The Party Spirit
“…doing nothing according to party spirit* or self-glory, but in humility, esteeming one another as surpassing themselves”
Philippians 2:3 (LITV)
*Note: Greek Lexicon
“Through strife (KJV) according to party spirit (LITV) (κατὰ ἐριθείαν)
Rev., correctly, faction. Lit., according to faction. See on Jas 3:14; and Php 1:16. According to indicates faction as the regulative state of mind.”
The Party Spirit and Sectarianism
How precise is the word of God! A party spirit is active and revealed when God’s people make decisions and form determinations “according to” the faction or group to which they have attached themselves. The criteria used is simply the consensus of the group/fellowship, or the opinion of those whom they seek to please. It is one of the most divisive and destructive ethos that the people of God can fall into.
“The fear of man bringeth a snare”
Too many good and sincere brothers and sisters succumb and surrender their accountability to a faction, a teacher, a pastor, or an organization. The slow and subtle erosion of the fear of God gives way to the bondage and deception of the fear of man. They become tightly knit with others of the same persuasion and become stagnant and isolated, with no input and no outreach. The thoughts, ministry, or admonition of outsiders who are of the Body of Christ, are looked upon as intrusions rather than welcomed. They have set themselves above and apart from the ONE Body.
“idolatry, witchcraft, enmities, strife,
jealousy, wraths, rivalries, dissensions, sects …”
Dissensions, rivalries, sects and strife are the “works of the flesh”. Paul finishes this long list with a strong declaration of God’s judgment on such.
“…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.”
Paul, though young in the Lord, witnessed Peter being carried away in this party spirit and stood up and rebuked him in front of everyone. Paul having been taught of the Spirit of God in the wilderness of Arabia and recognized the antichrist spirit. Anything which usurps the Lordship of Christ, where there is a need to agree with the “leadership”, a teaching, or the need to conform to something other than Christ, is the spirit and deception of the wicked one at work.
Often even the lingo and vocabulary of these groups develop over time, with words that are unique to them alone, and can be indicative of this spirit. The leadership and powers that be will seek to convince you that this is of Christ and that if you are of Him, you will conform yourself to the doctrine, the unspoken creed or code of the whole. Anything that negates or seeks to minimize your own convictions in Christ is a sign of this deadly sin.
I have seen brothers and sisters who because of the fear of man, or the need to fit in, ignore the whispers of the Holy Spirit within their own hearts. Those who try to warn them of the deception are deemed troublemakers and worse.
There is but One Lord, One Faith, One Body. The heresy, the schisms, party spirits and divisions which elevate one group above another, or minimize the whole, are error and are the works of the enemy.
“But if you have bitter jealousy and contention in your heart, do not boast and lie against the truth. This is not the wisdom coming down from above, but is earthly, beastly, devilish. For where jealousy and contention are, there is confusion and every foul deed.”
It is interesting to note that “earthly wisdom” becomes devilish as with many of the other works of the flesh. Even “witchcraft” is listed here as a work of the flesh, as the flesh becomes subservient to the Devil and his dominion. May God open our eyes to walk in the fear of the Lord and remain a “servant of Christ”, free from being men pleasers.
“For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.”