By Allen White
Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers and sisters. Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:8-11
Jesus said that no one would “see the kingdom of God unless they are born again” (John 3:3). By implication Paul is saying that people involved in the sin listed here “will not inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:8). Does that mean that if believers sin in these ways that they might lose their salvation?
If we read this passage again, it is clear that the kingdom of God doesn’t belong to those who sin in these categories. They haven’t lost their salvation. They never had it. How do we know? This is what the Bible actually says in 1 Corinthians 6:8-11.
Now, before we go searching for loopholes and excuses, let’s assume that the Bible is true. Let’s assume that these sins have no place in the kingdom of God. Let’s assume that if these sins are sitting on the thrones of our lives, then God is not. Now what?
1. Make sure that you are actually saved.
How do you know that you’re saved? Romans 10:8 simply states, “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” That’s pretty simple.
How do you know that it worked? The Bible says “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God” (Romans 8:14). That doesn’t mean that the Spirit causes us to live perfect lives. But, it does mean that God’s Spirit will work in you regarding sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16:7-11). How is God’s Spirit working in your life?
2. Determine why you are drawn to these behaviors.
You don’t avoid sinful behaviors to be saved. The absence of these behaviors indicates that you are saved. But, in your brokenness you might find a part of you that is committed to God and a part that is drawn to sin. It doesn’t mean that you were born this way. It just means that you’re broken.
3. Find help and accountability.
Once you’ve exhausted all of the over-the-counter remedies and do-it-yourself options, it’s time to seek out a professional. For some, the brokenness in their live originates from things they can’t even remember. For others, they just haven’t put two and two together.
A trusted Christian counselor can help you process what’s going on and point you to resources for on-going recovery. It’s not that you’re unwilling to forsake these sins, it’s just hard to release its grip. You are not alone.
Now, before you write off these devotional as the writer being off on some tangent today, consider the seriousness of Paul’s words:
Don't you realize that this is not the way to live? Unjust people who don't care about God will not be joining in his kingdom. Those who use and abuse each other, use and abuse sex, use and abuse the earth and everything in it, don't qualify as citizens in God's kingdom. A number of you know from experience what I'm talking about, for not so long ago you were on that list. Since then, you've been cleaned up and given a fresh start by Jesus, our Master, our Messiah, and by our God present in us, the Spirit. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (Msg).
Some of the most hopeful words in all of Scripture come from verse 11: “And that is what some of you were.” The sin that prohibits us from entering God’s Kingdom and being a part of God’s family is not so tenacious that God can’t remove it. Nothing is impossible with God.
If you are not a Christian, what is standing in the way? What are you unwilling to leave behind? Aren’t you ready to be made whole? Look at Romans 8:9 again. Ask God to forgive you and claim Jesus as your Savior. God will save you. If you asked God for salvation today, please let me know.
If you are a believer and you struggle with a sin from this list, find help. This sin is interfering with your relationship with God. This sin is keeping you from intimacy with God. This sin is dragging you away. It’s powerful, but it’s not greater than God. If you’ve prayed and read your Bible and cried and sought forgiveness, but you can’t break it, then ask for help. That’s what your church family is for.
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