A Work in Progress
! Corinthians 6:9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. (NKJV)
Previously in this chapter Paul has commanded that Christians should judge one another but they should leave the judging of non-Christians up to the Lord. He then applied that principle to legal matters stating that Christians should judge Christians involved in legal matters instead of the legal system. His overall point is that Christians should not wrong others.
Paul begins in this passage by telling us the fate of those who wrong others, not just other people but God Himself. He refers to those who wrong others as “the unrighteous” (v. 9a). Previously in this passage he referred to non-Christians as being “unrighteous” (v. 1).
Paul states that unrighteous people, non-Christians, “will not inherit the kingdom of God” (v. 9b). Non-Christians will not go to Heaven when they die.
It seems strange that Paul would move from Christians judging other Christians to the fate of non-Christians. Paul stops short of accusing some of the Corinthian church members of not really being Christians.
They had gone through the steps of becoming a Christian: confession, repentance, asking for forgiveness, and accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior. However, only God knew their hearts and if they actually became Christians. Paul knew better than to judge their hearts, their motives.
So, instead, Paul simply issued a warning. His warning consisted of reminding the church of certain lifestyles of non-Christians.
He stated that “neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God” (vv. 9c-10). This list of non-Christian lifestyles was not intended to be a comprehensive list.
Paul mentioned these sinful lifestyles because these were some of the lifestyles practiced by some of the Corinthians prior to them joining the church (v. 11a). However, when they became Christians they began to be transformed.
The Corinthian Christians were “washed”, “sanctified” and “justified” (v. 11b). All Christians go through the same process.
Our sins are “washed” away by the blood of Christ shed on the cross. All of our sins; those of the past, the present, and the future, are forgiven and forgotten by the Lord.
We are “sanctified”, set apart to God from the world by the work of the Holy Spirit. Every Christian is indwelled by the Holy Spirit upon becoming a Christian.
We are “justified”, the act of becoming righteous. God has imputed His righteousness upon us. He sees us as being righteous because of the blood of Christ.
As we grow in our Christianity, we are continually sanctified, made Holy. It is a process. As Christians, we are a work in progress!
Online Bible Commentary