You only have one plug. Where are you plugged today? 

Gal 5:16-25
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.
17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.
18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.
19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,
20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions,
21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. (NAU)

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Find him on Patreon Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Join his Patreon and support his ministry

    17 replies to "What Do You Think of This?"

    • Gregg Metcalf

      I love it! Great illustration.

    • Wolf Paul

      That reminds me of the Latin phrases they had us memorize in Bible School many years ago:

      1. Before the fall: posse peccare, posse non peccare (able to sin, able not to sin)

      2. Since the Fall: posse pecare, non posse non peccare (able to sin, not able not to sin)

      3. Since Salvation: posse peccare, posse non peccare (able to sin, able not to sin)

      4. In Eternity: non posse peccare, posse non peccare (not able to sin, able not to sin)

      Although, in view of what John says in his epistles, and also some of the things Paul says (the things I would not, I do), I am not convinced of the accuracy of #3.

    • David

      Not sure about the bald dualism inherent in this…

    • Jason D.

      Augustine would be proud 🙂 oh, and I like it… a good visual.

    • phantom

      Interesting, but imo it could be a little more accurate. The after salvation ought to have the HS half-plugged or something; otherwise it looks like our state before the fall and our state after salvation are equivalent. Also, the labelling of “flesh” could be a bit misleading (maybe only to me….) I assume that “flesh” is meant to mean the evil tendencies of the flesh as described in Gal 5:19-21. However, there is no reason to think our physical desires will cease to exist in eternity–rather they will cease causing us to sin.

    • nazaroo

      Its too sexualized for my tastes.

      The plug/socket gag is already extremely over-used in prime-time TV sex and gay innuendos and jokes in just about everything coming out of both Television and Hollywood.

      Some symbols, analogies and images are just too polluted already by the huge assault upon North Americans by the Hugh-Hefner ideologists.

      Its a shame. I think of Paul using the metaphor of the Olympic games, only to have it shortly turned into the Lions-eat-Christian games, spoiling the purity of Paul’s pre-persecution image.

      Similarly, we might question the wisdom of Paul choosing army/war metaphors (sword, shield, soldier, armor etc.), in light of the subsequent War between the Romans and the Jews, and the ambiguous speech of Jesus on the issue of pacifism vs. self-defence.

      But perhaps more disturbing is the subtle analogy of “Holy Spirit” as electricity, a mindless source of power to be manipulated and exploited by sentient beings. Many heresies use the doctrine of “holy Spirit” as a mere substance eminated from the Father, not a person. I doubt Trinitarians would be happy with that, although many a Unitarian and other minority-party (JWs come to mind) might like your parallel too much.


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    • Jeremy

      I have to concur that the label “flesh” is misleading. It could play into modern misconceptions of the absence of a bodily resurrection of the saints.

    • Boz

      I’m not convinced that any type of immaterial ghosts or spirits actually exist.

    • Norm Eddy

      I have actually used this same illustration in my teaching and I think it works OK (none are perfect) for everything but the “before the fall” outlet. In my understanding of “the flesh” as used in the NT it is a title for our unredeemed nature that is corrupted by original sin which will only be removed after we die and join Christ in heaven. If this is accurate then the “flesh” as I describe it didn’t exist before the fall.

    • Kirk Jordan

      There is that part of me which runs Augustinian that wants to see a burned, broken and useless plug, to illustrate our post Adamic state. And then a plug with a short, for after redemption. My sense is that we gain ability, but we are not the in quite the same state as Adam before the Fall. But really, I guess I am clueless. I’d never seen the outlet used as a metaphore for much of anything before.

    • Dave Z

      Nazaroo, a sexual element did not enter my mind…until you introduced it. What do they say about the eye of the beholder?

    • nazaroo

      Dave Z: “Nazaroo, a sexual element did not enter my mind…until you introduced it. What do they say about the eye of the beholder?”

      Dear Dave: Its not so much the eye of the beholder. Its the eye of the long-inundated and now jaded. I have seen too many similar things creep into Christianity and then become assumed to be part of Christianity.

      The current about-face of all mainstream Protestant denominations in favour of not only tolerance of homosexual practice, but open support of “gay marriage” is a great example.

      Before that, Erasmus opened the floodgates by redefining “marriage” in a way that appealed to carnal men, but was totally orthogonal to what Jesus actually preached on marriage. The Roman Catholic stand on marriage (at least until now) is far closer to Jesus’ position:

      Fact is, King Henry and other “Royal” pains wanted easy divorce and “remarriage”, regardless of what Jesus taught. And Protestantism (as backed by Germanic kings) went along for the anti-Christ ride.

      Similarly, the homosexuality issue.

      But what I was touching on was the incredible proliferation of smut in all forms, and profanity, to the point where a whole generation doesn’t even know that it is profanity, and sexual jokes and innuendo is now the norm, even for kids as young as nine. Schools permit this behaviour, and even promote it in the name of liberal secular humanism, to the point of handing out free condoms and birth-control pills to underage kids behind their parents’ backs.

      There is no point in pointing to me, another victim of this society, this “Hugh-Hefnerite” ‘community’ with standards lower than the mores of Sodom, as if it was all in my mind.

      Paul, Peter, James and John would have spoken out against this permissive culture far more strongly than I have ever done. I’m pretty mild. And they would have seen more, since I’m already pretty used to it, and hardly notice.

    • mbaker

      How the heck did this into a sexual discussion? Did I miss something or did CMP mean this as a natural progression of real Christianity?

    • Lucian

      What Do You Think of This?

      Well, since you asked: it’s Docetic and Origenistic.

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