“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! The sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, passive homosexual partners, practicing homosexuals, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, the verbally abusive, and swindlers will not inherit the kingdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
I have seen this passage used numerous times when discussing ethical issues and how the church should respond.
In fact, my view of how the church should look has long been painted within this framework. Paul is telling the church in Corinth that these types of people do not deserve the kingdom of God. Interestingly he writes these two sentences in the present tense, the sexually immoral, adulterers, thieves, swindlers, et al. These folk WILL NOT inherit the kingdom of God; they are active in their sinful life and show no hope of repentance. Yep, I agree with Paul 100% there. I carried that flag. That WAS my mentality.
It is amazing how the Spirit illuminates me to the Word every time I read it. I had certainly read this text multiple times but never really paid attention to the transition Paul makes from verse 10 to verse 11. Paul continues:
Some of you once lived this way. 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.
He has gone from present to past tense here. Even more, he tells the Corinthians that ‘some of YOU’ once lived this way. BOOM! Some of you once lived this way. These are church folk Paul is addressing. I am church folk, you are church folk, and some of us lived this way? Talk about a smack to the face. Notice the following verbs: were washed, sanctified and justified. Being in the past tense it describes the actions of the verbs having as already happening. How? By the Spirit of God, that is how. Remove the grace of God given to me through Christ, and I am NO different from the sinners Paul describes. I am no different from any of the men and women locked up in prison. I am no different from the guy beating his wife right now. I am no different from the woman who has aborted her baby one or more times. I am no different from the tiny child inside a mothers womb; a mother that is ashamed, afraid and considering aborting such a child. Chew on that for a minute or so.
How am I just like that tiny baby?
Scripture says so, that is how. Romans 5:12 reads, “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.” Death spread to ALL men because ALL sinned literally means that every human is guilty of sin and condemned to death. Therefore, that small child in the womb is just as guilty as I am. We are no different apart from the grace of God. And if I am no different from that tiny child, I have zero authority to place a value on his or her life. God has a perfect purpose for him or her which ultimately is his glory. The same holds true for the child in foster care, the orphan living in a dingy room on the other side of the world, or the kid next door. We are to love them all the same. Moreover we are to love people much like those Paul mentions in the text as well as the young woman considering abortion, who has aborted, the young parent(s) whose children have been removed and placed in foster care. All the people the world considers Dead-beats we are to love.
We do not determine their life value. Only Christ can do that.
As believers we all bemoan egregious acts such as abortion. We all recognize the plight of the child in foster care. We agree that situations similar to the ones cited that women may find themselves in are especially heinous. Accordingly, I do believe that we believers are fervent in our prayers over each one. But I worry that WE have grown calloused in some way to these and many other similar situations. When we pray we must also pray for ourselves. We must pray that we remain heart broken for what breaks God’s heart. We must have a longing for the church to be filled with the “some of you once lived this way” people. We must be willing to open our homes for a season to those in need. We must be the church Luke writes about in Acts. God determines the value of every life he creates in his image, in his likeness. Our God is in heaven! He does whatever he pleases! (Psalm 115:3)
For more information and free resources for Sanctity of Human Life Sunday on January 18th, visit our website HERE.