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Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
Why word this verse in such a way?
Because what is of the most importance is said last not first. Because these letters were read aloud to those gathered to hear them. Most forget what is said first, but if it is last it sticks with you and remains upon your mind.
When we live by and with the Holy Spirit, for we become a temple for the Holy Ghost. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) When we follow all that is shown to be the fruits we work within the perimeters of the laws of Moses.
At this point there are those that are protesting what has just been said. Proclaiming that the laws are of the “old covenant.”
Matthew 5:17-20 NKJV – “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
But how can our righteousness exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees?
By having self-control, which requires us to behave in the manner described in Galatians five. We can also in this chapter see how we are not to behave and in so doing apply self-control.
Galatians 5:19-21 NKJV – Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
I have witnessed and even experienced some of the works of the flesh that many don’t realize they are doing when they accept Christ as their Savior. They aren’t the outright sins like adultery and fornication. They are contention, outburst of wrath and dissension. This is exemplified by those that just a few moments ago were protesting what I had just stated from the Word of God. That was a lack of self-control and shows that those that did act in this fashion were not working from the Spirit but from the flesh.
So, two questions need to be asked. The first why is “self-control” on the list of behavior that shows spiritual fruit. The second. Why is it listed last?
Once again, when something is of great import when it comes to the letters that form what has become the New Testament it is written last. Why? Because these letters were read aloud to many at once. For the book that is now the Bible did not exist for hundreds of years. Therefore, the last thing spoken is usually the thing most remembered.
Now that we have addressed the last question. Let’s address the first.
How is self-control defined? It is the ability to control your emotions and actions.
Why do we need to control our emotions and actions? Why? We’re saved. We’re children of God.
Because on God’s side of the relationship we are loved and welcomed. It is our side of the relationship that is the issue.
I challenge all listening to read the book of Hosea. Look at it as if they are the wife of Hosea. Then you will understand.
I once had someone say to me. “Why would God remove His grace from us once it is given?”
The answer is simple. God doesn’t. We do.
Because most do not practice self-control. They live in this fantasy that they can never loss their salvation. While all the time they slide further and further away from God. Bearing no true fruit for God. Because they do not control their emotions and their action.
They don’t read the Bible and learn what is required on their part of the relationship. They just assume that they can continue to live their lives as they have already, just a bit cleaner. They don’t understand the true definition of the word “repent.”
In the King James, which is the closest English version available to the original Hebrew and Greek, the word appears a total of 43 times, most of which are in the New Testament. Within that part of the Bible, it is the same word except for three times. Twice in 2 Colossians and once in Hebrews.
Twenty times in the New Testament the word used for “repent” is:
Metanoeo – to think differently or afterwards, i.e. reconsider from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance; I repent, change my mind, change the inner man (particularly with reference to acceptance of the will of God) [expanded definition].
In the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament thirty-eight pages is devoted to this word, I will not spend that much time upon it. In the primary definition of the word metanoeo, which is a compound word from “meta” and “noieo,” in the TDNT two main definition are given. In the first these phrases stick out “to change one’s mind,” “to adopt another view,” “to change one’s feelings” and “to change one’s resolve or purpose.”
Now just ponder those phrases.
Your mind is changed from what it once was, causing you to adopt another view of life, which causes your feelings to change, giving you a new resolve and purpose in life. This implicates that you thought wrongly, your view of your life was incorrect. You had feelings that you no longer wish to pursue and so with a new resolve and purpose you seek to change and no longer live your life in such a manner.
Here are the key phrases from the second definition of the word “repent” “if the change of mind derives from recognition that the earlier view was foolish, improper, or evil, there arises the sense ‘to regret,’ ‘to feel remorse,’ ‘to rue.’” “If I had known better I would have acted otherwise.”
Later into the thirty-eight pages it specifically addresses Jesus’ view and meaning of the word repent. It spends nearly three pages discussing this viewpoint and boils down to this:
He took John the Baptist’s meaning of the word and expanded upon it. To quote: “But Jesus does not merely repeat the call of the Baptist. He modifies and transcends it by making conversion a fundamental requirement… To call to conversion is the purpose of His sending.”
Therefore, repentance is the true sign that you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, and when you feel true repentance you feel regret, remorse and you feel bitter sorrow over the sins you have committed. This allows you to stop living in these sins.
If you do not feel regret, if you do not feel remorse, if you do not feel sorrow, then you are not repentant. You have not experienced the word “repent.”
Now for the other word as was mentioned in Colossians and Hebrews:
Metamelomai – I change my mind (generally for the better), repent, regret in Strong’s. In the TDNT the word means “to experience remorse.”
Remorse – in the Merriam-Webster definition of this word is “a gnawing distress arising from a sense of guilt for past wrongs”
Consequently, this once again points to a past way of living. A past way of thinking. So again, I say if you live within a sin and feel no need to end this sin then it is your master. It is your king. It is the sin that is in control of your life. You may say the words “but I am a Christian,” but if you have not been truly born again (John 3:3), you will never feel true repentance and so are not one with God. You are living within a lukewarm life of more saying you are “Christian” but living of and within the world, within the sin and so per Revelation 3:15-16 you shall be spit out of the Body, by Christ Himself.
This is where the need for self-control comes from. This is why self-control is so vital. Without self-control we are as fickle as the wife of Hosea. For that is how all of humanity is. Saved or unsaved. For their focus is not upon that which pleases God but on that which gives them the greatest joy at that very moment. Without self-control we fall prey to that which our flesh desires more than what God desires.
Most that profess to being “Christian” live their lives not reflecting God, nor His Son Jesus Christ. They manifest that which is greatest in their lives.
Matthew 6:19-21 NKJV – “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
1 John 2:15-16 NLT – Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.
It is through practicing self-control that we don’t store our earthly wealth here in this temporal realm, but we give it away freely. We don’t seek after that which is of the world or is pleasing to the world.
Yet how many that call themselves “Christian” live in fancy homes and have thousands if not millions in their bank accounts. All stored there for their own wants and desires. Which shows a total lack of self-control. For if they had control over their lust for money they wouldn’t have sought after the large house and lavish lifestyle they live within. Going about parading their wealth for all to see with their noses up in the air thinking they are superior to others.
1 Timothy 6:17-19 NKJV – Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
They are so focused due to true lack of self-control upon the here and now. Totally ignoring where they wish to reside in their eternal life that is yet to come. They have been told that they can have their wealth and their eternal life, which is a lie. For it is made clear that they must choose through self-control where they wish to spend eternity. For all the world sees what they have chosen and in so doing so bring a lie to not only who they are but to Jesus Christ. This is why, due to lack of self-control that millions will not stand before the Throne in robes of white, but as a defendant in the Great White Throne Judgement. Most will be shocked to find that Christ Himself removed their names from the Book of Life.