The Danger of Backsliding
Robert Wurtz II
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, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Cor. 6:9, 10 NKJV)
Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21 NKJV)
For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. (Ephesians 5:5 KJV)
Satan is a cunning master at inducing skepticism towards God and His word. His strategy is the same today as it has always been. In Eden he asked Eve, “Has God said you cannot eat of any tree in the Garden?” (Gen. 3:1 ESV emphasis added) Notice that he called God by the generic word for God, Elohim. He sought to reduce God Almighty in her eyes to a mere god figure (numen divinium). Second, he overstates the command in order to incite a rebellious feeling. Then, as the Father of Lies, he tells Eve she will not surely die and then says that man would become like God — knowing good and evil.
Today, there is a wholesale attack on God’s word — especially in the area of prohibitions. Satan has even managed to transform the practitioners of some sins into protected demographics. It is no longer politically correct (PC) to call sin –sin. However, just as in the Garden of Eden, God has already spoken and 10,000 lies from hell cannot undo what God has plainly said. For this reason it is important to revisit some clearly defined prohibitions from scripture. Paul told the saints repeatedly bout the dangers of these sins and we ought to imitate his approach. Otherwise the cunning craftiness of Satan will eventually lull multitudes into the same trap he took Eve in.
Understanding the Verbs
Jesus tells us in Matthew 5 and Mark 10 who will enter the Kingdom. Paul tells us in Galatians 5:19-21, Ephesians 5:5 and 1 Cor. 6:9, 10 who will not inherit the Kingdom. All of our passages above state or imply that the practitioners of these sins will not inherit the kingdom of God. Our Greek verbs for inherit are in the future active — meaning that there is an inheriting of the kingdom of God that has yet to take place. Our Greek verb for practice is prassonte (root is prassō) and is the verb for habitual practice, not poieō (poy-eh’-o) for occasional doing. Generally speaking, in Paul’s Epistles poieo denotes “an action complete in itself,” while prasso denotes “a habit.” (Vines) The habit of these sins is proof that one is not in the kingdom of God and will not inherit it. (A.T. Robertson) This is not to say that occasionally doing these sins is somehow OK, it is not. But we need to know exactly what we are being warned of. These sins can and must be repented of so as not to continue in the practice of them.
Paul tells the Ephesians, “(…) for this you know.” The means he has warned them before. They are quite aware of these truths. He tells the Galatians, “(…) of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” He asks the Corinthians, “(…) do you not know?” These statements all imply that for Christians this should be common knowledge.
In case some would seek to dismiss these truths, he adds the phrase “be not deceived” (1 Cor. 6:9). Paul is telling them not to deceive themselves or allow others to deceive them into living like Pagans and yet believing they are still in the kingdom. All such sinners are outside of the kingdom of God. This is an awful judgment. They will not be citizens of that kingdom and will not receive the benefits of being in the kingdom. The practice of these sins disqualifies a person from the future inheritance of the kingdom of God unless they are repented of.
Understanding the Sins
Paul has two lists in 1 Cor. 6:9, 10, one with repetition of oute, neither (fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, or malakoi, abusers of themselves with men or arsenokoitai or sodomites as in 1 Tim. 1:10 a late word for this horrid vice, thieves, covetous), the other with ou not (drunkards, revilers, extortioners). Paul’s adds to this list in Galatians 5 the works of the flesh.
1. Fornicators (porneia, prostitution, harlotry. Illicit sexual relations for money/lust)
2. Idolators (eidōlatreia, worship of idols, eating things as sacrificed to idols)
3. Witchcraft/Sorcery (pharmakeia, a drug, the ministering of mind altering drugs)
4. Adulterers (moichos, marital infidelity. Illicit relations with a married person)
5. Effeminate (malakos, soft as in Matt. 11:8, yields their body to homosexual uses)
6. Sodomites (arsenokoites, one who lies with a male as with a female vise versa)
7. Uncleanness (akatharsia, reckless lustfulness and pleasure seeking)
8. Lewdness (aselgeia, outrageous, unbridled, shameless, lust)
9. Thieves (kleptai, a thief.)
10. Covetous (pleonektēs, eager for more. Greedy of gain)
11. Drunkards (methai, drunken excesses, Luke 21:34; Rom. 13:13)
12. Extortioners (harpax, to take things by force. )
13. Revilers (loidoros, railing on people with rude talk. 1 Sam. 25:14 of Nabal)
14. Sinful personal relations expressed by eight words in Galatians 5, all old words, sins of the spirit, like enmities (exthrai, personal animosities), strife (eris, rivalry, discord), jealousies (zēlos or zēloi, MSS. vary, our very word), wraths (thumoi, stirring emotions, then explosions), factions (eritheiai, from erithos, day labourer for hire, worker in wool, party spirit), divisions (dichostasiai, splits in two, dicha and stasis), heresies (haireseis, the very word, but really choosings from haireomai, preferences), envyings (phthonoi, feelings of ill-will). And such like (kai ta homoia toutois). And the things like these (associative instrumental toutois after homoia, like). It is not meant to be exhaustive, but it is representative.
Some Final Warnings from the Revelation
But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8)
Here we have six more things to add to the list not already covered:
15. Fearful (deilos, timid. Christians that fall back under persecution, etc.)
16. Unbelieving (apistos, disloyalty, unbelieving and without trust in God.)
17. Abominable (bdelysso, to pollute, to turn away because of a stench. (Rom. 2:22)
18. Murderers (phoneus, murder, homicide, man-slayer, assassin)
19. Whoremonger (pornos, man who sells his body for lust or for hire)
20. All Liars (pseudes, seudos is a noun found in nine contexts, meaning “lie” or “lying.” Lying is a natural expression of Satan’s character (John 8:44), the embodiment of the evil one in 2 Thess. 2:9, 11. Rom. 1:25 refers to the fundamental attitude underlying the sin of idolatry — exchanging the truth of God for a lie. Rev. 21:27; 22:15 refer to those who utter lies as having no part whatever with the people living in the heavenly city. (Renn-Bible Words, Steven D. Renn)