5. Sin - the Work of the Flesh

The Sons of the Devil

Neil Girrard
Words Covered in This Article:
Adultery π Fornication π Uncleanness π Licentiousness π Idolatry π Sorcery π Hatred π Contentions π Jealousies π Outbursts of Wrath π Selfish Ambitions π Dissensions π Heresies π Envy π Murders π Drunkenness π Revelries π And the Like

Scriptures Referenced in This Article:
          (Follow the Scripture links if you want to study the Scriptures for yourself.)
2 Ki. 18:4 π Prov. 6:16 π Prov. 6:19 π Mt. 5:32 π Mt. 13:41 π Mt. 15:13-14 π Mt. 15:19 π Mt. 15:19-20; 2nd π Mt. 19:6 π Mt. 19:9 π Mt. 23:2-3 π Mt. 23:27 π Mt. 27:18 π Mk. 7:21-22; 2nd; 3rd; 4th π Mk. 15:7 π Mk. 15:10 π Lk. 4:28-29 π Lk. 17:1 π Lk. 21:34 π Lk. 23:12 π Lk. 23:18-19 π Lk. 23:25 π Jn. 2:17 π Jn. 4:24 π Jn. 8:3-4 π Jn. 8:41 π Jn. 15:2 π Jn. 15:5 π Jn. 16:2 π Jn. 19:12-15 π Acts 5:17-18; 2nd π Acts 9:1-2 π Acts 13:45 π Acts 15:5 π Acts 15:20 π Acts 15:28-29 π Acts 17:11 π Acts 19:28 π Acts 21:25 π Acts 23:12-15 π Acts 24:5 π Acts 24:14 π Acts 26:5 π Acts 28:22 π Rom. 1:24-25 π Rom. 1:28-32; 2nd; 3rd; 4th π Rom. 2:5-11; 2nd π Rom. 6:19 π Rom. 8:6 π Rom. 8:7; 2nd π Rom. 10:2-3 π Rom. 13:13; 2nd; 3rd; 4th; 5th π Rom. 14:17; 2nd π Rom. 16:17 π 1 Cor. 1:11 π 1 Cor. 1:12 π 1 Cor. 3:1-4 π 1 Cor. 3:2-4 π 1 Cor. 3:3 π 1 Cor. 5:1 π 1 Cor. 6:13 π 1 Cor. 6:18 π 1 Cor. 7:2 π 1 Cor. 10:14 π 1 Cor. 11:3 π 1 Cor. 11:18-19 π 2 Cor. 7:6-7 π 2 Cor. 7:11 π 2 Cor. 9:1-2 π 2 Cor. 11:2 π 2 Cor. 12:20-21; 2nd; 3rd; 4th; 5th; 6th; 7th π Gal. 5:4 π Gal. 5:19-21 π Gal. 5:20-21 π Gal. 5:21; 2nd π Eph. 2:14-16 π Eph. 4:17-19; 2nd π Eph. 4:31 π Eph. 5:3-5 π Eph. 5:3-7 π Eph. 5:23 π Phlp. 1:15-17; 2nd; 3rd π Phlp. 2:3 π Phlp. 3:3-7 π Col. 3:5; 2nd π Col. 3:5-7 π Col. 3:8 π Col. 4:12-13 π 1 Ths. 2:3 π 1 Ths. 4:3 π 1 Ths. 4:7 π 1 Tim. 1:19-20 π 1 Tim. 5:20 π 1 Tim. 6:3-5; 2nd π 2 Tim. 3:5; 2nd π 2 Tim. 3:12 π Tit. 3:3 π Tit. 3:9 π Heb. 3:15 π Heb. 8:13 π Heb. 10:26-27 π Heb. 11:27 π Heb. 11:37-38 π Heb. 12:14 π Jas. 3:14-16; 2nd π Jas. 4:4; 2nd π Jas. 4:5 π 1 Pet. 2:1- π 3 1 Pet. 4:3; 2nd; 3rd π 2 Pet. 2:1 π 2 Pet. 2:6-8 π 2 Pet. 2:18 π Jude 4; 2nd π Rev. 2:21 π Rev. 9:20-21; 2nd π Rev. 9:21 π Rev. 12:11 π Rev. 12:12 π Rev. 14:8; 2nd π Rev. 14:9-12 π Rev. 14:19 π Rev. 14:20 π Rev. 15:1 π Rev. 15:7 π Rev. 16:1 π Rev. 16:19 π Rev. 17:1-2 π Rev. 17:4 π Rev. 18:3; 2nd π Rev. 18:23 π Rev. 19:2 π Rev. 19:15

“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” ( Gal. 5:19-21; top )

Now, let’s get down to it. This list of sins, if one is a consistent characteristic that dominates your life and there is no remorse for or repentance of this sin, this will qualify you as a tare among the wheat. When we read this list, often because a word is unfamiliar or completely unknown to us, we think it has no meaning whatsoever. And it would seem that we are often quite content to remain in ignorance about the exact meaning of each of these sins for, if we don’t know, then surely we’re not guilty or at least not accountable. But as we examine these words individually, we are quite likely to find that, not only do these words have a very specific meaning, we are often, both as individuals and as a corporate group, quite guilty of practicing many of these things.

Interestingly enough, these words are not used very often - and they are often used together. In each following section, every usage of each word in the New Testament is given (except for its appearance in the above list from Galatians). When another word from this list or when a closely related word appears in the same passage, it will be emphasized as well to make readily apparent the connectedness of these words, these actions, these sins. The numbers in brackets [ ] are the Strong’s numbering system to make it easier for you to do your homework by checking these things out for yourself. ( Acts 17:11; top ) Definitions in quotes are also taken from the Strong’s Greek Dictionary.

But as we examine these words, let us remember that this is not an academic exercise. Let us remember that he who commits any of these things on a regular, ongoing basis with no remorse or repentance - even if that might apply to ourselves - this person is a son of the devil, a tare sown among the wheat for the express purpose of preventing a true son of God from becoming a mature wheat ready for harvest. The one who refuses to repent of any of these sins will be removed from the kingdom of God and taken out and burned. If you read this and are convicted by the Holy Spirit that you are guilty of any of these, by all means, repent! Confess your sin(s) to God that you may be cleansed. “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts...? ( Heb. 3:15; top )



The Greek word used here is “moicheia” [3430]. This word appears only 4 times in the New Testament. And every time, it means a married individual engaging in extra-marital sexual relations. Here are the three other usages:



The Greek word here is ?porneia? [4202] and it simply refers to any sexual act with anyone other than your marriage partner. This word is used 26 times in the New Testament:



The Greek word here is “akatharsia” [167] and it means to be “unclean, dirty.” In its moral sense, it carries the idea of “the impurity of lustful, luxurious, profligate living.” It is comprised of two words: “a” (the negative, “to negate”) and “kathairo” [2508]. “Kathairo” is the word from which we derive “catharsis” and it means “to cleanse of filth and impurity.” In an interesting sidenote, “kathairo” is the word that Jesus uses when He speaks of pruning trees and vines of useless shoots that bear no fruit. ( Jn. 15:2; top ) When used metaphorically, “kathairo” means “to cleanse from guilt, to expiate.” To be unclean, then, is to refuse to be cleansed. It is a persistence in being dirty.



The Greek word used here is “aselgeia” [766] and it means “unbridled lust, excess, licentiousness, lasciviousness, wantonness, outrageousness, shamelessness, insolence.” In essence, it is the extremity of the sinful nature, a greed for sin and sinful living.



The Greek word used here is “eidololatreia” [1495] and it refers to “the worship of false gods, idolatry.” It refers to the formal sacrificial feats held in honor of false gods and it refers to the practice of having anything as a higher priority than obeying and following God. The clearest example of this latter form of idolatry is the greedy love of money which is referred to as the worship of the god Mammon. When this word is used in the plural, it refers to any and all of the vices that come from practicing idolatry. An obvious example from the Scriptures is the practice of sexual immorality that often accompanied the worship of false gods.



The Greek word used here is “pharmakeia” [5331] and it refers to “the use or the administering of drugs or poison, sorcery and magical arts.” It is often found in connection with idolatry and, when used metaphorically, it refers also to the deceptions and seductions of idolatry. It is the reliance upon drugs to perform miracles of healing or power rather than trusting God to work. As we are believers living in this world but not being of this world, the system of medicine competes against God’s provision of divine health for our faith. It is when our faith rests in the medicines and powers of drugs that our faith is displaced from God. God may and has healed people through medicines - but as we mature our faith needs to be in God, not the powers of medicines and drugs.



The Greek word is “echthra” [2189] and it means “enmity or hatred.” It is derived from the Greek word “echthros” [2190] which is used either passively, “odious,” or actively, “hostile.”



The Greek word here is “eris” [2054] and it means simply “contention, strife, wrangling.” It is the idea of being argumentative, often for no better reason than just to be “right” or more “right” than others. As we examine these Scriptures, let us also recall that this word “contention” or “strife” is also in the list of “works of the flesh” which, Paul warned, “those who practice these things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” ( Gal. 5:21; top )



The Greek word here is “zelos” [2205] and it means “excitement of mind, ardor, fervor of spirit” and it has three basic manifestations, one good, one evil and one that could be either depending on how far one goes with it and what motivates it. It can be a good “zeal, ardor in embracing, pursuing, defending anything, zeal in behalf of, for a person or thing.” Or it can be an evil, “envious and contentious rivalry, jealousy.” Or it can be “the fierceness of indignation, punitive zeal.” It is to be noted that, most often, only God is capable of exhibiting a sinless jealousy.


Outbursts of Wrath

The Greek word here is “thumos” [2372] and it means “passion, angry, heat, anger boiling up and soon subsiding again.” It can also refer to “glow, ardor, the wine of passion, inflaming wine (which either drives the drinker mad or kills him with its strength).” It is when anger explodes out of the soul in either verbal, emotional or physical violence. Whether you scream at the cat, the dog, your children or the computer, if you verbally abuse and browbeat your wife, your friends or your employees, or if you actually engage in physical violence, you have committed the sin of “outburst of wrath.” It is to be noted that God is capable of displaying His wrath without sinning but this does not seem to be possible for the human being unless that person is completely directed and controlled by the Spirit of God at the time.


Selfish Ambitions

The Greek word here is “eritheia” [2052] and it means “electioneering or intriguing for office, courting distinction, desiring to put one’s self forward, a partisan and fractious spirit which does not disdain low arts, partisanship, fractiousness.” It is also interesting that this word is found before New Testament times in Aristotle where it denotes a self-seeking pursuit of political office by unfair means. Our modern equivalent is “the ends justifies the means,” especially when the end is some selfish, self-centered or self-aggrandizing goal.



The Greek word here is “dichostasia” [1370]. It is a compound word from “dicho” (“twice or again”) and “stasia” (“stasis or condition of standing”). In English, it is rendered “dissensions” or “divisions,” but, in the Greek, this word carries a much larger and more precise picture in its meaning. To understand this word, we must first understand how the body of Christ works and how men with natural eyes distort what spiritual things they see, measure and, especially, analyze with reason and logic.

The body of Christ, in Scripture, is not an analogy. Nowhere in Scripture do any of the writers say that the people of Christ are like a body. No, all the writers that use this terminology say that the people of Christ are His body. The Scriptures plainly state that Christ Himself is the Head of the body and that His body is the called-out people of God, the ekklesia. ( 1 Cor. 11:3 ; Eph. 5:23; top ) With the human body as the explanation of a spiritual truth, we recognize that the Holy Spirit performs a similar function in the body of Christ to that of the human nervous system. He transmits the commands of the Head to all the various parts of the body.

“Stasia,” and especially the English word which derives from it, “stasis,” is a term associated with fluids, particularly bodily fluids like blood and waste products. When a fluid is measured, a “cross section” or sample is taken and the measurements applied to the whole, even though not every “cross section” or sample would necessarily be completely identical. “Stasis” is also associated with the idea of a person suspended in time, when everything comes to a condition of standing perfectly still.

When a leader in the body of Christ sets forth his understanding of what God is doing and that understanding is then used as the basis for gathering followers to that leader, “stasia” has occurred. A sample of the bodily fluids of the body of Christ have been captured and the findings are then applied to the whole, often with a margin of error which is apparent when compared with another sample, another “stasia.” A picture, a snapshot, of the way the body of Christ was at that moment in time has been taken and now men worship that picture as if it were God Himself. That is “stasia.” This is the method by which theological doctrines and denominational creeds are formed. The doctrines and creeds may contain a great deal of truth, but they are a photograph of a living being - something is lost in the transaction. It is, in truth, much like the superstitions of the American Indians who feared that their spirit would be lost if their image was captured in the white man’s picture box. The Spirit of God is simply not available to those who worship only a photograph of God’s past movements among men.

This Greek word, “dichostasia,” goes one step further. It speaks of “twice standing.” In slang English, we would call that the “double standard” whereby the ones teaching a certain code of behavior are exempt from having to actually live it out - in this case, they cry out against the sin of divisiveness, applying it to anyone who disagrees with their teachings, when, all the while, their whole position is only a “stasia,” a lifeless photograph of God’s past movements among men, a thing of their own creation, a “nehushtan,” a thing of brass that has outlived its usage by God (see 2 Ki. 18:4; top ) “Dichostasia” happens when those who have formed and grasped, to one degree or another, a “stasia” of the body of Christ, that momentary snapshot in time of what God was doing, will not allow for anyone else to present their own snapshots. And, of course, those who don’t agree with the leaders’ understanding of the truth are expected to leave and go form yet another denomination based around that second snapshot of their own making.

And so long as you form another denomination but don’t call into question the underlying fallacy of taking such snapshots in the first place, religion has absorbed you and you pose no threat to the spirit of antichrist who is raising up its own sons so that the true sons of the kingdom might never reach maturity.

Let me say that again with great deliberation and careful choice of words. “Stasia” is the taking of a snapshot in time of the body of Christ, a theological understanding of the body of Christ at a particular moment in time. “Dichostasia” is the separating of the body of Christ according to the dictates of a “stasia,” that snapshot in time of the body of Christ. Thus you could have a Catholic “stasia,” a Baptist “stasia,” a Lutheran “stasia,” a Methodist “stasia,” an Episcopalian “stasia,” a Presbyterian “stasia,” a Charismatic “stasia,” an Evangelical “stasia” and even a non-denominational “stasia.” But each of these are incomplete pictures of the body of Christ for they are pictures frozen in time. The body of Christ is not frozen in time. It is not even of time. It is an eternal entity which has its existence throughout time. When we first create a “stasia,” a denominational or doctrinal understanding of Christ and His body in the context of a certain culture or time, we have only attempted to put God in a box, to limit His abilities to fit within our understanding. It is no wonder the “church” of the end times has the form of godliness but no power. ( 2 Tim. 3:5; top ) The “church” is fragmented by multitudes of these “stasias” - and each “stasia” is only a graven image to what Christ was doing in times past that really has no connection to what the Spirit is doing in their own time.

“Dichostasia” happens when I take my own particular “stasia” of the body of Christ and force someone to leave my circles of influence so that they can seek God according to their own light - whether that light be true revelation from God or just their own “stasia.” When someone is forced to leave my circle fellowship because there exists differences of beliefs or opinions about the Lord Jesus Christ, the sin of division, “dichostasia,” has occurred. And so long as the person I have forced to leave goes off and forms yet another “stasia,” the spirit of antichrist has scored yet another victory and the religious “church” spirit will not antagonize this new movement too greatly - only enough to “verify” (at least in the minds of the adherents) that this new division, this new “dichostasia,” is indeed a “new work of God.”

But let anyone refuse to buy into the practice of taking snapshots in time of the body of Christ but rather insist that the Holy Spirit rule freely and completely in his or her life, and the religious “church” spirit will go to great lengths to silence and even crucify the one who so enters into the true liberty of the Spirit.

This word “dichostasia” appears only three times in the New Testament, but I think the precision of the meaning of this Greek word went a long way in uniting the believers of the first centuries. There were many disagreements and isolated instances of division (like Corinth), but it was not until the second and third centuries that people began to routinely divide into theological or ideological camps based on the teachings of leaders.

With this understanding of the word “dichostasia,” then, let us consider what is said in the Scriptures.

This word, with its specific definition and few usages, strikes at the roots of denominationalism with astonishing precision. “Dichostasia” is a work of the flesh that will keep you from inheriting the kingdom of God - a kingdom characterized by righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. ( Gal. 5:20-21 ; Rom. 14:17; top ) And it is a sin that will keep you from growing up spiritually and which makes you someone to be avoided.

As is evident in the parable of the wheat and the tares, it is not our responsibility to uproot the tares - that is the angels’ responsibility. Indeed, the tares do practice division based on their own misunderstanding of Scriptures - they are guilty of “dichostasia” and they are to be exposed and avoided. Thus, as the Spirit leads you to do so, you may speak freely of these modern-day Pharisees and their hypocrisy. But if you are only obedient to an agenda of removing from public view anyone you believe to be a tare, you are taking far too much upon yourself. The tares are to be left for the angels who will do far more to them than removing them from public view. The angels will remove them from the kingdom of Christ and take them to a fire where they will be burned. It is our responsibility, however, to take care that in the rampant divisiveness of today’s denominationalism, we do not get drawn into the same sin and form yet another “stasia” whereby we think it appropriate to disassociate ourselves from other true believers in Christ who subscribe to a different “stasia” than our own - even if our “stasia” is based on a more complete revelation of the work and purposes of God. For, if we do that, then we are simply another tare, one who causes offense and commits lawlessness and we will be removed from the kingdom along with all the other tares before the harvest at the end of the age.



The Greek word here is “hairesis” [139] and it has several meanings. It can refer to “the act of taking or capturing,” as in storming a city. It can refer to “choosing, choice or that which is chosen.” It can refer to “a body of men following their own tenets”(sect or party like the Sadducees, Pharisees and even Christians). Or it can refer to “dissensions arising from diversity of opinions and aims.” It is a direct opposite to the concept of the body of Christ which is based in unity and oneness. “Hairesis” is dividedness and multiplicity.



The Greek word here is “phthonos” [5355] and it means simply “envy.” Envy is defined as “a feeling of discontent or jealousy, usually with ill will, at seeing another’s superiority, advantages or success; a desire for some advantage possessed by another.” (Webster’s Dictionary)



The Greek word here is “phonos” [5408] and it simply means “murder, slaughter.” Murder is to kill another human being without having justifiable reason. Executing a man convicted of a capital crime or defending one’s self or one’s family from marauders and villains is not murder. Those who distort the sixth commandment teach “You shall not kill.” The sixth commandment is: “You shall not murder.” There is a vast difference. Those who advocate no killing whatsoever most often do so from a distorted sense of the value of man. Because man is the supreme being, he is not to be killed - no matter what heinous crimes he has committed or is committing. The Bible, Old and New Testament, speaks of the value of human life but places an equal value on righteousness and peaceful living - neither of which can be maintained on a cultural level without deterrents to crime. The righteous requirements of God are not necessarily violated with the death of a human being. Rather, they are violated by the wrongful death of a human being. Murder is simply the most wrongful death possible.



The Greek word here is “methe” [3178] and it means “intoxication or drunkenness.” While this word was commonly associated with consuming alcohol, the chief drug of that day, it refers to the state of inebriation, the loss of self-control and recognition of reality that results from imbibing a controlled substance. It is the altered state of consciousness that is referred to and would include the state that results from the use of drugs. It cannot be said that it refers only to the inebriated state that results from consuming alcohol.



The Greek word here is “komos” [2970] and it means to “revel, carouse.” It had specific reference to a nocturnal and riotous procession of half drunken and frolicsome men who, after supper, parade through the streets with torches and music in honor of Bacchus or some other deity. They would sing and play before houses of male and female friends. Thus it is used generally of feasts and drinking parties that are protracted till late at night and indulge in revelry. It is to be what we would call a “party animal.” And while one usually has to be the center of attention to be considered a party animal, to be constantly in that atmosphere and environment, even as a “wall-flower,” is to practice the sin of revelry.


And the Like

Paul, with the Holy Spirit inspiring him, inserted this phrase just so no one can say, “Well, what about this activity? It’s not on the list. Must not be a sin.” No, this list from Paul’s letter to the Galatians is by no means exhaustive - as can be easily seen in some of the above quotes. When it comes to the contrast between sin and righteousness, it has been appropriately said that there are any number of ways to fall but only one way to stand upright. This is particularly true of the Christian life.

It is also to be noticed that Paul ends this list by saying, “those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” ( Gal. 5:21; top ) This is not a reference just to eternal life - though most people read this verse and assume that’s all it refers to. And while it is true that one who practices these things on a regular basis will not spend eternity with God, it is also a reference to this life. “The kingdom of God is...righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” ( Rom. 14:17; top ) Anyone who practices any of this list of sins or any other similar activity - whether that be “gross sins” or simply religious but false imitations of the kingdom of God - cannot experience the righteousness, peace and joy of the kingdom that comes by living in the Spirit of God. It is those who seek first the kingdom of God who can expect His mighty provision for every need - those who are content to practice their favorite sins can only expect to be uprooted and burned before the harvest at the end of the age.


The Sons of the Devil

Neil Girrard

1. The Wheat and the Tares
2. Your Father the Devil
3. Elymas the Sorcerer
4. The Children of the Devil
5. Sin - the Work of the Flesh
6. The Children of God

I’d love to hear comments and/or questions from you! Email me!

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