1Co 6:9-11 “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
As human beings, we are masters at self-deception. If we lust after something enough, we can find all manner of excuses to do whatever is necessary to acquire or accomplish our desires. Often, we will even wrestle these things around in our mind until we deceive ourselves into believing that our Heavenly Father is alright with our choices.
Paul takes all the wind out of those sails in verse nine above: the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God. We do not have to be guilty of all the things Paul has listed here. Just holding one of them in our lives puts us in the category of being unrighteous. Regardless of what society has said or done to try and make these things ok, mankind cannot change the mind and will of our righteous God.
Like the rich young ruler who came to Jesus, we may look at this list and think “I’ve never done any of these things (Luk 18:18-21).” However, we must see these as Jesus taught, not just in a natural light but also a spiritual one. While we might honestly say that we have never entered into a physically illicit relationship, can we say that we have never had the thought? We may never have bowed down before a statue or image and worshipped, but have we ever had anyone or anything in our lives that was more important to us than loving and serving God?
The simple truth is, except for Jesus Christ, there is none who are righteous (Rom 3:10). If there are none who are righteous, how then can we have any hope of walking in God’s kingdom here, much less stand before Him in eternity? If we are not being deceived, then we must confess that we have nothing in ourselves that makes us worthy of the church or to walk in His kingdom. Yet, Paul speaks to these brethren as though they did indeed have an inheritance.
In that same hope, let me assure you that we also have an inheritance. We do not have it because we have never been unrighteous. We do not have it because we have never been deceived. We do not have it because we have done something to deserve it. It is ours by the grace and love of God.
Notice the things that make our inheritance possible. We are washed; not that we have washed ourselves, but another has washed us. We are sanctified; set apart to a holy purpose, not according to our will but God’s. We are justified; not self-justification, but in the name (authority) of our Lord Jesus. We receive all of this, not in our own strength, but by the Spirit of our God!
Our inheritance in the kingdom of God is not wrought by anything we do. It is through the authority of Jesus Christ by the work of the Holy Ghost in our lives. This power calls us and enables us to squarely face the filthy rags of our righteousness and know that it is only in His righteousness imputed to us that we have hope. He bestows this upon us out of the depths of His great love for us.
May we humble ourselves before God, our Savior, confess our faults, and rejoice in His mercy that grants us an inheritance in His kingdom!