Hello everybody and welcome in to episode #219 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading 1 Corinthians 6 today and our focus is on How Important Are Your Rights as a Christian? + Will Unrepentant Sinners Inherit the Kingdom of God?We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in Thanks for listening! Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\
Some important questions – in fact, some of the most important questions there are: How do we decide truth? How do we know what is right or wrong? How do we know what pleases God? How can we be saved from our sins and inherit eternal life? Is Jesus the only way to Heaven, or do multiple paths lead there? What actions, thoughts and lifestyles are sinful? How you answer those questions is very important. Most people answer such questions based on a mixture of sources – their religion, what their parents, guardians and teachers taught them, what their friends think, what society thinks, and how they personally feel. For a Christian, however, things are different – our answers to these questions don’t come from within us, but from the Word of God. The Bible clearly teaches the way of salvation – it clearly teaches what pleases God, and that Jesus is the only way to be saved. The Bible clearly teaches what is sinful and what pleases God. Don’t get me wrong – there are definitely some things in the Bible that Christians can legitimately disagree on (see Romans 14), but the on the primary questions of life, like the ones above, the Bible is quite clear.
The big question is: will we follow what the Word of God says, or will we follow some other way, or some other mixture of ways. The question boils down to this one binary choice: Are we under the Word of God, or are we over the Word of God? By that, I mean – is God’s Word the sole rule and authority and guide for the Christian, or is something else? If we pick and choose what New Testament teachings to follow and which ones to ignore, then we are setting ourselves over the Word of God as the ultimate authority – I am the one who decides what is right or wrong. OR…are we UNDER the Word of God – guided and led by it’s truth no matter what our feelings say, or society says, or whatever. I believe we MUST be UNDER the Word of God – this is largely what is meant when we say Jesus is Lord – it means that He and HIS WORD are over us.
I raise that issue because 1 Corinthians 6 is going to challenge us today in a practical way and a spiritual way and also because there are truths in 1 Corinthians 6 that run quite opposite to what society at large believes to be true, and Christians can be quite tempted to dismiss some of the important truths in this chapter. Practically we are challenged, because 1 Corinthians 6 tells us to how to handle disputes with other Christians and lawsuits with other Christians. Lawsuits are barred completely, and other Christians should assist us when we can’t come to agreement. Does this call for a formal church-court sort of structure? I don’t believe so – this seems very informal, and the goal seems to be unity – avoiding division. We discussed Paul’s profound question yesterday in 1 Corinthians 5: “What business is it of mine to judge outsiders?” We have TWO more questions today, almost as profound as the one’s yesterday. “Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?” asks the apostle, confronting us with two hard questions that go against everything our “demand your rights” kind of culture stands up for. Here Christians are told that it is better to be wronged and cheated by another Christian than to fight and risk hurting other people and division. (I note here that Paul is not talking about abusive situations, but simple disputes)
The spiritual part of 1 Corinthians 6 that much of society is opposed to is found in vss. 9-10
9 Don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit God’s kingdom? Do not be deceived: No sexually immoral people, idolaters, adulterers, or males who have sex with males, 10 no thieves, greedy people, drunkards, verbally abusive people, or swindlers will inherit God’s kingdom.
What is Paul saying here? I believe he is saying that those who live unrepentant lifestyles such as the ones listed – sexual immorality, greed, thieving, verbally abusive, men having sex with men, adultery, idolatry, drunkenness, etc will not go to Heaven. It really couldn’t be any clearer. Now – when I was 8 years old, yes – 8, I was picked up by the police for shoplifting, and taken home in a squad car, where I won a severe spanking as a reward for my thievery. Does this mean I am barred from Heaven? No, says Paul:
11 And some of you used to be like this. 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.
Before Christ, Christians were engaged in all sorts of unrepentant sinful lifestyles, but – we have been washed by Jesus, justified and made legally innocent of our sins – the penalty for our sins has been paid by Jesus on the cross. What if I’m greedy now? (I have been greedy since I’ve been saved) what if I engage in sexual immorality after salvation? (I myself was hooked on pornography for much of my teen years and early twenties AFTER salvation) does this mean I’m barred from Heaven? I don’t believe this is what Paul is teaching…as long as there has been repentance – turning away from sin. I believe what this most important passage is telling us is that a LIFESTYLE of committed and unrepentant practice of these sins means that you are NOT going to inherit God’s Kingdom – i.e. go to Heaven. The stakes are high – eternal life – and therefore we must not declare something good and wholesome that God’s Word says will bar us from eternity in Heaven.
What about those struggling with sin? Like, perhaps a person who is a Christian and loves the Lord but is under the addiction of alcohol, or sexual immorality, or something like that. Can such a person be saved? I’ve wrestled with this question for a long time, and I will give you my opinion, but you must not weigh it very heavily. Get your primary and first and foremost truth on this question by reading and rereading 1 Corinthians 6. That said, I do believe that the person that is caught in sin in an addictive manner who is genuinely fighting that sin and striving to please God in His or her life, and who is grieved by their sin and asks God for forgiveness and genuinely seeks to repent – I believe that person could be a genuinely saved Christian destined for Heaven, because I believe that Jesus will forgive the one that sins and genuinely asks for forgiveness:
4 And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and comes back to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” Luke 17:4
So – a sobering topic today, but this isn’t the always sunshine and happy podcast – it is the Bible podcast, and the Word of God is useful for teaching us, encouraging us, challenging us, filling us with hope, calling us to repentance and leading us. Let’s read our passage.
Bible Memory verses for the month of August: 4 Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not arrogant, 5 is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not irritable, and does not keep a record of wrongs. 6 Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-6
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