Abstain from Fleshly Lusts

1Peter 2:11-12 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. 

‘Strangers and pilgrims’ they were the elect or converted Jews of the dispersion (1:2). Jews lived in all lands and in every city of Europe, Asia, and Africa (Acts 2:5-9; 26:6). They maintained their own laws and synagogues remaining separate from all other peoples.

‘Pilgrims’ eight commands are given here for pilgrims: Abstain from fleshly lusts (2:11); live honest lives before men (2:12); submit to human civil rulers (2:13-15); be free, but live godly (2:16); honour all men (2:17); love the brotherhood [fellow Christians representing the body of Christ] (2:17); fear God (2:17) and honour the king [country leader] (2:17).

‘Abstain from fleshly lusts’ studying some of the sins that damn the soul we must look at the following ten: (1) Evil thoughts include evil surmising, imaginations, devising, wanton, lustful, lascivious thoughts – any mind activity not brought to the obedience of Christ as in 2Corinthians 10:4. Examples of evil thoughts: General wickedness (Gen. 6:5; Ps. 64:5-6; Isa. 59:7; 65:2), jealousy – hatred (Gen. 50:20), evading responsibility (Deut. 15:9), false witnessing (Deut. 19:15-21), factless decisions (Jdg. 15:2), murder and rape (Jdg. 20:5), surmising – judging (1Sam. 1:13), plotting to kill (1Sam. 18:25 Neh. 6:2; Est. 3:6), covetousness (2Chron. 32:1; Ezek. 38:10-12; Luke 12:15-21), pride (Est. 6:6; Ps. 10:4), evil imaginations (Job 21:27; 2Cor. 10:4-7), false security (Ps. 49:11), vanity (Ps. 94:11; 119:113; Jer. 4:14), foolishness (Pro. 24:9), cursing rulers (Eccl. 10:20), worry (Matt. 6:25-34; Luke 12:11-26), false accusations (Matt. 9:3-4; 12:24-25; Luke 5:21-23; 11:17), pride in outward religion (Matt. 15:1-20; Mark 7:1-22; Luke 6:7-8), self-exaltation (Luke 9:46-48), wanting God’s power for gain and outward show (Acts 8:18-24), religious zeal without knowledge (Acts 26:9-18), pride over human wisdom (1Cor. 3:18-21), partiality (Jas. 2:1-4), and unbelief – doubt (Luke 24:38). (2) Adulteries are unlawful sexual relations between men and women, single or married (Matt. 5:32; 15:19; Mark 7:21; John 8:3; Gal. 5:19). (3) Fornications is the same as adultery besides all manner of other unlawful relations (Matt. 5:32). (4) Murders – to kill; to spoil or mar the happiness of another; hatred (Matt. 15:18; 1Jn. 3:15). (5) Thefts – taking from others that which is not yours (Eph. 4:28). (6) Covetousness is forbidden in God’s Word (Matt. 6:19-21; Rom. 13:9; Eph. 5:3; Heb. 13:5; 1Jn. 2:15-17). Hatred of it is one qualification of godly leaders, civil and religious (Ex. 18:21; 1Tim. 3:3; Tit. 1:7; 1Pet. 5:2). It will damn the soul (1Cor. 5:11; Eph. 5:3-5; 1Tim. 6:9-11; 2Pet. 2:3, 14). It must be killed out entirely (Col. 3:2-6). (7) Wickedness – known characteristics of the wicked are: They seek the destruction of others (Ps. 35:19); they are enemies to the righteous and hope for their destruction (Ps. 35:25); they hate without cause and plan deceitful acts, and they gloat over the hurt of others (Ps. 35:26). (8) Deceit is falsehood (Ps. 119:118); (9) Lasciviousness is wanton desires, sinful lusts and the promoting or partaking of that which tends to produce lewd emotions, anything tending to foster sex sin and lust. That is why many worldly pleasures have to be avoided by Christians – so that lasciviousness may not be committed. (10) An evil eye, meaning an evil, covetous, envious, and corrupt desire and heart that are never satisfied (Pro. 23:6-7; 27:20; Eccl. 1:8; 1Jn. 2:16). An “evil eye” portrays: Hardness of heart (Deut. 15:9); utter depravity (Deut. 28:54-57); immorality (Job 24:15; 2Pet. 2:14; Isa. 3:16; Ezek. 6:9); covetousness (Pro. 28:22); darkness (Matt. 6:22-23; Luke 11:34; John 12:40; Acts 26:18); discontent – murmuring (Matt. 20:15); lusts (1Jn. 2:16); rebellion (Matt. 13:15); blasphemy (Ex. 20:7); pride (Ps. 101:5); foolishness, recklessness and thoughtlessness (Mark 7:21).

‘War against the soul’ [Greek: strateuomai] to serve as a soldier; to be drawn up in battle array either to kill or take captive. Fleshly lusts will do both if they are not conquered (Gal. 5:19-21; Rom. 1:29-32; 1Cor. 6:9).

‘Conversation’ [Greek: anastrophe] behaviour or manner of life; the whole conduct of life in domestic and public relations. Always translated “conversation” (1:15, 18; 2:12; 3:1, 2, 16; Gal. 1:13; Eph. 4:22; 1Tim. 4:12; Heb. 13:7; Jas. 3:13; 2Pet. 2:7; 3:11). ‘Among the Gentiles’ what Peter writes to Christians applies to both Jews and Gentiles.

‘Evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God’ at first, the heathen made no distinction between Jews and Christians. And since Jews were so hated by the Gentiles, Christians needed to walk very godly to prove they weren’t Jews, even though many of them were Jewish by nationality.

‘In the day of visitation’ in the day they’re brought to Christ through your lives of suffering and by your good works.

Do Not Err

James 1:13-16 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempted he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bring forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren. 

After using the word temptation in the sense of trial, it is now used in the sense of solicitation to sin. God cannot be tempted with evil, neither does He tempt any man with it. Evil temptations come from evil, not from good. Do not be deceived by supposing that God is the author of sin or that He impels any man to commit it.

Temptation starts with us being tempted in our thoughts of evil, thereafter we are drawn away with strong imagination and lust or delight in viewing whatever we put our minds on. We are being enticed as our wills are weakened and lust conceives as we yield and a sinful act is committed. The result of actual sin is death.

Works of the Flesh

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, ….. they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.  Gal. 5:19a … 21b

No man who commits the sins mentioned in Galatians 5:19-21 will ever inherit the kingdom of God unless he confesses and puts them out of his life.  These are called the works of the flesh and are given in contrast of the fruit of the Spirit that we receive as we are washed, sanctified and are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

These sins can be classified in four divisions, the four sins of lust: adultery, fornication, uncleanness and lasciviousness, Gal. 5:19 the two sins of impiety and superstition: idolatry and witchcraft, Gal. 5:20 the nine sins of temper: hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings and murders, Gal. 5:20-21 and the two sins of the appetite: drunkenness and revellings. Gal. 5:21 Let’s have a look at them:

  1. Greek: moicheia (GSN-<G3430>), unlawful sexual relations between men and women, single or married. Mt. 15:19; Mk. 7:21; Jn. 8:3 Note the related Greek: verbs, moichao (GSN-<G3429>) Mt. 5:32, 19:9; Mk. 10:11-12 and moicheuo (GSN-<G3431>). Mt. 5:27-28; 19:18; Mk. 10:19; Lk. 16:18; 18:20; Jn. 8:4; Rom. 2:22; 13:9; Jas. 2:11; Rev. 2:22
  2. Greek: porneia (GSN-<G4202>), same as adultery above besides all manner of other unlawful relations.
  3. Greek: akatharsia (GSN-<G167>), whatever is opposite of purity; including sodomy, homosexuality, lesbianism, pederasty, bestiality, and all other forms of sexual perversion Mt. 23:27; Rom. 1:21-32; 6:19; 2Cor. 12:21; Eph. 4:19; 5:3; Col. 3:5; 1Th. 2:3; 4:7; 2Pet. 2
  4. Greek: aselgeia (GSN-<G766>), licentiousness, lustfulness, unchastity, and lewdness. Translated “lasciviousness” Mk. 7:22; 2Cor. 12:21; Eph. 4:19; 1Pet. 4:3; Jude 1:4 “wantonness” Rom. 13:13; 2Pet 2:18 and “filthy”. 2Pet. 2:7 Lasciviousness is the promoting or partaking of that which tends to produce lewd emotions, anything tending to foster sex sin and lust. That is why many worldly pleasures have to be avoided by Christians, so that lasciviousness may not be committed.
  5. Greek: eidololatreia (GSN-<G1495>), image-worship. 1Cor. 10:14; Col. 3:5; 1Pet. 4:3 Idolatry includes anything on which affections are passionately set; extravagant admiration of the heart. Eph. 5:5; Col. 3:5
  6. Greek: pharmakeia (GSN-<G5331>), sorcery, practice of dealing with evil spirits; magical incantations and casting spells and charms upon one by means of drugs and potions of various kinds. Rev. 9:21; 18:23 Enchantments were used to inflict evil, pains, hatred, sufferings, and death, or to bring good, health, love and other blessings.
  7. Greek: echthra (GSN-<G2189>), enmity Lk. 23:12; Rom. 8:7; Eph. 2:15-16; Jas. 4:4 and hatred. Bitter dislike, abhorrence, malice and ill will against anyone; tendency to hold grudges against or be angry at someone.
  8. Greek: eris (GSN-<G2054>). Rom. 1:29 Dissensions, discord, quarreling, debating; and disputes.
  9. Greek: zeloi (GSN-<G2205>), envies, jealousies; striving to excel at the expense of another; seeking to surpass and out do others; uncurbed rivalry spirit in religion, business, society, and other fields of endeavor. Translated “zeal” Jn. 2:17; Rom. 10:2; 2Cor. 7:11; 9:2; Php. 3:6; Col. 4:13 “fervent mind” 2Cor. 7:7 “envy” Acts 13:45; Rom. 13:13; 1Cor. 3:3; 2Cor. 12:20; Jas. 3:14-15 “jealousy” 2Cor. 11:2 “indignation” Acts 5:17; Heb. 10:27 and “emulation”.
  10. Greek: thumos (GSN-<G2372>), “wrath” Lk. 4:28; Acts 19:28; 2Cor. 12:20; Eph. 4:31; Col. 3:8; Heb. 11:27; Rev. 12:12; 14:8,10,19; 15:1,7; 16:1; 18:3 “indignation” Rom. 2:8 and “fierceness”. Rev. 16:19; 19:15 Turbulent passions; domestic and civil turmoil; rage; determined and lasting anger.
  11. Greek: eritheia (GSN-<G2052>), “strife” 2Cor. 12:20; Php. 2:3; Jas. 3:14,16 “contention”. Php. 1:16; Rom. 2:8 Disputations; jangling; strife about words; angry contentions; contest for superiority or advantage; strenuous endeavor to equal or pay back in kind the wrongs done to one.
  12. Greek: dichostasia (GSN-<G1370>), “divisions” Rom. 16:17; 1Cor. 3:3 “seditions, parties, and factions”. Popular disorder; stirring up strife in religion, government, home, or any other place.
  13. Greek: hairesis (GSN-<G139>), a choosing, hence, a sect Acts 5:17; 15:5; 24:5; 26:5; 28:22 and heresy. Acts 24:14; 1Cor. 11:19; Gal. 5:20; 2Pet. 2:1
  14. Greek: phthonoi (GSN-<G5355>) Mt. 27:18; Mk. 15:10; Rom. 1:29; Php. 1:15; 1Tim. 6:4; Tit. 3:3; Jas. 4:5; 1Pet. 2:1 Pain, ill will, and jealousy at the good fortune or blessings of another; the most base of all degrading and disgraceful passions.
  15. Greek: phonoi (GSN-<G5408>) Mt. 15:18 to kill; to spoil or mar the happiness of another; hatred. 1Jn. 3:15
  16. Greek: methai (GSN-<G3178>) Lk. 21:34; Rom. 13:13 Drinking, living intoxicated; a slave to drink; drinking bouts.
  17. Greek: komoi (GSN-<G2970>) 1Pet. 4:3 rioting. Rom. 13:13 Lascivious and boisterous feastings, with obscene music, and other sinful activities; pleasures; carousing.

Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. 1Cor. 6:9-11 KJV

I choose to live a life wherein I die to the self and the works of the flesh and I choose to live in the Spirit and in Truth and not to give in to worldly or fleshly lusts. I choose to serve Christ Jesus! Amen