Thursday, 26 June 2014
…nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 6:10
Continuing with his sobering list of the unrighteous, Paul next names –
Thieves – The meaning is clear in any society. It refers to anyone who lays hold of something which belongs to another and takes it for themselves. Robbery, stealing, pick pocketing, etc are simply different ways of describing the overall concept of thievery. And this can be on a personal, an institutional, or a governmental level. Companies can steal from their employees as much as employees can steal from their companies. And governments can, and do, steal from their citizens through unjust taxation. Those behind these schemes are not guiltless.
Covetous – Coveting, as described in the analysis of 1 Corinthians 5:10, is desiring something that someone else possesses. It is the greed of the heart which is not content with what one rightfully owns. It also doesn’t consider taking the time to earn what is desired. Instead it is a lust of the eyes for that which one has not been worked for or which has been rightly received, such as a gift or inheritance. It is an avaricious attitude which will eventually be realized in hatred, theft, murder, etc. if not reigned in.
Drunkards – These were described in 1 Corinthians 5:11. A drunkard is a person addicted to, and consumed by, alcohol; not specifically any person who drinks alcohol. A drunkard has no restraint over his drinking; it has conquered him and his allegiance is to it and not to Christ. Concerning the moderate drinking of alcohol, there is nothing wrong with doing so despite the stigma many un-biblically attach to it. The entire body of Scripture bears this out. However, like any other thing, there are limits which must be exercised.
Revilers – Again, as noted in 1 Corinthians 5:11, this is a person who is vulgar in his words. His speech is coarse, angry, defiant, and abusive. Such a person has no problem vilifying others in their character, hurting people’s feelings through speech, and demeaning those around them. Such an attitude is opposite to Christ who “when He was reviled, did not revile in return” (1 Peter 2:23).
Extortioners – This final category was described in 1 Corinthians 5:10. Such are those who take advantage of others for illicit gain. They may charge high rates of repayment on loans, forced payment for “protection” which if not paid will end in any sort of punishment, etc. In this type, there is little consideration for others, but rather a rapacious desire to profit off anyone for any reason.
The Bible now states, in completely clear terms that all of the categories listed in 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10 will not inherit the kingdom of God. It is easy to look at the list and say, “I haven’t done that one or that one,” but in the end, all have committed at least one and certainly more than one of each offense listed. In other words, we are all guilty and stand condemned before God. As Paul says in Romans 3:10, “There is none righteous, no, not one.”
No person is justified in and of themselves before God and all people are “condemned already” according to Jesus’ words in John 3:18. What we need to be right before God cannot be found within ourselves. Paul will keep on to showing this as he continues with his epistle. We disregard his words at our own peril.
Life application: Who can point a finger at one of the people on this sobering list without condemning themselves. There is nothing wrong with making right moral judgments, but there is a problem with doing so before first getting right with God through Jesus Christ. Once that occurs, we stand in a position where we can identify evil in others and lead them to the Fountain of cleansing, which is Christ.
Heavenly Father, I once was guilty before You, having transgressed Your laws and violated Your holy nature. But in Your great grace and mercy, You sent Jesus to take my place, to bear my sins, and to remove my stains. Now, because of Him, I stand justified before You, pure and undefiled. Help me to live out that state which I truly possess in a manner worthy of it. Help me to reflect Your goodness in all its splendor. Amen.