1 Corinthians 6:9-10 | August 17

1 Corinthians 6:9–10

9 Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

Do people inherit everlasting life?  Let’s take the word inherit in its literal sense, that is, an inheritance is something handed down by legal right and lineage that is yours.  If that is the case, the answer then is no. We do not inherit everlasting life. It is a gift of grace given to those who place their faith in Jesus Christ. Clearly then, this is not talking about eternal salvation. The kingdom of God and salvation must be two separate things. We cannot equate the kingdom of God with being saved.

What does the passage say?  It says that fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, homosexuals, abusers, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, and extortioners shall not inherit the kingdom of God. What it does not say is anyone who actively does these things, or perpetually does these things, or unrepentantly does these things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

It is pretty clear in the passage, there is no rationalizing.  Do these things and the person does not inherit the kingdom of God. If this means salvation, we are all in big trouble.  So what are we to do with the passage?

The real question to ask is, Does any Gentile Christian (regardless of behavior) inherit the kingdom of God?

The word inherit is from the Greek word kleronomeo, a compound word that means the lot of the law. Scripturally speaking, there is only one heir to the Kingdom, it is righteous Israel and those who align with Israel in the Judgment of the Nations (Matthew 25:34). The inheritance of the Kingdom, then, is an added benefit for the believing Jews. 

Additionally, it was appropriate for Paul to talk about inheriting the kingdom to the church at Corinth because it was a Messianic congregation. We would not necessarily talk about inheriting the kingdom to a Gentile audience. There are two other places Paul mentions certain behavioral conditions and the kingdom, and that is in Galatians (a Jewish environment), and in Ephesians (also a large Jewish congregation).

If we equate this passage with entrance into heaven, are we ready to say that any drunkard will not go to heaven? Or, how about someone who is covetous? For me, I am just not willing to say that, because our eternal salvation is not based on behavior, it is based on grace through faith.

Therefore, this passage is not speaking about everlasting life in heaven, it is directed to the Jews and specifically to their inheritance in the kingdom of God.

 

 

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