Some persons my breathe
a sigh of relief as they see that they are not included in this list of vices
which disqualify persons from membership in the
· Are they then excluded from the kingdom?
· The question becomes even more acute when we recognize that the list of sins enumerated here is only representative and not exhaustive.
See sin lists: Ro 1:29-31; 1Co 5:11; 6:9-10; 2Co
12:20; Gal 5:19-21; Eph 4:31; 5:3-5;
· adultery, arrogance (2 times), bitterness, boastfulness, brawling, debauchery, deceit, discord, disobedience to parents, disorder, dissensions, drunkenness (3), envy (2), evil desires, factions (2), faithlessness, filthy language, foolish talk or coarse joking, gossip (2), greed (4), hatred, hatred of God, heartlessness, homosexuality, idolatry (5), impurity (3), insolence, invent ways of doing evil, jealousy (2), lust, male prostitution, malice (2), murder, obscenity, orgies, quarrelling, rage (5), ruthlessness, selfish ambition, senselessness, sexual immorality (5), slander (6), strife, swindle (2), theft, witchcraft
· In 1Co 5, Paul has addressed the case of sexual immorality. Paul teaches that the church must remove the yeast (bad elements) so that it can be a new batch without yeast.
· In 1Co 6, Paul exposes another fragment of “yeast” which needs to be dealt with: the spectacle of church members taking each other to civil court. They also cheat and wrong each other (6:8).
These evidences of unrighteousness among the
Corinthian believers lead Paul to denounce all forms of evil as incompatible
Why does Paul say sins and the
· Paul reminds them of God’s transforming intervention in their former lives of unrighteousness. “That is what some of you were” (6:11). “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” (6:11).
· Who inherits the kingdom? All those whose lives have been scarred by one or more of the sins in the Pauline lists with which we began, whose scarred lives have been healed and cleansed by the grace of God, and who reject the continuing encroachments of sin, moving in the power of the Spirit toward the coming kingdom of God.
Those who say that they are Christians but
persist in sin with no sign of remorse will not inherit the
· In verse 7, Paul suggests that it is better for us to accept being wronged by a fellow Christian, than to be vindicated by a secular court. Is this comparable to Jesus’ teaching that the meek are blessed, for they will inherit the earth (Mt 5:5)?
· In 1Co 6:6-8, why did Paul say that Christians should not take their disagreements to unbelievers in secular courts? There are 4 reasons: (1) If the judge and jury are not Christians, they are not likely to be sensitive to Christian values. (2) The basis for going to court is often revenge; this should never be a Christian’s motive. (3) Lawsuits make the church look bad, causing unbelievers to focus on its problems rather than on its purpose. (4) Protected by Christ’s redeeming power, we are to seek judgment before an all-knowing God, rather than before a secular court where much remains hidden.
· In a permissive society, it is easy for Christians to overlook or tolerate some immoral behaviours (greed, drunkenness, etc.) while remaining outraged at others (homosexuality, thievery). We must not participate in sin or condone it in any way, nor may we be selective about what we condemn or excuse. Staying away from more “acceptable” forms of sin is difficult, but it is no harder for us than it was for the Corinthians. God expects his followers in any age and any culture to have high standards.