1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters…
I. WHAT OUR INHERITANCE IS. "The kingdom of God:" present, but chiefly future. Of which Peter speaks (2 Peter 3:13), "We, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." Heaven, and the heavenly life, and the heavenly joys; the "rest that remaineth for the people of God;" the nightless, sinless, curseless, painless land; the "many mansions" of the Father's house; the eternal home, where we "shall see his face." This inheritance is in a certain sense the inheritance of all, since Christ died for the sins of the world. The gospel invitation is addressed to all. We disinherit ourselves.
II. SINS WHICH HINDER US FROM INHERITING THE KINGDOM OF GOD.
1. Sins of sensuality. Brutal lusts; unholy indulgence. Amongst the ancients (and also amongst the moderns too) vices existed which must not be so much as named amongst the decent and pure.
2. Idolatry. If we serve false gods, how can we expect a reward from the true God? Some have keen eyes for injuries done to men; idolatry is a preeminent sin against God. And we may be thorough idolaters whilst we are professed Christians. What is that which occupies the throne of our heart and of our life? Is it an idol or is it God?
3. Theft, covetousness, extortion. These may be grouped together. They do not seem so heinous as the foregoing, but they are associated with them - and through them, equally with the others, may the inheritance be lost. Such sin shows that our heart is not right either towards man or God. And the three are much upon a par. Yet many a man would be horrified at the thought of being a thief who is not at all horrified at being undoubtedly covetous and extortionate. How names betray us! Why, what is covetousness but theft in the bud? And extortion is theft - unmitigated theft - in the blossom! Many a man steals mentally, and is as guilty as if he stole actually; for nothing but the restraints of society and the dock keep his hands still. And he passes for an honest man! Many a theft is committed in a court of justice before the very eyes of judge and jury, and sometimes with the assistance of a bewigged counsel; for example, when a man is striving to get more than his due.
4. Drunkenness. This curse of our land - what men lose by it! Health, respect, friends, position, home, wealth - and the kingdom of God.
5. Foul language. Reviling, railing, sins of the tongue. Foul lips which speak of a foul heart, for the sweet fountain sends not forth bitter waters. Sins such as these entail the forfeiture of the great inheritance. Plainly are we here taught that a nominal faith can never save us. All the profession in the world cannot carry us an inch towards the promised land. It is the old pagan notion that religion consists in outward observances and not in heart and life.
III. THESE HINDRANCES MAY BE REMOVED. Here is consolation for great sinners - and who are small ones? When a man is deeply convinced of sin he is often tempted to despair. Can I, the unclean, the immoral, the foul mouthed, the foul hearted, enter into the kingdom of ineffable holiness? It seems impossible. But after detailing some of the vilest acts of which humanity can be guilty, the apostle turns upon the Corinthians and says, "And such were some of you." Of greatest sinners God has sometimes made greatest saints. If the heart be contrite, there is no cause for the abandonment of hope. The barriers which are insuperable to man can be cast down by the might of God. In our sin we need look to God, for none besides can aid us. Our sickness is beyond all skill save that of the great Physician.
IV. THE MANNER OF REMOVAL. The apostle speaks of "washing" - the great need of the defiled - and then directs attention to its twofold character. That the impure may enter into the all pure kingdom of God, two things are necessary.
1. Justification - which we receive through Christ (ver. 11). He took our place; he bore our sins; he made atonement for us. Our sins are imputed to him; his righteousness is imputed to us. Through him God can be just and yet the Justifier of the ungodly. "With his stripes we are healed; The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin" (1 John 1:7); he is able to save "to the uttermost;" "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow" (Isaiah 1:18).
2. Sanctification - which we receive through the operation of "the Spirit of our God" (ver. 11), the Holy Ghost. Justification is that which is done for us; sanctification is that which is done in us. Yet one is not without the other. By the Divine Spirit we become "born again," "born of the Spirit," made pure inwardly; our affections purged, our desires corrected, our spiritual being controlled and purified (see John 3:3).
V. A CAUTION IMPLIED. "And such were some of you." Are ye becoming so again? We need beware of "going back" to those things which once barred our access to the kingdom of God, and which will do so again if indulged in. Our great inheritance may be lost after all! It will be, unless we "endure to the end." How earnest anxious, prayerful, watchful should we be lest we "come short"! There is One who is "able to keep us from falling" (Jude 1:24). "Cleave unto the Lord your God" (Joshua 23:8). - H.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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,