Defining and comparing the works of the flesh (AKA the knowledge of evil) and the fruit of the spirit. Learn the biblical secret of discernment that shows you for certain what is in someone’s heart; whether they are working with God or for the devil. All this plus more is revealed to you in this enlightening bible study lesson!
Works of the Flesh
The fruit of the knowledge of evil is also described as the “Works of the Flesh” i.e. human nature devoid of God. “The works of the flesh” are called “the unfruitful works of darkness” in Ephesians 5:11. In other words, “the works of the flesh” do not produce a valuable or desirable fruit. “The works of the flesh” are the evil fruit of the evil tree. They bring forth no blessings and no real benefits.
Turn to Galatians 5:19 “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Let’s get to know each one in better detail because this is the left side of your gauge. Depending on how many of these manifest and at what level of activity or intensity will show you how far away from God a person is.
One person married but having sex with someone else. Lust of others spouse; indulge illicit lust; giving yourself to illicit sex without payment; gratify illicit sex of the homosexual or the heterosexual; provoking incest; unfaithfulness to God.
Having sex outside of marriage, between the unmarried or married; indulge unlawful lust; illicit sexual practice with payment as in prostitution; illicit sexual practice of either sex; lust in the heart.
Morally impure, evil, vile, unlikable, whatever is opposite of purity; having evil thoughts and/or actions. God says that homosexuality, bestiality, and all other forms of sexual perversion render a person unclean.
Indicating sexual interest or expressive of lust or lewdness, promiscuous, not the act of fornication but everything leading up to it. Like a guy who is a skirt chaser or a woman being a tease. Being improper in your actions and your communications or going around scantly clad in order to induce impure or lustful thoughts and feeling toward you from another person.
The worship of idols, excessive or blind adoration, reverence or devotion to anything other than God, anything dethroning God. This includes praying to saints and statues hoping that god will hear you through them.
Practicing magic using demonic powers, Greek: pharmakeia, (This word gives us our English word: Pharmacy) sorcery, practice of dealing with evil spirits; magical incantations and casting spells and charms upon someone using “magic potions” and drugs of various kinds. Enchantments were used to inflict evil, pains, hatred, sufferings, and death. Or even “white witchcraft” used with good intentions to bring goodness, health, love, joy and other blessings.
If the power is not coming from God, then it is technically witchcraft and only bad things will come of it.
Intense dislike or hostility, lack of regard for another. Bitter dislike and ill-will against anyone; tendency to hold grudges against or be angry at someone; wanting to hurt them.
Conflict, arguing, fighting, not agreeing when you should; a quarrel, being difficult to deal with.
Resentment against a rival, a person enjoying success or advantage, to copy another to equal or surpass; jealousy as with malice [intent to harm]. Striving to excel at the expense of another; seeking to surpass and outdo others; unbridled rivalry in religion, business, society, and other fields of endeavor. Professional skater Tonya Harding hurting rival Nancy Kerrigan is a good example from 1994. It ruined her career, she reaped what she sowed.
Vengeance or punishment as the consequence of great anger, fierceness; Determined and lasting anger as in getting back at someone for a perceived wrong doing.
Struggling in opposition. Contest for superiority or advantage for selfish gain; not as in playing a game or in a healthy sporting competition. The sport of wrestling is a good example of healthy strife. Strife is not always physical, it can be metal using words like in a religious or political debate. Where it becomes a work of the flesh is when the intention is to hurt the other either physically or mentally or emotionally. Like I tell my kids, “It’s all fun and games till someone starts crying.” That’s when hatred and wrath usually kick in!
Rebellious disorder; causing trouble. Stirring up strife in religion, government, home, or any other place.
Divisions in religious communities. The word itself has no evil meaning. It simply refers to a doctrinal view or belief conflicting with the recognized and accepted tenets of a system, church, or party. It becomes a work of the flesh when the heart behind the division is to cause trouble, hurt people or raise ones self up in importance over another. Heresies become evil when sound bible doctrine is rejected and a false doctrine is taught in place of the truth.
Close to jealousy, a feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to another’s advantages, success, possessions, ill-will, spite, jealousy; thinking a person is not worthy of having what they have, because you feel you are more deserving.
The intentional killing of another human being, or organized slaughter. This includes being involved in a murder even if you are not directly responsible for the death.
Intoxication, in this case alcohol but can include any mind altering drug. Excessive drinking or drug use to the point that you diminish or even lose good judgment and self control. Excessive drug use is widely known as the fast track to self destruction and it deeply hurts others who are involved.
Partying hard, indulging in loud boisterous festivities for no apparent reason. The letting loose of inhibitions, such as in a drunken rampage; also involves rioting.
Actions Speak More Than Words
The actions of people are expressions of their inner selves. Note that Paul’s list was just a partial list because he concludes it by saying “and such like”. The works of the flesh are many and varied, and they that do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. This is serious stuff.
Jesus says in John 3:6, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit”. As Isaiah tells us in 64:6, “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away” The works of the flesh bring nothing good that is lasting.
Now in contrast to the works of the flesh, AKA your “old man nature” let’s take a look at the Fruit of the Spirit.
Fruit of the Spirit
When you are born again you receive the Gift of Holy Spirit; you become a new creation, a new man, because a spiritual seed is placed inside you. When cultivated and grown this seed blossoms into a tree that bears spiritual fruit.
The amount of fruit you bear is dependent on how much you tend to the seed and grow it. Meaning, how close you are to God and how much you are doing His word. This fruit manifests itself in the following ways:
Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the spirit is Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith, Meekness and Temperance; against such there is no law.”
Let’s get to know each one in better detail. Depending on how many of these and at what level of activity or intensity will show you how close to God a person is.
The primary key to everything. Along with temperance (self-control), love is a bookend that helps hold the other fruit in place. It is a love that surpasses human understanding and causes a person to be filled with the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:18-19).
Its divine characteristics are detailed in I Corinthians 13. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails”.
The emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying. Joy gives spiritual strength. Heb 12:2 says, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God”.
Primarily, peace with God. When we are sinners doing the works of the flesh, we are rebels against God. When our rebellion ends and we are forgiven, then we are at peace. This kind of peace doesn’t come through laying around on vacation, entertainment, drugs, alcohol, sex or wealth.
The spiritual fruit of peace results from being justified by faith. Romans 5:1 says,. “Therefore, since we have been justified [made right; declared innocent or guiltless] through faith [in what Christ accomplished for us on the cross], we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”. We must learn to maintain peace in three important relationships:
1) with God,
2) with our fellow man,
3) and with ourselves.
We maintain peace with God by believing and trusting Him and by not sinning. Maintain peace with our fellow man by not allowing strife to be a part of our relationships with other people. We maintain peace with ourselves by being happy with who we are and by refusing to live in guilt or condemnation.
Long and patient endurance of injury, trouble, or provocation. Like when someone keeps making you angry or picking on you but just let it go and you maintain control. Longsuffering is love on trial. It enables you to be emotionally strong and forgive others. Colossians 3:13 says, “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”
Being moderate, kind; the absence of harshness or severity. The Apostle Paul illustrates gentleness by the example of a mother feeding her babies (I Thessalonians 2:7).
Moral excellence; virtue. God is the ultimate example of goodness. Goodness is holiness put into practice and results from knowing God. Goodness enables you to do good to those who hate you (Luke 6:27) as well as those of the household of faith (Galatians 6:10). It is the goodness of God that leads people to repentance. That’s why we need to be good to people. Our witness won’t have any power unless we are kind to others. We are called to be light in a dark world, and we must make up our minds that we are going to shine!
A better translation is faithfulness, the act of being faithful. Doing what you say you are going to do. Being known as someone people can trust because you are reliable. Webster’s Dictionary defines faithful as “maintaining allegiance; constant; loyal; marked by or showing a strong sense of duty or responsibility; conscientious; accurate; reliable; exact.
Humble and patient. Meekness is not being mousy or weak, but rather a servant-like submission to God and others in your care. Your spirit is free from rebellion and pride. Meekness or humility is defined as “freedom from pride and arrogance; modest estimation of our own worth.” Humility or meekness is the opposite of pride.
The Bible says I Peter 5:5 that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. And Psalms 37:11 plainly states that “the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.”
Self-control; Moderation or self-restraint in action or statement; It is control over your entire being (body, soul and spirit). A person who has self-control is mild and calm, avoids extreme behavior, and exercises self-restraint in both actions and speech. After all, temperance and love are the bookends that hold all the other fruit in place.
Fruit of the Spirit directly contrasts the Works of the Flesh
Let’s take a look at how the Fruit of the Spirit directly contrasts the Works of the Flesh:
Love – Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness
Joy – Drunkenness,
Peace – Variance, Strife, Heresies
Longsuffering – Wrath
Gentleness – Murder
Goodness – Hatred
Faith – Idolatry, witchcraft
Meekness – Emulations, Envy
Temperance – Seditions, Revellings
This should give you great insight into people. Do you want to know the truth about what is in a person’s heart? Watch what they are saying and what they are doing. More importantly, pay close attention to what is developing around them. What kind of fruit is manifesting in their life? Is it of the Spirit or of the flesh? That will tell you the truth about where they really are with God. Knowing this is like having a “gauge to godliness”.
Jesus said in Matthew 7:20 “Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them.”
Now let’s read Galatians 6:7-10 again with a greater understanding of the works of the flesh and the fruit of the spirit:
7) Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
8) For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
9) And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
10) As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
NOTE: Please be careful that you do not fall into self condemnation if you look at your gauge and feel like you are falling short. Also, don’t fault another if you see they are falling short. Use your “Gauge to Godliness” as a mile post, or to see in what areas you need to grow more; or how you might be able to best help others who are struggling. Make it a positive thing.
The dictionary defines Corrupt as:
1) made inferior by errors or alterations,
2) infected; tainted.
3) decayed; putrid.
Corruption leads to destruction. The use of the term “corruption” implies that destruction is not a punishment, but is its natural fruit; the end result, the flesh being corrupt produces corruption, which then leads to destruction. You reap what you sow.
Don’t grow tired in sowing if you are not seeing immediate results. Sow your seeds, wait for them to grow and then harvest when ripe. You ever see a farmer plant seeds, never water them and then give up after a week or two when nothing grows? No!
Faint not. This phrase isn’t referring to falling down unconscious or remaining conscious. “Faint” literally means to “be relaxed”, referring to relaxation of powers. We are encourage to not give up and walk away.
Keep these definitions of the Works of the Flesh and the Fruit of the Spirit in mind as you go about your day, be aware of what you do, what you say and what is developing around you.
Gauge to Godliness: Gauging Your Walk with God
You ever wonder how you are doing in your relationship with God? Do you ever have questions like: Am I on the Word, off the Word, am I on the right path, does He approve of what I’m doing? Really, unless He speaks directly to you about it, then how do you know?
Since God is awesome, He already provided us with a way, a system if you will, of determining the answers to all those questions, for yourself and for other people! He gave us a “gauge to Godliness” to judge ourselves by. It’s always accurate and it is completely fool-proof.
You know what fool-proof means? It means: Designed so as to be impervious to human incompetence, error, or misuse. Effective; infallible. The results of God’s gauge can’t be faked or tampered with. You will never get a wrong read out.
Use your new found gauge to Godliness. Make a conscious daily effort to sow less into the flesh and more into the spirit, be patient and hang tough with it. In due season you will reap what you sow, a bountiful harvest of goodness in your life and in the lives of those around you.
Listen to Full Audio Sermon
- The 17 tell-tale signs that show when someone is walking away from God.
- And accurately gauge how far away too!
- All 17 signs explained in detail so you can know them when you see them.
- Which 9 Godly traits you need to have in order to be close to God.
- Gain a deep understanding of what these 9 traits are so you can live them to your fullest.
Once you know the 17 signs of spiritual apostasy along with the 9 traits of godliness then you can use them like a gauge. 17 signs on one side and 9 traits on the others. Use this gauge to discern which direction you or someone else is going; either away for God or towards Him.
The Gauge of Godliness works perfectly for you every time. And it also works great for finding out where others are with God too.
Learn how to gain almost “supernatural” insight into people. Do you want to know the truth about what is in a person’s heart? Find out how easy it is to know within seconds. Knowing this biblical secret of discernment shows you for certain whether they are working for God or for the devil.
Get this Fruit vs. Works Sermon on audio CD