Yesterday evening the men’s study, I am part of, was into 1 Corinthians 6 which included verses 9-10 [NET]
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! The sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, passive homosexual partners, practicing homosexuals, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, the verbally abusive, and swindlers will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
This is strong language which understandably we wish to interpret in an excusatory way if it appears to indict us. So, perhaps, this has nothing to do with having affairs outside of wedlock? Is Paul talking only about “ladies of the night”? At least, allow us to get drunk at weddings or excuse us if we are working ourselves to death (7 days a week) to “get ahead” without calling us “greedy.” Certainly the practice of homosexuality here does not include lesbianism or true “gay” marriage! And “gossip” is not abusive, if it’s true! Swindlers! I got all my money legally!! Oh, and idolatry, idol worship? No one does that anymore!
I mention this for its relevance in our time. Obviously, there is no finger pointing intended here. This is for introspection only. Paul used the term “shame” in verse 5 to encourage self-introspection for all true believers to see where their convictions are at. What does our conscience tell us? We are not trying to rationalize some cognitive dissonance that makes Paul’s words sound good for us but not “the other,” targeting persons we do not like.
We are in the birth pains of a cultural revolution; but we must remember that God’s Word transcends culture. It would be dangerous, in terms of a meeting with God as the Judge, to assume whatever Paul is talking about, had nothing to do with our society; that it was only about something religious or cultic within the Corinthian community. It would be foolish, for example, to think that internet pornography (which we do not need to define, because we know it when we see it) would be exempt from this list of vices.
“Passive homosexuality” mentioned here was indeed the abuse of catamites. But dare we assume this must mean boys only! The ancient Israelites were warned, instead, about temple prostitution—things we can read about in Herodotus. And should we assume that such a judgment does not embrace a few traffickers of children of any age or gender!
This is a difficult subject because it is obvious to all that morality is culturally being defined not only with relaxed norms but in a way that mocks God, making our Bible sound like something straight out of grandma’s imagination and nothing more.
The church, however, must promote, first and foremost, God’s Word, which seems clearer when studied with an open heart and mind— and thus the word “shame” used here. The next chapter is next week when we discuss marriage from God’s perspective. If God created one Adam for one Eve, something every believer accepts as indicative of the Divine plan for marriage, what does this say about God’s thoughts on today’s lifestyles? If we say, “Nothing,” well, shame on us!
We may in the midst of this cultural revolution soon pay a price for our commitment to God’s Word; so, we best know what we are willing to endure …and why!