Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 6, 1958
NUMBER 39, PAGE 6-7b

And Such Like

Charles A. Holt, Florence, Alabama

In giving the list of "the works of the flesh" (Gal. 5:19-21), we know that the Apostle Paul did not enumerate them all specifically. He named fifteen specific sins and then summed all the rest up under the expression which serves as the caption of this article — "and such like." The works of the flesh are manifest to be sure, but such may appear in many, many forms. Having given the Galatians a sample of such works by his catalog of sins, he leaves it to them, and to us, to recognize other similar works.

What is included in the expression — "and such like" — used by Paul? Perhaps it embraces many more things than most of us realize. It would be impossible for me to complete in detail the works of the flesh because sin takes a thousand forms. However, by turning to the Divine Record we can easily discover many other sins which are placed in the company with some of the specific sins listed by Paul in Gal. 5:19-21, and which are likewise condemned. Let us note some of them briefly:

1. Murders. In Gal. 5:21, the King James version gives murders as one of the works of the flesh. The Revised does not carry it because the genuineness of the original word is extremely doubtful. However, we do know that murders might well be included. The word signifies the destruction of human life. It springs from lack of due respect for human life. The word is listed in other passages which prove its rightful place as a work of the flesh. (Matt. 15:19; Rom. 1:29) Murder has always been wrong and sinful even from the very beginning when we find God condemning the first murderer — Cain. In 1 John 3:15, John tells us "Whoever hateth his brother is a murderer." How many murderers IN HEART there mast be in the church today! Rev. 21:8 says that all murderers will have their part in the lake of fire.

2. Evil thoughts. In Matt. 15:19 and Mark 7:21-22. Jesus tells of some sins which proceed from the heart and defile the man. Some of these Paul specifically listed in Gal. 5:19-21. We know that the others mentioned by the Lord are of the same nature as those Paul listed. Surely these can all be included in his "such like." We are responsible for our thoughts. We are endowed with the power to control them. We may not be responsible for an evil thought entering our mind, but we can keep from retaining it there. "Evil thoughts are the preparation of all other sins, and have a pernicious influence on the character. We are very much what we think. That on which our minds are fixed, that which is the chief object presented to our inward sight, shapes our disposition and life." (Pulpit Commentary) Let us beware of this "such like."

3. Thefts. This is another sin condemned by the Lord in Mark 7:21. This would include stealing in all its forms, sorts and degrees.

4. False witness. (Matt. 15:19) This has to do with giving the wrong testimony in court or anywhere else! It would include concealing the truth, or stating what we know to be false. Such proceeds from a desire to injure others. to take away their character or property, or to do them injustice. Can there be any doubt that such is sinful and belongs to the works of the flesh?

5. Blasphemies — Railings. (Matt. 15:19; Mk. 7:21) The King James uses the first word and the Revised uses the second. One may be guilty of blasphemy or railing against both his fellow man and God. The word revile is a kindred word. When applied to men it means to speak injuriously of their persons and character. Barnes says, "The word blaspheme originally meant to speak evil of anyone; to injure by words; to blame unjustly. When applied to God, it means to speak of him unjustly; to ascribe to him acts and attributes which he does not possess; or to speak impiously or profanely." Surely this is a sin which is wide-spread in our day.

6. An evil eye. (Mark 7:21) This is an eye sour. malignant, proud; or an eye of lust and passion. (Cf Matt. 5:28; 20:15) In 2 Pet. 2:14, we read of some described as "having eyes full of adultery."

7. Foolishness. (Mk. 7:21) This does not mean the want of intellect — man is not responsible for that. It has to do with "moral folly, consisting in choosing bad ends, and bad means of gaining them; or, in other words, sin and wickedness. All sin is folly." (Barnes) In this same connection, perhaps we should note filthiness, foolish talking and jesting, which are condemned by Paul in Eph. 5:4. Filthiness would embrace anything vile or unclean in words or acts. The other two terms signify "a light, bantering, jesting kind of talk, seasoned with double entendres and obscene allusions, very pernicious in its moral effect. There is no reason to suppose that the apostle meant to condemn all play of humour, which is a Divine gift, and which in moderation has its own useful place as a means of refreshing and invigorating the spirit; it was the jesting associated with ribaldry that drew his reproof." (Pulpit Commentary) Think of all the course, low, vulgar, obscene words, jokes and books of our day! Would not all such come within the category?

8. Deceit. (Mk. 7:21) This means fraud — concealed dishonesty, cheating in trade and trying to benefit oneself by doing injustice to others.

9. Wickedness. (Mk. 7:21) The original word means malice, or a desire of injuring others. It has to do with evil dispositions, wicked counsels and acts.

10. Pride. (Mk. 7:21) Arrogance and self exaltation. It is an improper estimate of one's own importance; thinking he is of much more consequence than he really is.

11. Fearfulness. This must be a work of the flesh because of Rev. 21:8 we read: "But the fearful . . . their part shall be in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone; which is the second death." This has to do with the fear that makes one a coward in the face of duty and afraid of the present consequences of serving God faithfully. It would take in the fear to own the name of Christ. the fear of persecution, fear of want, fear to preach the truth, fear of ridicule and all instances of the cowardly fear that keeps one from meeting duty's demands. Certainly fear in any of these forms is a work of the flesh. I wonder if many of us have ever really considered fear in this light.

12. Time and space fail us in completing this list. Here are a few others: Passion, evil desire, covetousness (Col. 3:5), maliciousness, malignity, whisperers, backbiters, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil things, disobedience to parents, covenant breakers and unmerciful. (Rom. 1:29-31) One might continue the list almost indefinitely. Some of these words may have the same meaning or be degrees of the same evil. Yet we need to learn that any and all of them are works of the flesh and will keep us out of the kingdom of God.

In view of the almost inexhaustible number of the works of the flesh, there is no wonder the apostle said and such like." Let us make sure and certain that none of the "such like," whether listed here or not, keep us out of heaven.