A couple weeks ago, I was asked to lead our Bible Study group in our weekly Sunday morning lesson. The lesson was on an easy subject, homosexuality (yes, that’s blatant sarcasm). Couldn’t they find a topic that evokes more heated debate, one that often stirs strong emotions and opinions? Well, I prepared my notes, filled my coffee mug, and headed into our classroom.
One of the main scriptures we studied was from Paul’s writings to the church in the Roman province of Corinth. “Don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit God’s kingdom? Do not be deceived: No sexually immoral people, idolaters, adulterers, or anyone practicing homosexuality, no thieves, no greedy people, drunkards, verbally abusive people, or swindlers will inherit God’s kingdom (1 Cor 6:9-10).” Paul, led by the Holy Spirit, gives a clear list, albeit not an all inclusive one, of behaviors that will keep a person from entering the presence of God. Pretty black and white. But it’s essential to not miss the big picture, or the forest from the trees (as the old timers say).
Not long ago, while I was early in my Christian walk, a verse like this would’ve been difficult for me. You see, I’ve drank to drunkeness before. I’ve been greedy with money and possessions before. I’ve spoken very ugly to people, even ones I love before. Swindlers, aka liars, check. Although I can say I’ve never worshipped a golden calf statue, I’ve often placed things before my worship of the Almighty God. Yikes! I’m a full fledged sinner! And what makes it a double-Yikes is that I still will struggle with these same behaviors at times in my life.
We all sin (see Rom 3:23). Sin is real. It’s evident by all that’s wrong in this world. And according to God, all sin is equal (see James 2:10). Because God says all sin is equal, all the behaviors listed in the above scripture are seen as the same in the eyes of God. Not greed, not audultery, not stealing, and not even homosexuality are less or more of a sin. This gives no one the right to look down on another for their sins, as it’s fully evident that each of us sins, and do not deserve to be in God’s presence or inherit His kingdom. Ouch! Bloody gloomy, as the British would say.
But the good news is that’s not the end of the scripture, or the story! “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 God (1 Cor 6:11).” You see, because of the life and sacrifice of Jesus, our wrongs are removed from us and we are declared righteous before God! God is willing to accept us because Jesus has loved us and paid fully for our sins, allowing each of us to inherit God’s kingdom. Amen!
Does this mean I will never commit a sin again? No. We are born into and live in a world full of sin, full of evil. Sin seems to find us. But I’m trying. Not trying out of fear, but because of love and hope. To know and understand the depths of what Jesus has done for me only makes me want to know and obey him every day, and look ahead to the one day when I will be in the glory of his presence.
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him (John 3:17).”