The Expository Files.

"They Shall Not Inherit The Kingdom of God"

1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Contrary to what some folks would have you to believe, I know of very few preachers of the gospel who relish the thought of people missing heaven. "Fire and brimstone preachers" they call those who are faithful to the Scriptures and take the warnings therein seriously enough to mention them. Preachers and teachers of this sort are usually characterized as harsh and unloving. Certainly some of them are. But facts are facts and that the Word of God warns that certain types of behavior will cause people to be lost. And isn't it also possible that many of those sounding the warnings are doing so because of genuine concern for others? The liberal "do whatever you choose to do" crowd will deny it, but it is the truth.

It is in the spirit of concern and loyalty to the facts as God has caused them to be stated in His Word that this article is written. It is not intended to make anybody mad. The title suggests that not everybody is going to heaven. Already, we are being too "narrow-minded" for many people. But we shall go even further and get specific, but not any more specific than the Scriptures. So if you do not like some of the specifics, take your argument not to the source of this article, but to the source of the Scriptures upon which this article is based; our Creator.

"Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God." (I CORINTHIANS 6:9-11). The  spiritual and moral environment of the first century city of Corinth was extremely unhealthy. Out of this culture, which had seen its prime and under the crushing weight of further moral decline would one day destroy itself, men and women answered the call of the gospel. They sought purpose for their lives; they sought a better way; they sought an eternal and abiding hope. They found it in Christ Jesus. Even if their city and culture would shortly lie in ruins, they would live forever.

"And nothing unclean and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it (the holy city, new Jerusalem - J.Q.), but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life." (REVELATION 21:27). Paul had given a list of things which, by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, he termed "unrighteous" and said that those who practice such things "shall not inherit the kingdom of God." But if one is engaged in such activity, all is not lost. There are steps to take to remedy the situation. We'll discuss that later.

According to I CORINTHIANS 6:9-11:
(1) Fornicators shall not inherit the kingdom of God. This term refers to those who engage in sexual activity which God has declared sinful. He has not declared all sexual activity. In fact, He condones and even encourages lawful sexual activity according to His design and purpose (I CORINTHIANS 7:2-4; HEBREWS 13:4). Fornication refers to sexual activity outside of the marriage relationship between a man and a woman. It would include premarital as well as extramarital sexual relationships of whatever duration from a one night stand to an ongoing affair. Such activity was rampant in first century Corinth. It is rampant today in our own society. But it matters not how commonly it is practiced, it is still unrighteous and it will keep one from entering heaven.
(2) Idolaters shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Those who offer to others what belongs unto God are idolaters. A person's idol might be a huge, grotesque image carved out of stone before which he bows. Or it might be his own desires. It is anything that a person adores more than God. Idolatry will keep one from entering heaven.
(3) Adulterers shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Adultery seems to be more specific a term than fornication. It is usually limited to sexual unfaithfulness to a marriage partner. Adultery will keep one from entering heaven.
(4) The effeminate shall not enter the kingdom of God. When we see this word, we think of a sissy. But the word goes beyond that. It refers to one who is soft, specifically, to the passive partner in a homosexual relationship. Being effeminate will keep one from entering heaven.
(5) Homosexuals shall not enter the kingdom of God. This word is used twice in the New Testament; in the text we are examining as well as I TIMOTHY 1:10. It denotes one who would take the leading role in a homosexual relationship. It is not fashionable today to suggest that such activity is unrighteous and will keep one out of the kingdom of God, but that is what the Covenant of Jesus Christ says. Practicing homosexuality will keep one from entering heaven.
(6) Thieves shall not enter the kingdom of God. There is no excuse for taking that which rightfully belongs to another. Whether its shoplifting, pilfering, short-changing or armed robbery, fraud and extortion, it is thievery. Whether the person doing the stealing is rich or poor it will still keep one from entering heaven.
(7). The covetous will not enter the kingdom of God. This has to do with having an uncontrollable desire to possess a certain thing. It motivates one into committing sin in order to satisfy greed. Coveting that which belongs to another will keep one from entering heaven.
(8) Drunkards shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Children of God have no need to cloud their perspectives nor dull their senses. We must be able to think and reason clearly. Drunkenness causes one to lose focus and rationality. Those who give themselves over to intoxication will find that it keeps them from entering heaven.
(9) Revilers shall not inherit the kingdom of God. There are many to speak boldly about things that they know little about. Many men and women of God have had to endure reproach for their faith. Not even the Son of God escaped verbal abuse. But they will not have to endure it forever because there will be no revilers in heaven.
(10) Swindlers shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Seducers and smooth talkers of all kinds are included here. The religious con-man belongs to this group as well as the secular. Those who prey on others by trying to take advantage of their misfortune would also be included. Swindlers cannot take their ill-gotten goods with them when they leave this world, nor will they enter heaven.

"And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our  God." (I CORINTHIANS 6:11). The Christians at Corinth had been involved in these things before their conversions. During that time they had no hope at all of heaven. Also, any Christians returning to such practices would forfeit their eternal home with God.

But these things were now a part of the past. The disciples at Corinth had been washed, sanctified and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. This happened when they obeyed the gospel from the heart.. This obedience involves those who have come to believe in Jesus repenting of their former conduct and being baptized in the name of Christ (ACTS 2:38). Thus they had been washed (baptized), sanctified (set apart from their old manner of life and dedicated to a new purpose) and justified (declared forgiven and made righteous by God's grace). God took people who were headed toward eternal destruction, and by His power and grace had altered their direction. He continues to do so today. Those who live according to His purpose shall inherit the kingdom of God.

 By Jon W. Quinn
From Expository Files 1.2; February, 1994