Works of the Flesh: Carousing

Let us now examine the last specific work of the flesh mentioned by Paul in Galatians 5:19-21, translated as “carousing,” “revellings,” and, in more carnal language, “orgies:”

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousies, wraths, factions, divisions, parties, envyings, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; of which I forewarn you, even as I did forewarn you, that they who practise such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

The word translated as “revellings,” “orgies,” or carousing” is the Greek word komos, defined by Thayer as:

a revel, carousal; a nocturnal and riotous procession of half drunken and frolicsome fellows who after supper parade through the streets with torches and music in honour of Bacchus or some other deity, and sing and play before houses of male and female friends; hence used generally of feasts and drinking parties that are protracted till late at night and indulge in revelry.

This word is used by Peter in 1 Peter 4:3-4 and by Paul in Romans 13:13:

For the time past may suffice to have wrought the desire of the Gentiles, and to have walked in lasciviousness, lusts, winebibbings, revellings, carousings, and abominable idolatries: wherein they think strange that ye run not with them into the same excess of riot, speaking evil of of.

Let us walk becomingly, as in the day; not in revelling and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and jealousy.

We may see from the definition and the use of the term in the Scriptures that “carousing” refers to the malfeasance resulting from heavy drinking or even from excessive eating. The term also would refer to any collective of persons engaging in significant disturbance of the peace, especially during the evening hours. This carousing is a work of the night and the work of the Gentiles, and the time has been far spent for any Christian to engage in such activities.

If a Christian refrains from excessive eating and drinking, and avoids the types of crowds that would engage in disturbance of the peace, there would be little cause for fearing that one would be found carousing. As long as we Christians make wise choices, refraining from consumption of alcohol and avoiding unholy and impure groups of malfeasants, we should not be found guilty of carousing.

Let us continually strive to be sober, performing the works of the day and demonstrating ourselves to be the people of God.


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