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From the book, THE WORKS OF THE FLESH: Understanding and Defeating the Works of the Devil.

Available in e-book and paperback formats on Amazon.

Galatians 5:19-21 “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

       "Seditions" or "Dissensions" is a translation of the the Greek word "dichostasia," which literally means "standing apart."  Romans 16:17 and 1 Corinthians 3:3 translate this word as "divisions."  It is the opposite, of course, of “standing together,” of  "being together."

       It is used several times in the New Testament, and it clearly implies separation, and division.

Mark 15:7 And there was one named Barabbas, who was chained with his fellow rebels; they had committed murder in the rebellion.

These people had stood apart and had "rebelled." In this case the rebellion had deteriorated to the point of murder.

     In Acts 19 the context is the fact that the Ephesians are angry about Paul’s preaching against idolatry. They gather in the theatre and yell praises to Diana their goddess. They are "standing apart" from Christians whom they hate for teaching against their idol worship. Finally the city leader stands before the crowds and says,

40 For we are in danger of being called in question for today’s uproar, there being no reason which we may give to account for this disorderly gathering.” (This standing apart.)

       In Acts 24 Paul is accused by his own countrymen as being a fomenter of "dissensions."

Acts 24:5 5 For we have found this man a plague, a creator of dissension among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.

       Of course Paul was teaching from the Torah that which was undeniable. It was the angry, fanatical Jews that created the dissension, not Paul.

In Acts 15 we see these fanatical extremists intent on creating dissension within the church. Paul and Barnabas stand up to them.

Acts 15:2 Therefore, when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem, to the apostles and elders, about this question.

       In Acts 23 Paul is before a tribunal accused by both Pharisees and Sadducees. Paul skillfully deflects the attention onto the disagreements the two groups had about the resurrection. As a result, a great dissension arose between them.

Acts 23:7 And when he had said this, a dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees; and the assembly was divided. 10 Now when there arose a great dissension, the commander, fearing lest Paul might be pulled to pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him by force from among them, and bring him into the barracks.

Clearly “Dissension” means more than just disagreements or an emotional exchange of ideas. It indicates an "escalation" which may have originated in a simple discussion, which escalated to a loud exchange, which led to anger expressed loudly, to a loss of emotional control, to imputing motives, to name calling, and to finally even a potential fight. Thus we may have a “mild dissension” (An mild, emotional exchange, or a manageable argument), to a “strong dissension” which gets loud, intense, very emotional. The result, of course, is "division," or "standing apart."

       Can this ever happen among Christians? Yes, it can and I saw it happen many years ago at a large Christian gatherings where two older men started arguing about a seat and then started shouting at each other, right before services. I was passing by; I heard the loud exchange and quickly put an end to it. It looked as though a fight would have ensued at any moment, and it probably would have, had I not been there.

       Divisions are a manifestation of carnality. The two men who were striving about a seat at a Christian gathering were manifesting a perfect example of Carnality.

1 Cor. 3:3 “For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?”

       What kind of attitude should a Christian have when a discussion starts getting too hot? 

James 3:17  But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then "peaceable,"  "gentle,"  "willing to yield," full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.

       A truly Christian attitude "values peace,"  and approaches discussions and differences with "gentleness." Finally, a spiritual Christian will "yield" so as not to allow arguments to escalate.

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The next article will address the next work of the flesh: Heresy.

The Works of the Flesh:  Adultery, Fornication, Uncleanness, Lasciviousness, Idolatry, Witchcraft, Hatred, Variance, Emulations, Wrath, Strife, Seditions, Heresy, Envy, Murders, Drunkenness, Revelings.

The Fruits of the Spirit:

  1. Love
  2. Joy
  3. Peace
  4. Longsuffering
  5. Kindness
  6. Goodness
  7. Faithfulness / Faith
  8. Gentleness/ Meekness
  9. Self-control

© Copyright, Michael Caputo, 2009.


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