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September 7 – The works of the flesh

Now the works of the flesh are evident…I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. – Galatians 5:19, 21

Scripture reading: Galatians 5:19-21

We’ll spend most of our time focusing on the fruit of the Spirit. But today we consider the works of the flesh. Paul says that “the works of the flesh are evident.” They are those actions that flow out of our “flesh” (sin nature) and its desires. Apart from God’s grace in Christ and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, we all gravitate towards these things.

The sins Paul mentions don’t need much explanation. But it’s worth mentioning that this is not an exhaustive list, as Paul adds, “and things like these,” at the end of the list (v. 21). Other works of the flesh are mentioned elsewhere (e.g. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Ephesians 5:3-6; Colossians 3:5-9). Paul mentions the sins that the particular church to which he is writing tends to struggle with the most. He also always warns them, “that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

It’s important to note that this does not mean that Christians never commit these sins and achieve sinless perfection in this life (Galatians 5:17). Rather, it means that Christians don’t walk in these sins habitually as a committed lifestyle. They also repent of these sins with genuine sorrow and hatred and turn from them more and more. Furthermore, they grow in a heartfelt desire to walk in righteousness and the Spirit produces in them His righteous fruit (Galatians 5:22-23).

Suggestions for prayer

Confess your sins to God, rest in the complete forgiveness of all your sins in Christ and ask for the Spirit to enable you to turn more and more from the works of the flesh and to walk in Christ-like love for God and neighbor.

Rev. Brian Cochran has been serving Redeemer Reformation Church in Regina, Saskatchewan since 2010. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional.

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