Wednesday, 25 June 2014
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites,…. 1 Corinthians 6:9
Paul is going to make a sobering list of those who “will not inherit the kingdom of God.” He makes his statement in the form of a rhetorical question, and it has the full force of a positive declaration – these people will in fact “not inherit the kingdom of God.”
This is a most unpopular view in the world in which we live and it is one of the reasons why Paul is rejected by many aberrant pastors, priests, and preachers today as they utter sermons which do not consider the whole counsel of God. But his words are true and whether we want to believe them or not is irrelevant. The only thing that matters is what God has determined.
And so he begins his list in this verse and it will continue through verse 10. All of the following categories are termed “unrighteous.” That word is used for the whole list which is then presented. It is these unrighteous who will not inherit God’s kingdom. And to make sure we are clear on the subject, he interjects words of warning, “Do not be deceived.” It is his way of saying that others may attempt to diminish, twist, or reject this truth concerning these people, but that doesn’t change the truth of the matter.
The term here for “unrighteous” was just used in verse 6:1 when speaking of those in the pagan world to whom the Corinthians were going to for their judgments. Paul is showing the illogical nature of this. Why would someone go to “the unrighteous” when they are not in that category? He is attempting to have them think this issue through. And so he presents his list –
Fornicators – This includes all sexual impurity. There is a place for sex and it is within the confines of marriage. But there are those who reject this and exercise their sexual desires outside of those confines. Marriage from a biblical standpoint is between a male and a female. Within the confines of those two precepts – marriage, and the union of a man and woman – sex is acceptable.
Idolaters – As noted in 1 Corinthians 5:10, an idolater is one who puts anything or anyone before a right relationship with God. It can be a mere devotion or service to idols, such as is authorized by some wayward Christian denominations. It can be realized in prayers to or through any other person – such as praying to Mary or the saints. People can make almost anything into an idol – sex, money, gems, artwork, cars, sport teams or sports figures, etc. Idolatry includes the unhealthy devotion to anything or anyone which causes our hearts and affections to be directed away from God.
Adulterers – This concerns those who break their covenant of marriage and engage in sexual relations outside of those bonds. An adulterer can be a married person having sex with someone not their spouse, or it can be an unmarried person who is having sex with a married person. From a biblical perspective, both are adulterers.
Homosexuals – The Greek word here is malakoi which indicates “softeness” or being effeminate. This is the trademark of many homosexuals and so it is translated that way here. But many scholars indicate that it includes a broader and darker range of sin. It is a person who is weak in their moral convictions to the point where any perversion is tolerated and accepted.
Sodomites – The Greek word is arsenokoites. It denotes a male engaging in same-gender sexual activity; specifically a man in bed with another man and thus homosexuality.
Paul’s list will continue in the following verse. It is to these categories of unrepentant sinners that there is no hope of entering the kingdom of God. The modern argument that a person “is born” this way is irrelevant. A person may be born with a predilection towards drinking, but this does not mean they need to be a drunk. And whether a person is born with a bent towards some type of sexual perversion, like homosexuality, or not is irrelevant. They have been instructed that this is wickedness. They alone will bear the consequences of their actions.
Life application: Whether we like what the Bible teaches on difficult moral issues or not is beside the point. The only thing that matters is that we accept God’s sovereignty and act in accord with His directives.
Glorious God, when I read lists of those who will not inherit the kingdom of God, such as that presented in 1 Corinthians 6, I have to think that I was once in such a category. But through the precious blood of Christ, I have been washed and forgiven. Help me now to stand firm on my moral convictions and to lead others to the truth of those sobering words of condemnation or life. Help us to think clearly on these things while there is still time. Amen.