Summary: This passage deals with a number of sins that are practiced at least to a minor degree in our society today. Most of these sins that Paul mentions are socially acceptable. Yet God pulls no punches.
Tonight’s passage deals with a number of sins that are practiced at least to a minor degree in our society today. Most of these sins that Paul mentions are socially acceptable. Yet God pulls no punches. No church membership, no religion, no profession, no good works, nothing can save a person if he practices these sins. None of these sins that we will mention tonight are the unpardonable sin. So before you say something, notice that I said that a person cannot be saved if he PRACTICES these sins. By that I mean that the person doesn’t seek forgiveness from God. He doesn’t feel guilty about it so he doesn’t confess that sin to God and repent. For that, the person cannot be saved, at least until he goes to God with it.
Paul starts this passage with a critical question. READ v. 9. This is a shocking but critical question that must be known by everyone of us. People have to know the facts. This passage today would be considered politically incorrect. You will see what I mean. It boils down to this—if God is righteous, then people must live righteous lives in order to be accepted by Him.
People ignore the fact of God’s demand for righteousness. They divorce their behavior from religion. They profess religion, practice religion, talk religion, and defend their beliefs about religion. But they go ahead and live like they want regardless of their religion. If they want to do something, they go ahead and do it feeling that God will forgive them.
They feel they have done enough kindness, enough religion, enough works, enough service to be acceptable to God. But this is a false concept of God. This is a fatal mistake to believe that way. It was the mistake that some of the Corinthian church members were making. Read the question again in v. 9.
The glorious privilege of living with God in the new heaven and new earth where there is no evil or sin is to be given only to genuine believers—those who have truly given their lives to Jesus and live their lives as Jesus says to live. Paul says no matter how religious you are, how much you go to church, how much you serve or whatever, if you don’t live a pure and righteous life, you will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Then Paul lists the sins:
The sexually immoral will not inherit the kingdom of God. This means any kind of sexual vice.
Idolaters will not inherit the kingdom of God. These are not just the people who worship idols and images of metal, wood, or stone. Idolatry is ANYTHING that comes between you and God. This can also include working up concepts of God that aren’t true. We all have an image of what God is like but if that is not Scriptural, we fall into the idolatry category.
Here’s the point: God has loved the world. He revealed Himself in His Son Jesus Christ and through His Word. So an idolater is anyone who strikes out on his own and works up concepts and ideas of God that are against what Jesus Christ and the Scripture reveal.
Idolatry can include greed. Putting other things before God.
Adulterers will not inherit the kingdom of God. We covered in detail what adultery is when we talked about the 7th commandment. But to quickly refresh our memories, adultery includes those who are sexually unfaithful to their spouse or even looking upon the opposite sex with lust in mind. Imagining and lusting within the heart is the very same as committing the act.
The male prostitutes and the homosexual offenders will not inherit the kingdom of God. There it is. About as clearly as it can be stated.
READ v. 10. This is a list of deceptive sins that aren’t usually considered to be fatal because they are so common among mankind. Many people practice these sins to varying degrees. No matter what they think, many will still stand guilty before God, and will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Thieves will not inherit the kingdom of God. The word used here for thieves doesn’t just mean the professional thief that steals for a living. It includes the petty, sneak thief, the shoplifter, the one who steals here and there.
The greedy will not inherit the kingdom of God. These are those who always want more, who are never satisfied with what they have, who store up and hoard, etc.
Drunkards will not inherit the kingdom of God. These are those who drink and do drugs to affect their senses for lust and pleasure, those who try to get tipsy or intoxicated.
Slanderers will not inherit the kingdom of God. Those are the people who abuse others through scolding, ranting and raving, using insolent and abusive language, cursing.