What does Galatians 5:19 mean?
"Now the works of the flesh are manifest,
which are these; Adultery, fornication,
uncleanness, lasciviousness," -Galatians 5:19
All four sins in this list are sexual sins: adultery, fornication, uncleanness. Lasciviousness can also mean noisy drunken partying of a sexual nature. As appalled as we are at modern sexual immorality, we should remember that sexual immorality in the first century AD was as bad or worse. King Solomon told us in Ecclesiastes 1:9 - "There is nothing new under the sun."
The bawdiness of sexual life in the first century Greco-Roman world was celebrated in plays and novels as well as on pottery and in tile mosaics on floors, walls, ceilings and building facades. Illicit sexuality in New Testament times included same sex activity whose sole purpose was to serve the fertility goddess.
The first thing to note about our passage is the distinction between works, v. 19, and fruit, v. 22. Works
are a product of the flesh and are never acceptable to God to earn your salvation. Our problem as human beings is that we lack righteousness. "All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags"
in God's eyes, Isaiah 64:6. And yet, God requires righteousness in order for us to be saved.
Since God could never accept our human righteousness, God became flesh, John 1:14, 1 Timothy 3:16, when Jesus was born of the virgin Mary, Galatians 4:4, Matthew 1:18, 23, 25. He went to the cross and suffered all of God's wrath against our sins. His perfect sacrifice was accepted by God, 1 John 2:2. We know this because God raised Jesus from the dead, Romans 8:11, Acts 17:31. God freely gives us His righteousness when we receive the gift of God which is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord, Romans 4:5-6, 5:17, 6:23. This is the Bible doctrine of justification by faith.Fruit
is a product of the indwelling Holy Spirit and is one evidence you are born again. If your life doesn't exhibit the fruit of the Spirit, you need to examine whether you're just a religious lost person or a backslidden saved person.Have you taken the Good Person Test and watched the short video to help determine if you are saved or lost?
The term "flesh"
refers not just to the body but also to the old nature, the part of us that is not saved or born again. When you trusted Jesus Christ, (1) your soul
got saved, Romans 10:13, (2) your spirit
got born again, John 3:3-8, and (3) nothing happened to your flesh
, Galatians 2:20. Your saved soul and born again spirit dwell in your fleshly body and that causes a struggle between your two natures.
Spiritual growth and blessing depends on which nature you feed, your flesh or your spirit. In any case, your body of flesh will not be redeemed until the rapture, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, 1 Corinthians 15:51-54, 2 Corinthians 5:1-6.
Lust Gets - Love Gives"The flesh lusts against the Spirit,"
Galatians 5:17 and that battle confuses many Christians. Victory over the flesh does not mean that you eradicate or suppress the flesh/the old nature as your method to stop sinning.
Walking in victory means to obey the Holy Spirit instead of obeying the flesh. Victory means yielding to God instead of yielding to the flesh, Romans 6:11-14. Victory is a moment by moment thing and while the choice up to you, God commands you to, "Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh."
- Galatians 5:16
If you are saved, you already have the power of God to walk in the Spirit (which means to obey God's Holy Spirit). The real issue is, Do you desire to walk in the Spirit, to obey the Spirit instead of the flesh? You are either God's servant, obedient to the Holy Spirit or you are a servant of your old nature, obedient to the flesh, Romans 6:16.1. Adultery -
from the Greek word, moicheia, occurs 4 times in the New Testament.
It means sexual relations with someone to whom you are not married and is generally translated, adultery, a married person stepping outside the marriage for sex, thus breaking the marriage vow, Matthew 15:19, Mark 7:21, John 8:3, Galatians 5:19. Jesus taught that you can commit adultery without ever having sex. If you lust after someone in your heart, according to Jesus, that is adultery, Matthew 5:27-282. Fornication -
from the Greek word, porneia, occurs 26 times in the New Testament.
Porneia carries a broader meaning than moicheia, referring to almost any kind of sexual sin. It is often translated, fornication yet includes adultery, Matthew 5:32. The sin of fornication in the Bible often indicates shrine prostitution, Acts 15:29 & Revelation 2:21, 9:21. It can also include street prostitution, 1 Corinthians 6:13, sexual intercourse by single people outside the bounds of a committed partnership, 1 Corinthians 7:2, and spiritual fornication or worshiping false gods, Revelation 17:2, 4, 18:3, 19:23. Uncleanness -
from the Greek word, akatharsia,
from the akathartos stem, occurs 10 times in the New Testament, used once by Jesus and nine times by the apostle Paul.
Akatharsia often describes the moral and physical uncleanness of shrine prostitution - the sexual worship of false gods. Paul references this in 1 Corinthians 6:13, where he warns: "Now the body is not for fornication but for the Lord."
The Jewish scholars who translated the Hebrew Tanakh (our Old Testament) into the Greek Septuagint around 200 BC, used the akathartos stem to translate Hebrew words describing idolatry.
This was the common understanding of akatharsia in the first century AD. Thus, when Paul writes his epistles, he uses the commonly understood meaning of akatharsian and akatharsia in Romans 1:24, 6:19, Galatians 5:19 and 1 Thessalonians 4:7, to describe the uncleanness of idolatry and pagan worship. In ancient secular usage akatharsia also described a rotting corpse.
Romans 1:24 uses akatharsia to describe idol worshipers or shrine prostitutes who dishonor their own bodies between themselves. Paul repeats the Greek word akatharsia in Romans 6:19, describing shrine prostitutes who got saved. He encourages them to yield their bodies to God's service with the same enthusiasm they yielded their bodies to serving the fertility goddess.4. Lasciviousness -
from the Greek word, aselgia, occurs 9 times in the New Testament.
It means public sexual excess, shameless lust, noisy partying. Define the Greek word akatharsian
Words they left out of new Bibles
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This page revised April 25, 2014