The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Paul has been telling his readers about this whole concept of life in the flesh as contrasted with life in the Spirit, and as we saw yesterday, life in the flesh is what Paul says to refer to a life that is centered on the physical needs and impulses of the body; of the physical world. Here, he gives us a list of things that would be a part of this kind of living: It is not an exhaustive list. We know that because he adds “and the like” after it. Thus this is a listing of the kinds of things that show what he is referring to.
Take a careful look; think about them. Don’t think about them in a “legal” sense, look more deeply and consider what they tell you about a person who gives these sorts of things a priority in their life. Take a minute or two to reflect…
OK, if you did this little exercise, you must have noticed that these are things that have something in common; they are all self-centered. Did you see that? They are all about ME!
“I can do what I want, I can do whatever feels good and I can use or abuse others in the process.” Now, let’s think some more. More often than not for most of these, a person doing any one of them will not want to admit to just anyone that they did it… at least at first, for they feel a sense of shame. This may change over time for some but even so, these aren’t the kinds of things most people would want their grandmother to know about. Why? Is it because of the oppression of the capitalist classes or the military-industrial complex? No. It’s because deep down, in their heart of hearts, most people know they shouldn’t act this way, yet they do it anyway.
Why do they do it anyway, even though they know they shouldn’t, and they know that these kinds of behaviors cause no end of trouble? It’s simple really, because they want to be like the Most High God, knowing both good and evil. Yes, that sounds familiar, it’s the lie the serpent told Eve way back in the Garden of Eden; it is the original sin. Of course the serpent had done the same thing, for before Eden, Lucifer, the most powerful, brilliant and beautiful of all the angels decided one day that he wanted to be like the Most High God. That, dear reader, is the basic and primary impulse of rebellion against God Himself, it is the Fall of Man all over again, and it is why Paul says that “those who live like that will not inherit the kingdom of God.”