29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
1901 ASV Translation:
29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
There is one textual variation between the Textus Receptus and the Nestle/Aland 26. It is that the Textus Receptus has the word "fornication" and the Nestle/Aland 26 does not.
I. The Particulars of the Text...Continued from Study # 12.
A. Summary from Study #12: Paul pictures man "having been filled" with opposition to the four pillars of Life as presented by the major portrayals of Jesus in the Gospels.
1. Unrighteousness is an attack upon Jesus as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Preserver of Righteousness in the Kingdom of Righteousness.
2. Wickedness is an attack upon Jesus as the Bull of the Tribe of Joseph, the Servant Ruler of the Servant Kingdom.
3. Covetousness is an attack upon Jesus as the Preeminent Man of the Tribe of Reuben, the Kinsman Redeemer of the Heirs of the New Jerusalem.
4. Maliciousness is an attack upon Jesus as the Eagle of Heaven, of no Tribe of Israel (Dan had the ensign of Scorpio/Serpens -- a pictorial presentation of "the malicious one"), the Provider of Life through Death for the Heirs of Life.
B. The Issues of "Covetousness".
1. The word translated "covetousness" is used 10 times in the New Testament.
a. Mark 7:21-23 has it as a part of a list of "evil things" that are within the heart of man.
b. Luke 12:13-21 records Jesus issuing a powerful warning against "covetousness" because "a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things he possesseth". [One kinda has to wonder why men have invested as much as they have in the pursuit of something that does not address "life" except in a negative way.]
c. 2 Corinthians 9:5 uses the word in Paul's statement about the "nature" of a collection that is being taken up for the saints in another place.
d. Ephesians 4:19 uses the word in a context of "deceitful lusts" (4:22) where it is a fundamental associate of the "uncleanness" to which God delivered man in Romans 1:24 [the first of three enslaving conditions to which God delivered man]. In this Ephesians 4 context, there is the problem of the vanity of the mind and the hardness of the heart and the ignorance that results from both so that man is "beyond feeling" and has "given himself over" to "lasciviousness" to work "all uncleanness with greediness (covetousness)". The believer is exhorted to "put off" the old man who is being corrupted according to the deceitful lusts. Thus, "covetousness" stands in the midst of man's depravity.
e. Ephesians 5:3 puts "fornication, uncleanness, and covetousness" together as the triune corruption of "love"..."...walk in love ... but let not [these three] be once named among you...".
f. Colossians 3:5 has "covetousness" at the end of a list of things for which the wrath of God falls upon men, and it is parenthetically identified as "idolatry" [Ephesians 5:5 does this same thing].
g. 1 Thessalonians 2:5 has the word as Paul defends himself as "never" using flattering words as a "cloak of covetousness"...the implication is that it was pretty "standard" for men to use "religious teaching" as a way to enrich themselves.
h. 2 Peter 2:3 pointedly makes the same point as 1 Thessalonians 2:5 in that false teachers "make merchandise of you" by means of "feigned words" in "covetousness". These two texts make it pretty clear that "covetous" men manipulate relationships terribly.
i. 2 Peter 2:14 claims that these men have a "heart" that is exercised in covetousness and Balaam is used as the illustration of what Peter meant.
2. The issue of covetousness can be pretty broad -- desiring almost anything that another has -- but the primary focus has to do with "possessions" (materialism). Making "life" a consequence of what one possesses turns "life" into a relationship with "things" rather than "persons". This is fundamentally contradictory to Trinitarianism (where the issue is relational life), and that makes it a fairly aggressive attack upon the very essence of God. All manner of evil comes from denigrating relationships in favor of material wealth.
C. The Issues of Maliciousness...
1. The word translated "maliciousness" is used 11 times in the New Testament
a. In Matthew 6:34, Jesus said that "sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof". The verse is at the end of an exhortation by Jesus to His disciples regarding their concerns about the provisions for the physical man. Clearly, they are not to be "focused" here "as the Gentiles are". Their focus is supposed to be on the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. He claims that the "morrow" will "take thought for itself". Each day has sufficient "evil" in it to occupy the disciple's thought. "Evil" in this context appears to be "difficulties which challenge our ability to live". We are to face these challenges, not with a focus upon the outer man, but with a focus on the Kingdom/Righteousness of God.
b. Simon Magnus' "wickedness" in Acts 8:22 consisted of thinking that the "gift of God" could be obtained with "money". [This dovetails with the entire issue of "covetousness" dealt with above -- thinking that "life" consists of the ability to "buy" what it requires.]
c. In 1 Corinthians 5:8 "malice" and "wickedness" are contrasted with "sincerity" and "truth". These are the same two words used in our text in Romans. As a deliberate contrast, we must see a parallel between them. This means that "malice" is a sharp contrast to "sincerity" and "wickedness" is a sharp contrast to "truth".
1) The word translated "sincerity" is only used 3 times in the New Testament In 2 Corinthians 1:12, the word is used in contrast with "fleshly wisdom". In 2 Corinthians 2:17 it is used to refer to a complete lack of interest in misleading anyone. The conclusion I draw is that "sincerity" has a strong focus upon absolute honesty so that there is no manipulation of any kind. "Fleshly wisdom" is always seeking to make things work out as "I" want them to: this is fundamental manipulation and has nothing to do with honesty.
2) The word "truth" is enormously prevalent in the New Testament. Its contrast to "wickedness" seems to make "wickedness" fundamentally false. This underscores our correlation of it with its fundamental opposition to servanthood: Servanthood is Fundamental as a characteristic of the God of Life.
d. 1 Corinthians 14:20 contrasts "understanding" with "malice". We are to be "men" in understanding and "children" in malice. The contrast implies that "malice" is the intent to press flawed "understanding" into service as genuine understanding. In other words, it is "malicious" to attempt to force "life" to work in contradiction to the principles of life.
e. Ephesians 4:31 puts "malice" at the end of a grocery list of evils so that it is implied that "malice" is included as an integral part of all of those other evils. This makes it a "bottom line" issue that has tentacles that reach into all kinds of directions.
f. Colossians 3:8 uses "malice" in a grocery list of evils to be put off.
g. Titus 3:3 says that we once "lived in malice". This is a pretty broad and inclusive characteristic of the life of the ungodly.
h. James 1:21 puts "malice" into the text as "naughtiness" and contrasts it with humility in receiving the engrafted word.
i. 1 Peter 2:1 is another grocery list.
j. 1 Peter 2:16 uses "maliciousness" as something that needs to be "cloaked" so that it does not come across as a violation of "servanthood".
2. Summary: "Malice" is the attempt to undercut the life of another by the forced imposition of principles of death in the place of principles of life. The focus is upon its aggressive opposition to life by attempting to supplant life by the practice of the ways of death.
III. Covetousness and Maliciousness.
A. These two evils are direct oppositions to "relationships" and "life".
B. With this correlation of the four issues of Paul's statement that men "have been filled with...", covetousness is aggression against humanity as relational participants in God's creation, and maliciousness is the fundamental aggression against life as the bottom line.
1. There is one bottom line: Life (opposed by maliciousness).
2. There are three "aggressors": opposition to righteousness (unrighteousness); opposition to servanthood (wickedness); and opposition to human beings in favor of "stuff" (covetousness).