Recently Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson caused uproar when he openly discussed several practices which, according to the Apostle Paul, had dire consequences. Paul addressed those same issues in his letters to Christians in Rome, Corinth, and Galatia.
For example in his letter to the Galatians he listed numerous practices which he labeled ‘works of the flesh’ meaning natural inclinations for man.
“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: …sorcery…murders – and the like; of which I tell you beforehand…that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21
Paul listed many more ‘works of the flesh’ in this passage, but we’ll highlight just two of them and inasmuch as they are listed in the same sentence, they must carry equal weight.
The term ‘practice’ is used in the NKJ version while the term ‘do’ is used in the KJ. ‘Do’ is from the Greek prasso and in the present context means continue, repeatedly, and or habitual. It also connotes an action not yet completed or an action one is not willing to abandon.
The act of murder in the above passage is readily recognizable as wrong, but how about sorcery?
The Greek base for sorcery is pharmakeia from which we get our English word pharmacy. The Greek meaning includes illicit pharmaceuticals, trance, or magical incantation with drugs. In more contemporary language it means ‘mood and mind-altering drugs’ according to John MacArthur in his editorial comments in the NKJV.
The practice of sorcery is not limited to Paul’s writings. Sorcery is also mentioned several times in the final book of the Bible.
“But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent…of their murders or their sorceries…” Revelation 9:20-21
And in the final chapter of the final book is a final warning.
“Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they…may enter through the gates into the city. But outside are…sorcerers…and murderers…” Revelation 22:14-15
Recall that Paul stated that if it weren’t for the law, i.e. the revelation of God’s standard of righteousness and justice, we wouldn’t recognize and consider many natural inclinations as being ‘wrong’.
Paul also wrote that once enlightened, a person is equally guilty if just approving of others who participate in Biblical ‘wrongs’.
“…who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.” Romans 1:32
Considering the present issue of sorcery, or drug use, two states have recently legalized the personal recreational sale and use of marijuana and there is a movement to greatly expand such practice.
The major issue is not limited to that specific practice, but rather legalizing any practice that is contradictory to God’s word. Perhaps the greatest example is the 40 year old Roe v Wade case.
A major effort is underway to expand man’s perception of basic ‘freedoms and human rights’ with little, or no, consideration given to Biblical standards.
For example there are statutes that restrict people from honoring and obeying God’s mandates such as restricting freedom of speech that mentions Jesus, or praying in public places, or displaying a cross.
Such is termed ‘freedom from religion’.
The prophet Isaiah warned against such folly nearly 2700 years ago.
“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!” Isaiah 5:20-21
It would be difficult to identify a single proposed legislative action that could not be scripturally tested prior to being put to a vote.
It is always interesting to post-examine legislation or executive orders that have been enacted in the past several years to see if America is closer to God’s standard of righteousness than we were, say, five years ago.
Of course the day is coming when Christ will return to rule all nations with a rod of iron, but in the meantime America will have to contend with a president who wants to rule this nation with a pen.