Death… masquerading as life…

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1 Corinthians 6:Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, sodomites, 10 thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers—none of these will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And this is what some of you used to be. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

The apostle Paul was writing to the people of the church in the city of Corinth, which he started some years before. In this passage he addressed a common problem in Corinth – that self-professed Christian believers were continuing in practices and ways of life that, while acceptable in the general culture of Corinth, were not acceptable among the people of God.

Paul specifically spoke against such behaviors as sexual immorality, worship of idols, theft, greed, drunkenness, dishonestly in business, and so on. Paul says,

“none of these will inherit the kingdom of God”

But what does that mean? Here’s a paragraph from one of my bible commentaries:

“None of these sins ever strengthens relationships with God or with others. As in the Ten Commandments, (such sinful acts) are prohibited because they are destructive and unhelpful to relationships, and inflict grief and anguish. Such were the activities of the Corinthians. They were no more or no less immoral than the rest of the society…” (New Bible Commentary)

In the Kingdom of God we have intimacy with God. We listen to the voice of God via prayer and scripture. We allow God’s word to lead and guide us in ways that give us life as God, the Creator of life, intended. Abiding by God’s ways places us in a position to receive an outpouring of grace and truth and life.

When we continue in behavior that is against the ways and will of God, we intentionally put distance between ourselves and the “Kingdom of God”. in essence, willful disobedience takes us out of the Kingdom of God and into our own kingdom – where we make the rules and determine the norms of life. And, let’s be honest, modern culture encourages the idea of doing things our own way, making up our own rules. It’s the “American way”!

But, it’s a trap. It’s death masquerading as life. 

12 There is a way that seems right to a person, but its end is the way to death. (Proverbs 14:12)

To inherit the Kingdom of God means to come under the rule of God, to embrace the limits God places on life so that we can truly live. It means we submit ourselves to another so that we can receive mercy, grace, peace, and eternal life God affords to those submitted to him through Jesus Christ.

Key question for today: Where am I refusing to enter into the Kingdom of God by rebelling against the ways of God? 

Lord Jesus, you came into this world to make a way for sinful people like us to inherit the Kingdom of God. Today we confess that we sometimes refuse to receive this gift. We prefer to live in our own kingdom where WE rule. Give us grace to reject this form of death masquerading as life. Give us humility to repent of our sin and receive your eternal life. For we ask this in your precious name. Amen.

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