain permission before reproducing copies for any reason, by filling out our simple use permission form. Many of our writings are also available as free pdf tri-fold pamphlets, which can be downloaded for reproduction from our Online Catalog. For media reproduction rights, or to obtain quantities of this title in other formats, email us. If you have appreciated these online materials, help us reach the world with the Gospel by considering a monthly or one-time tax-deductable donation.