SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT FOR TODAY (October 31, 2013)
“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 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” Galatians 5:19-21.
“I WARN YOU, AS I DID BEFORE, THAT THOSE WHO LIVE LIKE THIS WILL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD”Galatians 5:21b (NIV).
After talking about the struggles between the flesh and the spirit, Paul turned his attention to what the acts of the flesh are. This is very important to help believers know when they are losing the battle against the flesh. It is therefore important for us to take a very serious look at the acts mentioned by Paul in this passage. But before we go into it, I want us to take note of the fact that this list is not exhaustive of all the acts of the flesh. There are many more acts of the flesh which are not mentioned by Paul. Therefore the list here should serve as a guide to sensitize us on the nature of the acts of the flesh.
As already mentioned, the flesh is that part of the human which is carnal and is opposed to the fruit of the Spirit. This is what leads us into sin. The acts of the flesh as mentioned by Paul are adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lustfulness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, fighting, jealousy, anger, rivalries, divisions, heresies, envy, murder, drunkenness, reveling etc. Because of the number of acts mentioned here, I would like us to divide them and talk about them in series. Today, I would like to focus on adultery and fornication. A closer look at them shows that they can be related to the seventh commandment: “Thou shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14).
Paul began by saying that the acts of the sinful nature are obvious. This means the people of their day knew without a doubt that they were sinful acts. Everyone knew that adultery and fornication were unacceptable to all in the society. By nature, human beings know that they are wrong whether they are believers or not. Things which were unclean were known to all and every one lust was negative and therefore abhorring. So Paul was just reminding them of things they all knew were sinful; he was not telling them of anything new. This is the society in which the early church was planted. Everyone knew what was unacceptable before men and also before God.
Adultery is a sexual relationship outside of one’s marriage covenant. Throughout the Bible, this understanding is well-known. It occurs when a married woman has sexual relationship outside of her marriage or the married man has sexual relationship outside of his marriage. This is what the author of Hebrews describes as defiling the marriage bed (Hebrews 13:4). According to Hebrews 13:4, God will judge the adulterer and the fornicator who both defile the marriage bed. Adultery can happen between two married people or between one married person and one unmarried person. What is obvious about adultery is that it always involves a married person.
Fornication on the other hand is the sexual relationship outside of marriage. It does not usually involve married people. It usually happens when two unmarried persons have sexual relationship. This is also sinful because it defiles the marriage bed since sex is illegitimate outside of the marriage setting unless someone can prove otherwise. One can say that because adultery and fornication are both sinful, they fit into the category of acts of the flesh because they are committed in order to fulfill the lusts of the flesh.
Adultery and fornication are known to be sinful acts among Christians, yet they are found among the Christian community. It is something the devil is using to steal many believers because sexual sin leads a person into a kind of spiritual bondage with the person you enter into that relationship with. When one enters into a sexual relationship with anyone, a covenant is made between the two parties. If it is an unholy relationship (that is outside of the marriage state), an unholy alliance is formed between the persons involved which becomes very difficult to break. This ungodly souls tying (which happens through illicit sex) can lead one into several negative consequences.
If it happens between two unmarried persons, it can affect their future marriages and several other areas of their lives. If it happens between the married, it can affect their marriage and even families. An ungodly soul-tying opens one’s life for Satan to control all or some aspects of a person’s life. But what is very serious about sexual sins is that they defile the marriage bed and will bring God’s judgment upon the persons involved unless they repent. It will also prevent one from inheriting the Kingdom of God unless one repents.
Beloved, we are all at risk of falling into sexual sins whether we are married or not. This is not just sinful, but has several serious consequences upon our lives. It is therefore important that we look into our lives again and ask for forgiveness if we have fallen into it. Our God is loving, kind and forgiving enough to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we have not, we should continue praying for more grace to be able to continue resisting the temptation of falling into sexual sins and ungodly soul-tying. But we should also avoid anything that could lead us into sexual sins whether married or unmarried. No one is too spiritual to fall into sexual sins, so watch out!
THE WORD OF THE LORD!
See also: The Acts of the Sinful Nature (Part 2)
Pastor Nana Kobina Baisie
Teacher/Pastor at Nadrim Mission International School, Busan, Korea.