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Three Important Facts

The Bible says, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will 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, nor 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” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

At least three things are clear from this text.

1) People who practice these sins are not going to heaven. Contextually, this warning occurs between paragraphs condemning Christians for covetousness, expressed in suing one another (vv. 1-8), and fornication (vv. 12-20). Whoever you are, such conduct stands between you and heaven. And this list is representative, not exhaustive.

2) Self-deception does not change the fact that people who practice these sins are not going to heaven. The Corinthians evidently argued that fornication was okay, that it had no moral implications. Doubtless they had some similar rationalization for their lawsuits. But neither their Christianity nor God’s grace nor societal approval nor any other factor excused their sinful behavior. And no amount of self-proclaimed righteousness could whitewash these wrongs.

3) People can and must abandon these sins. Paul notes that this kind of conduct characterized them before they became Christians: “such were some of you.” Now they were changed: in Christ they were washed (cleansed), sanctified (set apart), and justified (pronounced innocent). That changed condition and status must be accompanied by a change in conduct to be valid, “deeds appropriate to repentance” (Acts 26:20). No one has to live this way; it is our choice.

Are you cleansed in Christ?

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