Jesus told his disciples, "That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man" (Mark 7:20). He also went on to say to them, "All these evil things come from within, and defile the man" (7:23). This is true of the works of the flesh Paul mentions in Galatians 5, and of the last four he specifically references. In a day and age where so many refuse to take the message of the gospel within to live by, we need to be reminded that both the attitudes which produce such actions, as well as the actions themselves, are unacceptable to God for those seeking to please him. The attitudes which produce such responses must be changed for us to have a genuine relationship with God.

     "Envyings" is never used in a positive sense in the New Testament. The term refers to jealousy that feels pain and spitefulness to others, resulting in hateful or harmful responses. Envy doesn't originate because a person wants what another one has, as is often the case with jealousy, but due to a person not wanting another to have it. The person who envies can't "rejoice with those who rejoice" (Romans 12:15), but would take away whatever it is another possesses so they can't rejoice. Such was the motive of the chief priests against Jesus (Mark 15:10). To respond to others this way brings one under the judgment of God (Rom. 1:29, Rom. 1:32).

     "Murders" refers to killing unjustly, from personal motives than from that which is just and righteous. It's impossible to be unaware of this problem in our society, as we hear of it so frequently, and see it reported so much on the evening news. While it's tempting to feel this is a problem that may not affect us personally, Scripture points out before any act of violence that results in the murder of another is perpetrated, the heart is engaged in sin. James tells us, "Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him" (1 John 3:15). The heart must be examined long before the act is conceived to ensure we abide in the love of God (1 John 3:14).

     "Drunkenness" and "revellings" go together. To be drunk is sinful before God, contrary to what modern society may think. It is a work of darkness that should not be characteristic of the child of God (Romans 13:12-14). It dulls the senses, causing one to think and act in ways that affect not only the person who gets drunk, but those they interact with, typically in negative ways. This is what revelling is about. This term refers to riotous conduct in the New Testament. It denotes drunkenness with impurity and obscenity of the most repulsive kind. It may be characteristic of one's past before obeying the gospel, but cannot be true of life lived in the gospel, of life in Christ (1 Peter 4:3).

Satan always tries to make these activities seem innocuous, but they are deadly, both physically and spiritually. The one who would honor God will avoid allowing such things to fill one's mind and heart, and ultimately one's life. No matter how much deception is attached to these things, Paul's analysis is true; "they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God" (Galatians 5:21).

Robert Johnson, Longview, TX



For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him for envy.

"Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,"

"Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them."

"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." "Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying." "But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof."

"We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death."

"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:"