Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 4 Study # 6
May 26, 2013
21 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.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.
1901 ASV Translation
21 envyings, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; of which I forewarn you, even as I did forewarn you, that they who practise such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 meekness, self-control; against such there is no law.
24 And they that are of Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with the passions and the lusts thereof.
25 If we live by the Spirit, by the Spirit let us also walk.
26 Let us not become vainglorious, provoking one another, envying one another.
- I. The "Works" of the Flesh.
- A. Sexual immorality, uncleanness, licentiousness, image worship, drug use, enmity, strife, zeal, passion, competition, separatism, opinion, envy, drunkenness, revellings.
- 1. Fifteen selected behaviors.
- 2. The "groupings".
- a. Misuse of the body.
- b. Misuse of others: Eight involving conflict with others.
- c. Final two: "partying" (escapist behaviors??).
- B. In detail.
- 1. Sexual misconduct.
- 2. Mistreatment of others.
- 3. Lack of restraint.
- a. Drunkenness.
- 1) This particular word is only found in three texts in the New Testament.
- a) Luke 21:34 indicates that the "goal" of "drunkenness is the "overcharging of the heart" by means of "surfeiting", "drunkenness", and the "cares of this life" (physical life in distinction from "Life").
- i. Luke is the only one to use "overcharging" in the New Testament. The word arises from an adjective that describes something that puts an onerous burden upon a person.
- ii. The sense of the word seems, therefore, to be "to put someone/something under an extreme case of overload". The goal of such behavior? Apparently, to get the person/thing to collapse so that he/it cannot continue making progress.
- iii. Luke sees this "overcharging" as the consequence of choices made that are beyond reason and driven by some form of "escapism". The goal is to get "out of the pressure situation" but it only serves to get one "in deeper".
- b) Romans 13:13 uses the word in a series of "effect/cause" couplets, and it is paired with "rioting" as the result of "drunkenness". The idea seems to be that once a person has become "drunk" he/she will "go berserk" (i.e., let all restraint go and do whatever enters the mind at the time).
- 2) Paul says, therefore, that it is a "fleshly" thing to turn to alcohol in order to obtain a sense of "release" from all the pressures of life. The tragedy is that such a turn will actually increase those pressures over time.
- b. Revellings.
- 1) Romans 13:13 shows up again in one of the only three times the word is used in the New Testament.
- 2) All three of the uses of this word are connected to the abuse of alcoholic drink. It can not be an accident that Paul and Peter see alcohol as a primary way for people to become unrestrained. Once the impact of life's decisions are blunted by an alcoholic daze, there are no restraints to behavior because 'there are no consequences' worth considering.
- II. The Consequence.
- A. I "tell you before" just as I "told you before".
- B. Those practicing such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God.
- 1. Apparently, "walking in the flesh" will get you barred from the inheritance.
- 2. To what extent will such "walking" have to dominate before the lack of inheritance kicks in? Since all of us "walk in the flesh" to some degree, this is the question that must be faced.
- a. Paul makes a distinction between "being" in the flesh and "walking" in the flesh. "Being" in the flesh is the condition of everyone outside of Christ; "walking" in the flesh is the practice of everyone who sidesteps "faith" in the divine promises and provision.
- b. At issue: What does it mean to "do" such things ("they which do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God")?
- 1) The key word is "prassw". It is widely used in the New Testament.
- a) Luke 22:23 uses it to refer to a single act (the betrayal of Jesus by Judas), but it is typically referred to by some [Note Mickelson's Enhanced Strong's Greek and Hebrew Dictionaries on G3160 as a case in point] as the word that denotes "habitual practice" as in John 3:20.
- b) Jesus used this word in John 5:29 in an interesting way when He said that those that have "done" ("poiew") [Mickelson says "a single act"] good will come forth unto the resurrection of Life whereas those who have "done" ("prassw") evil will come forth unto the resurrection of Damnation.
- c) Luke continues to make no distinction between single actions and habitual practices in the Acts when he chooses this particular word. This makes me think that the distinction between the words Jesus used does not primarily consist of the "quantity" issue.
- d) Paul uses the same tactic as Jesus in Romans 1:32 where he alternates between prassw and poiew. The translators of the Authorized Version alternate between "commit" for the idea of prassw and "do" for the idea of poiew.
- e) Paul uses this interplay again in Romans 2:3. We need a better understanding of the fields of meaning for these words when dealing with Paul's idea that "those which do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom".
- f) Continuing in this vein, Paul does it again in Romans 7:15 in describing his inner conflict (repeating himself in 7:19 and using the same interplay again in Romans 13:4). Clearly he has some distinction in mind.
- g) Romans 9:11 may hold a key for us. There, neither Jacob nor Esau had been born and neither had "done" ("prassw") any good or evil. The idea may well be that prassw indicates not the idea of "habitual" or "occasional" or "single", but the idea of the actual accomplishment of an intended goal as opposed to the performance of an act that is simply a part of a process that has a goal in mind but is not the act that brings "accomplishment" into view. In this vein, Jesus claims any who have had any part in bringing a good goal to fulfillment will come forth to the resurrection of Life but those who have actually accomplished the goal(s) of evil will come forth to the resurrection of Damnation.
- h) Summary: prassw looks at an accomplishment that has required multiple individual actions that are linked in a stair-step of cause/effect relationship to bring that accomplishment into being; poiew, on the other hand, simply views an action as an action (one of, perhaps, several that have a single objective in mind).
- C. "Inheriting..."
- 1. "Inheriting" is made the equivalent opposite to "departing into everlasting fire" by Jesus in Matthew 25:34-41.
- 2. "Doing" in order to "inherit eternal life" is involved in Mark 10:17 and the answer Jesus gives is the sale of all possessions and following Him.
- 3. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 says the wicked shall not inherit the kingdom and "such were some of you..." It is clear that an "identity change" is necessarily involved in respect to the inheritance of the Kingdom; but it is also just as clear that "behavior" after that change does not directly affect the inheritance (1 Corinthians 5:1-5). If the "spirit" of a behaviorally wicked person can be "saved in the day of the Lord Jesus" after Satan destroys the flesh of the person, the issues of "identity" and "behavior" are separate issues in respect to the "inheritance".
- 4. 1 Corinthians 15:50 makes it pretty clear that "inheritance" has to do with "entrance".
- 5. Titus 3:7 says that "inheritance" arises from "justification" by grace, and Romans 4:14 says that those who are "of the Law" cannot be the heirs or the promise is made void.
- 6. The related issues.
- a. Inheriting the Kingdom is one thing; inheritance in the Kingdom is another.
- b. Inheritance by performance is "inheritance by the Law" and is impossible by reason of the divine methodology of promise (Galatians 3:18) and by reason of the impossibility of using "Law" as a methodology, given human depravity realities (Galatians 3:12).
- c. The real issue here is the question: Why did Paul decide to throw this declaration into the mix at this point? If the Galatians are "believers" in the true sense of that word in its use in respect to "justification by faith", what difference does it make to them that "those who "accomplish" (present, active participle) such things will not inherit the Kingdom"? It is a puzzle as to why Paul, whose entire letter is given over to a defense of the fact that "performance" is not the basis for Kingdom inheritance, would inject the issue of performance at this point.
- 1) This issue has resulted in "Lordship Salvation" doctrines which have their roots in the unbiblical assumption that "true faith" will inevitably (the inevitable perseverance of the saints aka modern day Calvinism) guarantee progressively developing godliness. In other words, "those who accomplish such things" are not "true believers".
- 2) The confusion here is massive. "True believers" are revealed in the Bible as perfectly capable of doing any/all of the things listed as "works of the flesh". The majority of the Pauline corpus arose out of this reality wherein there was a strong necessity for both instruction and command in regard to those "manifest works".
- 3) The solution partially rests in Paul's clear dogma that those "manifest works" are not the result of the choices/actions of the "believer" as one of the inhabitants within the body of flesh out of which such works arise. Paul twice deliberately distanced himself from the "manifest works" of his own body in Romans 7:17 and 20. He also told the Corinthians that they were no longer the producers of such "works" because of their "identity change" (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). He also told the Corinthians that when indwelling Sin gets such a grip upon a believer's "body" that all manner of ungodliness is erupting, the solution is the "destruction of the flesh" so that "the spirit will be saved" (1 Corinthians 5:1-5). Another partial explanation of the solution is Paul's own comments in this current letter wherein he raises the question as to whether that has actually been an "identity change" in the Galatians. The danger for the Galatians is an assumption of such a change so that their inheritance is not by "Law" when, in fact, they may not have "believed" the truths that bring that change into play (this is the reason for this letter: do you really believe in salvation by grace through faith in the promise of God; or do you really believe in salvation by performance?). This is not Paul's own variation of "the inevitable perseverance of the believer" because the issue is not "works". Rather, the issue is "what do you really believe?" Paul inserted this particular declaration regarding the lack of "inheritance" for those who "accomplish such things", not because the Galatians were in danger of Hell for "doing" them, but because their doings were being driven by some kind of "faith" and their track record on that point was spotty at best. However, we still face this issue: why does Paul resort to a "performance unto rejection" thesis at this point in his letter? What is he hoping to accomplish in respect to his Galatian readers by making this point?
- a) His "I am telling" just as "I have told" is unambiguously emphatic. This has to mean that this truth is crucial at this stage of the letter.
- b) The most likely scenario is this: the Galatians, like all others in the entire world, are guilty of "accomplishing such things as these". Thus, their strong leanings toward "justification by Law" puts them in horrible jeopardy. They, who are guilty, are leaning toward a dogma that will indisputably torpedo their hope of inheriting the Kingdom. In other words, apart from grace, "those who accomplish such things as these will not inherit the Kingdom of God". Absolute denial of entrance based upon performance.