Summary: Christian freedom means walking in the Spirit. Christian freedom is not liberty to indulge in one’s fallen nature or the flesh. To help us recognize when we are walking in the flesh a partial listing of some of the expressions of our fallen nature are giv
Sensuality, wantonness or debauchery (aselgeia) emphasizes the lack of self-control that characterizes a person who gives free run to the impulses of his sinful nature. It is a readiness for sensual pleasure. If it feels good, do it. The wanton person no longer cares what people think or say about his actions.
We live in a world in which sex is over emphasized in thousands of ways. Many people are making sex their idol, giving themselves to it in complete disregard for its holy and rightful place in life. Though Paul’s words were written to an ancient pagan world they apply like the morning news to our promiscuous culture today. Sex devotees want to be free to do as they wish but are really locked into dreadful bondage.
II. WORSHIP TEMPTATIONS (20a)
Paul next cites temptations in the realm of worship. They are idolatry and sorcery.
Idolatry (eíd lon) is the temptation to rebel against worshiping the only true God. This idolatry takes place when we place anything be it pleasure, money, things, toys, work or even people or families before God. When we place anything before God we have created a god of our own making. God must be in the place and priority of God, if not something else is being given His priority and place. What ever a person is devoted to instead of or more than God is his god.
Witchcraft or sorcery springs from the desire to be in control of others through contact with the mysterious spirit world. It indicates various kinds of magic or enchantments intended to put spiritual powers under one’s control. (The opposite is actually what occurs). Ouija boards, tarot cords, seances, spiritualism, levitation, astrology, New Age meditation are some of the doors of this temptation.
It is interesting that the Greek word (pharmakeia) translated sorcery is the word from which we get pharmacy and refers to drugs or the administration of drugs. Drugs used for a sensation or mind-expanding experience open the user up to the sorcery of the spirit world and place one into a satanic utilization that even can lead to demonic control.
III. RELATIONSHIP TEMPTATIONS (20b-21a)
People want to be with their own kind. Under the Spirit’s guidance this results in fellowship, the building of community life, the give and take of goods and services and the building of a wholesome social order. But when satan is given power in human relations he turns a paradise into a jungle. It maybe a jungle of concrete steel and stone. But it becomes an in-fighting jungle struggling for survival just the same. Paul describes such tragedy in verses 20b-21a. The nine social evils listed are enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, (21) envying.
Enmities are feeling of hostility or hatred. They express themselves in dark, ugly feeling of bitterness, contempt, or loathing of another person. [Greek abstract nouns are often used in the plural to signify manifestation or demonstrations of the quality denoted in the singular, and thus mean "displays of" or "actions expressing" that quality. [Longenecker, Word Biblical Com. Gal., 253]