1Co 6:9 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 homosexuals, nor sodomites,
1Co 6:10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.
This list which Paul wrote in his letter to Christians in the ancient city of Corinth is repeated again in his letter to the Galatian Christians.
Gal 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness,
Gal 5:20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies,
Gal 5:21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
And again Paul wrote to the Christians in Colosse..
Col 3:5 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
Col 3:6 Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience,
Col 3:7 in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.
It is clear when reading Paul’s words in context that he is writing to Christians not unbelievers. He is not pointing the finger at unbelievers but at those who claim to have Jesus and still persist to live according to the lusts of their flesh.
Here is Paul’s description of those who have not got Jesus.
Eph 2:1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,
Eph 2:2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,
Eph 2:3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
Those who are lost, without faith in Jesus, who do not have Jesus living in their heart….are
- dead in trespasses and sins,
- they walk according to the pattern of the world system
- they walk/live by the power of the prince of darkness
- The prince of darkness energises them to follow their fleshly lusts,
- they conduct themselves according to the lusts of their flesh,
- they do what the flesh wants to do, self gratification,
- they do whatever they think to do,
- very nature is against God!
- In other words they are acting according to who they are–LOST IN UNBELIEF!
1Co 5:9 I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people.
1Co 5:10 Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.
1Co 5:11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person.
1Co 5:12 For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside?
1Co 5:13 But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “PUT AWAY FROM YOURSELVES THE EVIL PERSON.”
Based upon these lists in context, Paul is in no way condemning those who practice these lusts of the flesh and who do not believe in Jesus. They are the ones who need to be saved through hearing of God’s forgiveness and love and kindness in Christ Jesus. They are living according to who they perceive themselves to be, so in a sense they are not as guilty as those who say they are His but live according to their flesh. Paul clearly tells us that we are not to judge those who are outside, still in unbelief.
But it is Christians Paul is addressing and telling them they will NOT INHERIT the kingdom of God if they persist in living according to the flesh.
I might point out though that “not inherit the Kingdom” does not mean “not go to heaven when you die”. Scripture speaks of different resurrections….one for the overcoming believers and one later for all unbelievers and disobedient believers.
Mat 24:48 But if that evil servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’
Mat 24:49 and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards,
Mat 24:50 the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of,
Mat 24:51 and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Luke adds this
Luk 12:47 And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.
Luk 12:48 But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.
Paul in Philippians 3:8-14 says he had not yet attained to the resurrection from the dead. He was a believer already, wasn’t that enough? Obviously not. We shall all be raised up…but not in the same order. Some shall be raised before others. This is what Paul was meaning. He wanted to be a part of that first group of resurrected saints who shall reign with Christ.
He said that there were many who walked….in other words they were believers in Jesus. But their god was their belly. In other words they followed their fleshly desires instead of Jesus.
He said they were enemies of the Cross!! These are the ones who shall be raised afterwards. Paul didn’t want any to be in that group so he pleaded and strove to teach “Christ in us” the hope of glory in order to present every man perfect and complete in Him.
Those who are pointing the finger at sinners still lost in unbelief are themselves in danger of being outside and disinherited for a season.
The key to being in the first resurrection is right there in Philippians 3
Php 3:7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.
Php 3:8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ
Php 3:9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;
Php 3:10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,
Php 3:11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
The key is the gospel given to Paul by Jesus directly. Through the cross Paul realised by revelation and the acceptance of faith that he had been crucified with Christ. He no longer lived!! That old version which was so ambitious and proud of his Jewish heritage DIED!! The whole self story he had spun since childhood with all it’s kudos and vain glory DIED with Christ on the Cross. All the fake righteousness through obeying the Law also DIED on the cross and was rubbish to Paul now. That was the first thing..
The second was that Paul realised that though he no longer lived, because he had died….it is NOW CHRIST THAT LIVES in him!! The perfect Jesus Himself now living in Paul’s heart, sharing one heart with him. He in Jesus and Jesus in Paul. And so he saw that the life he now lives in the flesh…is Jesus and he together as ONE FORM…This is TRUE RIGHTEOUSNESS, not earned, but shared with us through faith alone.
Paul made it his aim to only speak Christ as His only source of Life and Righteousness and everything!! Any thought of trying to obey God’s laws was DUNG to Paul…if he did that he would not attain to the resurrection he wanted to attain to. Instead he would be trying to be like Jesus in his old man’s strength…strength which is ONLY A DELUSION.