Paul offers hope for perpetual sinners in today’s Bible reading.
Some will tell you that your sin defines you, that once you discover your “true self“, that’s who you truly are and you should celebrate your true self.
But what if your “true self” is opposed to the revealed Word of God? How do you handle this epic conflict?
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, no thieves, greedy people, drunkards, verbally abusive people, or swindlers will inherit God’s kingdom. 1 Corinthians 6:9–10 (CSB)
Paul names several sins and says that those who commit those sins will not inherit the Kingdom of God. That’s a pretty strong statement, Paul. You’re being very judgmental, Paul. Paul, you’re lacking grace. You need to be more loving, Paul. You need to be more inclusive, Paul. You need to be more tolerant, Paul.
You could write off the Bible as an old, outdated book written by closed-minded men. Or you could say that their statements were culturally-conditioned and therefore don’t apply today. Or you could say that what the biblical writers referred to (eg, homosexuality) wasn’t what is referred to by that word today. Or you could say that the biblical writers didn’t have access to modern-day science that dismisses their theories. Or you could dismiss the authority of the Bible completely, rejecting its claims to be God’s revealed Word.
Or you could repent and turn to God.
Paul gives sinners hope! Paul says that your sin doesn’t define you! Paul says you can change!
Notice that right after Paul lists the sins, he says, “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.” 1 Corinthians 6:11 (CSB)
The clear implication is that you don’t have to continue to do what you used to do! You don’t have to live the way you used to live!
You used to be a drunkard, but you don’t have to be now! You used to be greedy, but you don’t have to be now! You used to be sexually immoral, but you don’t have to be now! You used to be verbally abusive, but you don’t have to be now!
The Gospel Message is one of hope! Grace isn’t limited to getting you into heaven. Grace includes the power of getting heaven into you, to change you from the inside out. (Galatians 5:16, Romans 1:5)
This isn’t about behavior change. This is about life transformation from a life of sin to a life of obedience to God.
Are you being washed? Are you being sanctified? Is your life being renewed by God’s Holy Spirit?
This devotional was originally published August 7, 2019.