by Mike Ratliff
Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted. (1 Timothy 1:8-11 ESV)
I met Ray Boltz very briefly in 1988 at a tent revival in Oklahoma. He sang several of his songs and I bought one of his tapes that evening. I was a very new Christian at that time and I really liked the focus of Ray’s songs. When I heard today of his “coming out of the closet” proclaiming that he is living the “homosexual lifestyle” I was saddened. We must learn from this my brethren. First, we must not put other Christians up on pedestals. None of us are perfect. That means we focus on Christ, bearing our hearts to Him for cleansing and healing. We never rely on our will power to resist temptation. Second, when we base the authenticity of our salvation on experience we are treading on very thin ice. Those who rely on that time from their past when they made a ‘decision for Christ’ by walking an aisle or whatever, but have shown little if any movement away from bondage to the flesh are more than likely deceived into relying on religiosity to save them rather than knowing our Lord intimately because He knows them.
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11 ESV)
Here is the same passage from the KJV.
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11 KJV)
Compare these two passages. This list of sins is not exhaustive. However, it does represent the major types of moral sin that characterize the unsaved. Paul is telling us that those whose pattern of life includes one or more of these behaviors are proving that they are not amongst those who will inherit the Kingdom of God. What does it mean to inherit the Kingdom of God? The Kingdom is the spiritual sphere of salvation where God rules as king over all who belong to Him by faith. All genuine believers are in this Kingdom, however, they are waiting to enter into the full inheritance of it in the age to come. According to Paul, and the Holy Spirit who inspired him to write this, those who are characterized by these sins as the pattern of their lives are not saved.
On the other hand, genuine believers can and do commit these sins. However, these sins do not characterize them as an unbroken life pattern. Those who are marked by these sins in that unbroken pattern are not part of God’s Kingdom. Genuine believers resent their sin and seek to gain victory over it by putting it to death.
The word “unrighteous” in this passage is the Greek word “ἄδικος” or “adikos.” It is used to describe those falling short of the righteousness required by divine laws. It is also used to describe those who have not received the imputed righteousness of faith. Paul exhorts us to not be deceived about these ἄδικος.” The Greek word translated as “deceived” here is “πλανάω” or “planaō.” It means to be lead astray. In this context Paul is saying, “do not be ‘lead astray’ by those seeking to to proclaim that the “ἄδικος” are in the kingdom even though they practice lawlessness. “ Then Paul lists these major sins that mark those who do not possess the righteousness of God.
The Greek word translated as ‘sexual immoral’ or ‘fornicators’ is “πόρνος” or “pornos.” This is the root of the word from which we get our English word ‘pornography.’ It refers to male prostitutes or libertines. The Greek word translated as ‘idolators’ is “εἰδωλολάτρης” or “eidōlolatrēs.” It literally refers to one who is a servant of an image. Think of people who idolize money or possessions or position or fame, et cetera. The Greek word translated as ‘adulterers’ is “μοιχός” or “moichos.” This word refers to a male illicit lover or paramour. Figuratively, it refers to apostates.
The KJV refers to two groups of men next, the ‘effeminate’ and the ‘abusers of themselves with mankind.’ The ESV grouped these together into ‘men who practice homosexuality.’ The word ‘effeminate’ is the Greek word “μαλακός” or “malakos.” This is translated as ‘catamite’ in the Geneva Bible. In the Greek it refers to one who is soft or effeminate. The word ‘catamite’ refers to a boy kept by a pederast. The Greek word translated as ‘abusers of themselves with mankind’ is “ἀρσενοκοίτης” or “arsenokoitēs.” This word refers to ‘sodomites’ or ‘homosexuals.’
Instead of continuing with the rest of this list let us jump down to what Paul says to the Corinthians about these sins. What does he say? He said, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” This is the key my brethren. Though not all Christians are guilty of all these sins, every one of us is equally an ex-sinner. Whom did Christ come to save? He came to save sinners (Matthew 9:13; Romans 5:20). There is not one sin on these lists that is unforgivable. Paul was writing to the Corinthian Church and here he states that those in it used to have these patterns of sinful living and that some were falling back into those patterns. Paul’s warning here is that if they did completely fall back into their former lifestyles that it would prove that they had never been saved (2 Corinthians 5:17). Never forget that the number one mark of a genuine Christian is perseverance.
I read today that Ray Boltz struggled for many years with his homosexuality and has finally given up and is now declaring that God made him this way so he was not going to try to repent anymore. However, Paul says in this passage that those who were formerly practicing the most immoral lifestyles before hearing the Gospel were washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of God. Being washed refers to the new life, through spiritual cleansing and regeneration (John 3:3-8; 2 Corinthians 5:17;Ephesians 2:10; Titus 3:5). Sanctification refers to new behavior. Regeneration always produces a transformed life. The new believer’s chains of total domination by sin are broken. They are not perfect, but they are now on the narrow way unto God, a new way of living (Romans 6:17,18,22). Justification refers to the new believer’s standing before God. He or she is now clothed in Christ’s righteousness. Through His death on the cross, the believer’s sins were imputed to His account while His righteousness was imputed to theirs (Romans 3:26;4:22-25;2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 3:8,9; 1 Peter 3:18). The Holy Spirit is the agent of the believer’s transformation (John 3:3-5).
I would like to leave you with a contrast. My wife and I really like to listen to Christian music artist Dennis Jernigan. He went the opposite direction of Ray Boltz. He was homosexual. He attended a Christian university receiving a degree in music. However, God saved and transformed him. Here is one account of this. In any case, the saving grace of God is supernatural. It not only washes us clean in His eyes, it changes us. Let us pray for God to draw Ray Boltz unto Himself for salvation and cleansing.
Soli Deo Gloria!