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February 1, 2014

1 JOHN 2:15 – 17 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 is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

John, in his writing, has given three classifications under which sins or works of the flesh can be placed. Below are definitions of these classifications:

1. Works of the flesh = are, acts, or deeds that are not divinely sanctioned. They are ungodly, worldly acts that do not glorify God. They are called SINS.

2. Lust of the flesh = an unhealthy desire, craving, or appetite for things that gratify the flesh.

3. Lust of the eyes = is an unhealthy desire, craving, or appetite for things that look pleasing, satisfying, or delightful to the eyes.

4. Pride of life = the need for recognition and elevation due to grandiose desires or expectations for oneself. This usually results from who you think you are, what you think you have, what you think you look like, or what you think you know.

Throughout the Bible, we can see these three classifications at work. Some examples of the failures and consequences that resulted from these can be seen in the life of Eve, David, Samson, Absalom, and Simon, the sorcerer in Acts 8. When these individuals were confronted with situations that appeared gratifying and gave them what they wanted, they fell for the bait. A good example of how to handle these is found in Matthew 4 in Jesus’ encounter with the devil. When the devil tempted Jesus in these areas, Jesus’ responses were “IT IS WRITTEN…..” Jesus’ concern was not about elevation or flesh gratification but pleasing God. He is the example believers must strive to emulate.

Within these three classifications, all the sins that are found in the world can be categorized. I have found believers know and can name what I call “common sins” such as fornication, idolatry, stealing, murder, and adultery. However, works of the flesh such as slothfulness, inhospitableness, unruliness, murmuring, and lawlessness are overlooked and rarely mentioned. Years ago, I did a study on all the works of the flesh that were named in the New Testament from Acts to Revelation. Surprisingly, I found one hundred and ten. I recommend that you do this study and look up the definitions of the words you find. It will surprise you to know the things that we do that are not pleasing to God.

Also, as I further studied the works of the flesh, I found more categories within this classification. They were:
1. Sins of lust or sensuality
2. Sins of religion or unlawful things in the spiritual realm
3. Sins of brotherly love or forms of discord
4. Sins of intemperance or excesses

Commentators believe that the world that John is talking about in 1 John 2: 15-17 is the invisible demonic spiritual world system and all it represents. In this system, we will find all that is evil and opposes and displeases God. Believers must be sober, must be alert, must be knowledgeable of Satan’s devices and must be armed for continual warfare. No matter the classifications or the work of the flesh/sin, we may be warring against, our goal should be to please God. For one day, this world and all of its evil will pass away, but the true believer will reign with Jesus.

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