16-6-26 Lust


Lust is a word charged with negative sexual behaviour, particularly in English language. However, the sexual connotation has just been added quite recently. When I was a little boy, growing up in Germany, I would go to the neighbour’s house, ring the door bell and say to the little boy there, ‘Do you have lust to play?’ Later as a teenager, I would address girls, ‘Do you have lust to go to the movies with me.’ This was completely inoffensive. The meaning of the word Lust is different in different languages.

In Ancient Greek the word usually translated as lust is epithymia. This word is made up of two parts, epi, meaning about, and thymos, often translated as passion or anger. This last word is derived from thyein, to kill or sacrifice! This may be related to the French tuer or the German töten, for to kill. So in general the word epithymia stands for the cause of a strong driving force which might not suffer any turning away from achieving a certain goal and which will react with anger if turned away from that goal, however the goal is not necessarily sex!


Gal. 5: 1, 13 to 18: [1] Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

[13] For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. [14] For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. [15] But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. [16] This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. [17] For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. [18] But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

This reading again contains the centre piece of our Religion: All the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. That is the important part!

If you walk in the spirit, you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh, but if you are led by the spirit you are not under the law. This is very important to realise. How many have studied the law? All this small print?! You do not need to know all the law, as long as you are led by the spirit and then you will not be under the law.

So if you are led by the spirit, you do not have to check every one of your actions, no you will be led in the right path of Neighbourly Love and automatically you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh!

But I do know that many are concerned about doing the right thing and they try to force themselves along the way, without being led by the Spirit, or they might feel the need to check their actions. And the ‘works of the flesh’ are listed in the following verses:

Gal. 5: 19 to 21: [19] Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, [20] Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, [21] Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

As pointed out in Greetings from Paradise in the chapter on adultery the commandments are listed in an order of importance, from most important, commandments concerning God, then commandments concerning the neighbour and last the least important commandment about oneself.

Similarly here concerning lust or the works of the flesh, the list begins with lusts which concern God, then lusts which concern the neighbour and finally lusts which concern oneself.

The lust translated as adultery is moicheia in Ancient Greek, a word connected to the verb moicheuein. According to Thayer’s Lexikon of Ancient Greek this latter word is derived from Hebrew and is used of those who at a woman’s solicitation are drawn away to idolatry, i.e. to the eating of things sacrificed to idols.

The second lust of the flesh is porneia, fornication. The porneia was a festival in honour of Aphrodite Pornae, the Heavenly Harlot. Again the offence was the worship of another goddess, not the sex itself!

The third lust, uncleanness, is akatharsia. It means the impurity of lustful, luxurious, profligate living. So it refers to upper class living rather than just sex, even though upper class people had a lot of sex with various women and men, the offence is the general lifestyle, since according to Gal. 5: 22 & 23, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. Against such there is no law!

Similarly, the fourth lust, lasciviousness, aselgeia, even in English does not necessarily refer to sex, but can just mean excess, e.g. gluttony.


The remaining offences are obviously not connected to sex. Just the last one is worth mentioning, heresies, haireseis. Even though there seems to be a connection between the Ancient Greek and the English word, the Ancient Greek means the act of taking or capture. It can refer to taking or storming a city. It can mean something that is chosen and might refer to an opinion which can be different from the prevailing one.

So lust in general, seems to mean the covetting of luxuries, a luxurious life style which might include sex with classy women, like temple servants of Aphrodite or other love goddesses, women we would call prostitutes today. Certainly the worship of other gods is forbidden, but sex in general is not. Sex is only forbidden as far as it is used for the worship of a love god or goddess.

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.