Being Led and Transformed by the Holy Spirit - page 3


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Knowing & Doing

From the Winter 2016 issue of Knowing & Doing:  

Being Led and Transformed by the Holy Spirit

by Thomas A. Tarrants III,  D.Min.
Vice President for Ministry & Director
Washington Area Fellows Program, C.S. Lewis Institute

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  • Sensuality refers to throwing restraint to the wind and indulging oneself without regard for normal moral standards. It denotes being so consumed by the pursuit of sexual pleasure that public opinion no longer matters. Wild living is a modern term for it.
  • Idolatry, the worship of idols, was a major problem in the Old Testament and was common in the Greco-Roman culture of Paul’s day. However, idolatry was not limited to material objects of wood or stone. When Paul describes covetousness (greed) as idolatry (Eph. 5:5; Col. 3:5), he shows that idolatry can take nonmaterial forms. Money, possessions, career, reputation, and ambitions of various sorts can all be forms of idolatry—and much else besides. As John Calvin observed, “The human heart is an idol factory.”4
  • Sorcery is the English translation of the Greek word pharmaka, from which we get the words pharmacy and pharmaceutical. It means “using drugs.” In Paul’s day, it was applied ominously to drugs used in witchcraft and used for poisoning people. Today sorcery would include astrology, fortune telling, and other occult practices. It would also include using drugs (legal or illegal) not for medical purposes but for their mind-altering effects (getting high).
  • Enmity includes negative attitudes and feelings and hostile actions toward other people, either individuals or groups. On an individual level, examples would include refusing to forgive, holding grudges, and working mischief against someone. At the group or community level today, enmity would encompass dislike and prejudice toward people of other races and religions, as well as hatred of political figures and parties.
  • Strife is the relational discord and animosity resulting from a quarrelsome, argumentative attitude that takes pleasure in self-assertion and confrontation.
  • Jealousy refers to the selfish resentment of another’s success or achievement.
  • Fits of anger, often called temper tantrums, are explosive outbursts of anger against other people.
  • Rivalries denote selfish ambition and putting oneself and one’s interests above those of others.
  • Dissensions refer to unbiblical, divisive teaching that is disruptive of church unity.
  • Divisions are a party (partisan) spirit or cliques around particular people or teachings.
  • Envy is not merely begrudging the good fortune of others, but also maliciously resenting it and wanting to spoil it or deprive them of it.
  • Drunkenness speaks of revelry where alcohol impairs moral judgment and inhibitions and possibly leads to immoral actions.
  • Orgies are closely connected with drunkenness and denote wild partying behavior.


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