Actions speak louder than words

Many people profess to be Christians in America. Yet few of them live a separated, Biblical life. Many (perhaps most) can’t be distinguished from non-Christians in dress, lifestyle, and actions. They look, talk, and act just like the rest of the world.

Paul explains in Galations 6:8

For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth of the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

Why should we be different? Ephesians 5:6-12

Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth; Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.

There are several places in the new testament where actions are very implicitly mentioned. Specifically certain actions and behaviors which should be refrained from if you want to inherit the kingdom of God. What does this mean? Simply, if you claim to be a Christian and expect to go to heaven, you need to not do some things.

2 Corinthians 6:17- 7:1

Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will recieve you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

What are these things? Let’s examine them. Starting in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of god? Be not decieved: neither fornicators, 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.

This is further expanded in Galatians 5: 19-21

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 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.

In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul tells them in Ephesians 5:3-5

But fornication and all uncleanness, or covetousness, and let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, not foolish talking nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather with thanks. For this you know, that no unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolatoer, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

Ephesians 15, 18

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess but be filled with the Spirit.

What do these terms mean? Many of them are very common today, as likewise in ancient times.

Adultery and fornication deal with lusts of the body. If you’ve had an affair, a “one night stand”, or “played around” you’re guilty of this.

Lasciviousness is loose living. It’s doing what you want, how you want, and when you want without a care for others or consequences. This is common among many young adults today. Sadly, many of them claim to be Christians.

Idolatry is worshiping of idols. This need not be limited to religious idols or icons, but can also be anything which takes you away from worshiping God. Following of sports, music, and entertainment stars can become idolatry if excessive. Indeed, one popular TV talent show is called American Idol.

Witchcraft is fairly self explanatory but also includes many New Age practices like Tarot cards, horoscopes, fortune telling in all forms.

Hatred is self explanatory.

Wrath is acting upon extreme anger.

Envy is wanting something which isn’t ours, jealousy.

Drunkenness is spoken of several times as being wrong. Excessive alcohol leads to many problems. How much is too much? This is different for everyone. Some may be drunk after just one drink. It is best just to not drink at all.

Thieves take things that don’t belong to them. It doesn’t differentiate between petty thieves and felons, but just says thieves.

Reveling is excessive partying. If you neighbor calls the police because your party is disturbing them, you are reveling. Likewise, city wide street celebrations may be considered reveling.

Covetousness is wanting something that belongs to someone else. Advertising takes advantage of covetousness to make you want to buy the product.

Extortioners use force or the threat of force to get what they want.

Some would say we have freedom in Christ. Yes, but not absolute to do anything we please so long as we believe based upon Galtions 5:18 . Freedom in Christ is freedom from ancient Jewish law. Freedom from animal sacrifices to try to appease our sins to God. However, we are to behave righteously, not indulging in lusts of the flesh. Taken in context, Galations 5:16-18 explains the relationship between lusts of the flesh, Spirit and the law. It does not give us freedom to act anyway we want. Doing so is fulfilling the lust of the flesh which are defined and I’ve listed above.

This I say then, walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh, For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

What shall we do if we are guilty of any of these things? Are we damned forever? No. However, we are to stop doing whatever sin we are indulging in and repent to Christ. Hebrews 6:6

If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

How shall we act then instead? Galations 5:22-25

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, and faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Galations 6:12

That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

These are just a few of the many instances where behavior and actions are mentioned. Don’t be deceived. Ephesians 5:17

Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

1 John 2:15-17 cautions believers

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. for all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

Finally for those who say this is legalism Proverbs 3:5-7

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. in all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the  Lord, and depart from evil.

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2 Responses

  1. Very good post. Visited with a good friend this evening, as we discussed all the ills of the world – we kept coming back to one thing, following God is not easy, but if you do follow God, and live your life in way God has designed you will find contentment. It means giving up your own wants and desires, and putting your trust in God. It is not an easy walk to try to live a Gospel Life, but the rewards are many.
    Just imagine if all the world followed the ten commandments 🙂

  2. Martine,
    Thank you. Yes, I think that is what Jesus meant when he said “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” in Matthew 11:29-30.

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