Galatians 5:19-21


This is not a list to put on your mirror or refrigerator and try in the flesh to avoid.

This is a checklist to evaluate your behavior and your reaction to see if you are living by the Spirit.


If you find yourself failing the test and are not producing the fruit of the Spirit then one of the following may be true in your life:

a)      You are not  following the Spirit leading you through your new nature due to lack of focus (either: selfish legalism or selfish indulgence)

b)      The Spirit is not leading you because you are out of fellowship

c)      Your flesh is in control.  Your soul is receiving “seeds” (temptation) from your sin nature and you are naturally producing the work of the flesh.


Remember, we all have a sin nature.  This means we will always have the following temptations or thoughts arising out of that sin nature.  To walk in the Spirit, and not in the flesh, means you will be looking for and experiencing a greater type “fruit” or production from your new nature.  The Spirit will lead you into the production of this new way of behaving and show you the new way of reacting.  We will review the fruit of the Spirit next week.  Tonight we review and identify the works of the flesh (sin nature).


5:19 “obvious” (“manifest” in KJ) is “phaneros” and means “to shine, to make shine, to cause to appear.”  It is used in 1 Tm. 4:125 and 1 Jn. 3:10


            This list of fleshly fruit includes sins that appear in the:

a)      mind (soul, heart)

b)      mouth

c)      body


sexual immorality  “porneia”  is sex outsid marriage, illicit sexual intercourse, any immoral sexual act.  Mt. 5:19, 1 Co. 5:1.


impurity   “akatharsia”    is wrong acts.  Originated from meaning being dirty and developed a moral reference.  It means moral or ceremonial unclean.

            Mt. 23:27 – filth inside tombs

            Ep. 4:18,19 – result of rejecting the gospel and being ignorant

            1 Th. 2:3 – produces error and false teaching.


debauchery”   “aselgeia”   is excess, absence of restraint, not restrained by law

            Mt. 7:27 – it is found in a man’s heart

            Jude 4 – Men turn the doctrine of grace into this


Notice 2 Cor. 12:20-21.   In verse 12:21 these three are mentioned together.


Verse 19 listed sexual or fleshy sins

Verse 20 will list two religious sins.



“idolatry”   “eidololatria”  from    eidolon = temple  and   latreia = service

            An idol is something that man uses to:

a)      explain his origins

b)      define his morals

c)      control his environment

When something is excepted as having the answers to these three questions that man has he will then worship and follow this “idol”.


            Rm. 1:22 -  man’s weakness

            1 Co. 10:19 – door to demons

            Gal 4:3,8,9 – man’s attempt to control his environment


“witchcraft”  “pharmakeia”                                                                                                   This word means: “the use of medicine or drugs, the use of drugs for     magical purposes, magic, sorcery” (from Linguistic Key by Rogers and                                    Rogers)


Those involved with pagan worship would use drugs as a way of controlling themselves and enhancing communication with demons (gods)


Ex. 7:11, 22 – Pharaoh’s wisemen, sorcerers, magicians

            Is. 47:9



“Hatred”     “echthrai”    hostility


”discord”    “eris”        strife


“jealousy   “zelos”   different than envy.  This zelos desires to have the same thing for     self.  Envy  desires to deprive others of it.

            Rm. 13:13 – a deed of darkness

            1 Cor. 3:3 – if you still have it you are still worldly.


“fits of rage”  “thumos”  this is not anger but the outburst of anger.

            Notice Ephesians 4:26, “In your anger do not sin.”

a)      anger?  Anger itself is not a sin.  If a believer can live in this fallen world and never be angry by the way people are treated or abused, for example, then I doubt they have any love in their hearts.  Anger is a godly reaction to many things that are wrong.  But, using anger as the basis of operation can quickly become sin.  The sin nature will respond in anger and fits of rage to wrong things, at wrong times, and in wrong ways.  Here “fits of rage” is an extreme, unbridled outburst of anger.

b)      Devil a foothold? (lit. “a place”) 

a.       Our sins come from our evil nature James 1:13

b.      Satan will use our weakness like a crack

c)      Sundown?

a.       If you have righteous anger you need to deal with the situation and resolve it.  Your anger against a wrong is not a sin.  Again, a healthy Christian should get angry about certain things.  The issue here concerning “sundown” is that your anger is calling you to respond in a corrective measure to the wrong.  To neglect responding, or making plans on how to correct it, would be the sin.

b.      Ignoring a wrong is sin itself.   An example is found in Lev. 19:17


“Selfish Ambition”   “eritheiai”     rivalries


            Notice that many of these sins are sins that Paul dealt with in most of the churches                        he wrote to.  Corinth, Philippi, Colossians, Galatia are just some of the churches        where Paul had to deal with groups of people operating out of the sin nature in the              church.  They were divisive, filled with selfish ambition, jealous and envious of                        each other all with in the church.  In fact, these sins are very frequent among and               between believers in church situations.


2 Cor:12:20   eris = strife    zealos = jealous thumoi = anger    eritheiai  =  rivalries


dissensions”    the flesh longs to divide


“factions”       selfish ambition to gain followers and not always with false doctrine


“envy”      desire to  deprive others of what they have.

                   Displeasure when others prosper


“Drunkenness”       alcohol


“Orgies”       “komoi”   is carousing or a drinking party


“the like”   there are more.


5:21     “live” is “to do, or to practice” in the present tense indicating                                           a “life style” not a “lapse”


Meaning, if a person can go through their life living like this they give a strong       indication they do not have the Spirit and so they are not born again and never       were.


See 2 Peter 2:7 and Lot’s tormented soul


Warned “as I did before”  Paul had obviously evangelized the Galatians and led them to the Lord.  Here he said he had also given them this list, or checklist of sins. 


If Paul had simply led them to the Lord and given them a list of ethics to obey, he would simply have done what many do today:

a)      Take a pagan who is in some worldly system of religion

b)      Lead that person to a saving faith in Jesus Christ

c)      Give that believer a list of legalistic rules which puts them right back into                                 a worldly system of religion.


This is what the entire book of Galatians is against. 

Paul would never have led them to the Lord and then given them a list.


What Paul did is clear as we look at the examples of his ministry in Acts and in the epistles.  Between leading people to the Lord and identifying a checklist of Christian ethics Paul would teach them in order to give them a full understanding of the truth. 


This teaching gave them a body of truth to believe. 

It gave them information to change their world view and renew their mind. 

It gave them spiritual motivation to live holy. 

It shined a light into the darkness of their souls where they could find this new presence   of the Holy Spirit and a new power for living. 


Teaching made their new life in Christ real and something they could experience beyond   a few days of emotional momentum.


In Thessalonica it is clear that Paul taught them eschatology in depth during their first 21 days as believers.  Why?  The entire eschatological system is reviewed in the closing verses of Second Peter in his final chapter days before his execution.  Here Peter tells us that this information will make us “holy and blameless.” 


Even in Paul’s epistles the first chapters are teaching and the closing chapters are identifying the correct Christian lifestyle and production. 


In Galatians we have seen chapters 3 and 4 are an appeal to Old Testament scriptures and committed to establishing theology.  Now, in chapters 5 and 6 Paul is calling them to Christian ethics, or the production of spiritual fruit.  But he is only doing this on the foundation of the truth he has taught them.


To skip systematic teaching of the full revelation of God’s Word between the points of salvation and expecting Christian behavior is to give a believer nothing but legalism. 


The system of legalism will never lead a Christian to fulfill their purpose in life. 

It will never lead them to the fruit of the spirit. 

It will cause frustration and discouragement in this life.

It will result in the lack of rewards in eternity. 


Legalism will cause the believer to loss what they have worked for.


This is the correct way of Christian growth:

a)      Evangelism

b)      Teaching

c)      Ethics