by Mike Ratliff
50 Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 1 Corinthians 15:50 (NASB)
There are only two religions in the entire world. There is genuine Orthodox Christianity and then every other form of religiosity including humanism. The latter are all opposed to the truth and are part of the rebellion against the sovereignty of God. Genuine Orthodox Christianity is made up of those who have been redeemed from the slave market of iniquity. This slave market preys on people and keeps them in bondage to the flesh. On the other hand, Genuine Orthodox Christianity, which is the Church, is spiritual. Those in it are adopted into the family of God. Those spiritually alive right now await the completion of their redemption. Those who have already died are with the Lord now. Those who remain are in process. This process is their progressive sanctification, which is the mortification of the deeds of their flesh, which is sin. However, all outside of the Church are in their sins and can only operate in the flesh.
As the Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:50, flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. This refers to efforts of humans. Salvation comes through God’s work, not Man’s. The best flesh and blood can do is as filthy rags in God’s sight.
6 But we are all like an unclean thing,
And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags;
We all fade as a leaf,
And our iniquities, like the wind,
Have taken us away.
7 And there is no one who calls on Your name,
Who stirs himself up to take hold of You;
For You have hidden Your face from us,
And have consumed us because of our iniquities. Isaiah 64:6-7 (NKJV)
The following is a quote from an article in the January 2021 edition of Tabletalk Magazine by Dr. Burk Parsons. The article is the intro for the full teaching series for the month. It is titled The State of Our Souls. I am referencing this article by Dr. Parsons because of another discussion I was part of today on Social Media where a person seemed shocked that over 70% of young people saw no problem with “Moral Relativism.” This is, of course, the direction our culture has been going for as long as I can remember and I am nearly 70 years old. However, being this old and having gone to church my entire life I can tell you right here that there has been an accelerated shift in this over this last decade or so. Here is the quote from Dr. Parson’s article.
The church needs to wake up. The handwriting is on the wall, and it tells us that the evangelical church is in serious trouble—that her theology has been weighed in the balances and is found wanting. This shouldn’t surprise us, because mainstream evangelical leaders have been paving this path to ruin for a long time. When they began to feel pressure to conform to the culture, many began to water down the teaching of Scripture and cover up those Christian truths that our culture despises. Naturally, as the evangelical church continued down the path of least resistance, a path that seeks peace with the increasingly secularized culture, many leaders further began to accommodate to culture by attempting to attract the culture and win the culture. But when the culture wouldn’t let itself be won, many leaders chose to compromise rather than to stand for the truth. As a result, most of the old, countercultural, evangelical churches have become the new, culturally compromised, mainline churches. They have left many professing Christians with a lowest-common-denominator faith that is almost entirely ignorant of basic Christian theology.
I fully agree with that statement and I also agree that this is the root cause of the “Moral Relativism” issue we have all around us now. My parents were very solid Southern Baptists who grew up in the Great Depression. They were also Democrats, but I assure you that they would not recognize what has happened to their Political Party. I am also certain that neither of them would be very happy with direction the SBC is going with its compromise with Critical Race Theory, Intersectionality, and Wokeism. No, they would not even recognize their denomination nor would they stand for it. My grandfather was a SBC pastor and evangelist who was born in 1877. He served the Lord from the 1890’s in Territorial Oklahoma and then into Statehood through WWI and WWII into the 1950’s. From what I have heard from those who knew him and got to hear his sermons, he would not have stood for what is going on now in the SBC. Why? Is it Biblical? Well, no, but does it matter? Then it’s not of God! Get thee behind me Satan! Yes, that is how it would have gone with him and one of his contemporaries, W. A. Criswell. That being said, we have some good men in the SBC standing against the corruption like Tom Ascol and his ministry, Founders, but there are also some very well known leaders in the SBC bent on taking the SBC down the mainline church path, which is nothing more than man-focused religiosity. However, let us never forget that when this horrid condition takes place then God is moving to separate those in the visible church who are tares from those who are genuine. The genuine will be known by their suffering through the persecution for not compromising while the tares will compromise in order to gain what the world offers.
The Word of God is very clear that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. That means that unrepentant sinners are not Christians. When a person is regenerated by God then believes through faith by the grace of God, he or she also repents. This new Christian is a new creation in Christ. The Christian is not perfect, but does seek to live a repentant lifestyle by the grace of God. On the other hand there are plenty of “Christian’ leaders out there who want to open wide the narrow gate and allow the unrepentant into God’s Kingdom. Let us look at a passage that teaches the opposite.
9 Or 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 effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (NASB)
9Ἢ οὐκ οἴδατε ὅτι ἄδικοι θεοῦ βασιλείαν οὐ κληρονομήσουσιν; μὴ πλανᾶσθε· οὔτε πόρνοι οὔτε εἰδωλολάτραι οὔτε μοιχοὶ οὔτε μαλακοὶ οὔτε ἀρσενοκοῖται 10οὔτε κλέπται οὔτε πλεονέκται, οὐ μέθυσοι, οὐ λοίδοροι, οὐχ ἅρπαγες βασιλείαν θεοῦ κληρονομήσουσιν. 11καὶ ταῦτά τινες ἦτε· ἀλλ’ ἀπελούσασθε, ἀλλ’ ἡγιάσθητε, ἀλλ’ ἐδικαιώθητε ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι τοῦ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ καὶ ἐν τῷ πνεύματι τοῦ θεοῦ ἡμῶν. (1 Corinthains 6:9-11 NA28)
The word ‘unrighteous’ in the Greek is ἄδικος (adikos). In this passage we have the Nominative, Plural case, ἄδικοι (adikoi). In classical Greek, this word is used to describe the wicked. In this context, it describes those who fall short of the righteousness required by God’s Law. It is also used in the New Testament to describe those who have not had Christ’s righteousness imputed to their account. In other words, this is describing the unsaved, those who are still in their sins. Not one of them will inherit the Kingdom of God. The word ‘inherit’ in the Greek is κληρονομέω (klēronomeō). In this passage we have the Finite, 3rd Person, Plural, Future, Indicative, Active case, which is κληρονομήσουσιν (klēronomēsousin). This verb describes the act of obtaining by inheritance. To inherit something means being part of the family that owns what is obtained. Those who will not inherit it are not part of that family. God has adopted all genuine Christians into His family as Christ’s brethren (Ephesians 1). This verb, κληρονομέω, is in future tense so refers to punctiliar action rather than linear action. This inheritance will take place in the future once and it is done.
Then Paul says, “Do not be deceived…” The word deceived in the Greek is πλανάω (planaō). In this passage Paul used μὴ πλανᾶσθε (mē planasthe), which literally says, “not do be deceived.” This present imperative verb in active voice is a command to avoid ‘going out of the way’ continually. We must always be vigilant to not believe the lie. What lie? The lie is that the unrighteous are going to inherit the Kingdom of God just like the elect. As long as they are religious and sincere then their sins do not matter. What sins? Paul gives us a sampling in vv9-10. He starts with those who practice ‘sexual immorality.’ This is based on the Greek word πόρνος (pornos). Those who practice it are the πόρνοι (pornoi). This is where we get our English word pornography. This refers to all who indulge in fornication particularly unmarried persons. The next group mentioned is ‘idolaters.’ This is referring those who worship any false god or follow any false religious system. This is all who are not part of the true Church. These are the ones who have not had Christ’s righteousness imputed to their account.
The next group is adulterers. These married persons indulge in sexual acts outside of marriage. The next group is ‘men who practice homosexuality.’ The King James translates this as “nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind.” These terms refer to those who exchange and corrupt normal male-female sexual roles and relations. This would include transvestism, sex changes, and other gender perversions (Genesis 1:27; Deuteronomy 22:5). The ‘abusers of themselves with mankind’ are also called sodomites in the NKJV. Sodomites are so called because the sin of male-male sex dominated the city of Sodom (Genesis 18:20; 19:4,5). This perversion is always condemned in Scripture in all its forms (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Romans 1:26,27; 1 Timothy 1:10).
The next two groups are thieves and the greedy. Both groups are guilty of the same basic sin of greed. The covetous desire what belongs to others. Thieves actually take it. The next group is revilers. These attempt to destroy others with their words. They would include the predators who seek to demolish other people reputations with their deceit, for whatever motive. Christians are not to do that any more than stealing or committing sexual sins like those above. That sure sheds some light into the actions of certain professing Christians who do this very thing to other Christians by defaming them and saying all sorts of untrue evil things about them to the world on the Internet doesn’t it? The last group mentioned is swindlers. The NKJV translates this word as ‘extortioners.’ This would include swindlers and embezzlers. They steal indirectly by taking unfair advantage of others for their own financial gain. Think of identity theft.
Paul tells us that no one who is identified as living an unrepentant lifestyle marked by any of these sins will inherit the Kingdom of God. We do know, though, that many of us who are Christians have many of these things in our past. What about that? The key to this passage for us is v11, which says, “Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” Every Christian is equally an ex-sinner. Christ came to save sinners. Many Christians used to have those patterns of sinful life by falling into those old sins again even after professing faith in Christ. This passage is a reminder to them that if they went all the way back to live as they used to, they were proving that their profession of faith was bogus and they were not going to inherit eternal salvation. This deconversion would prove they were never saved (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Genuine Christians were washed unto a new life in Christ through spiritual cleansing and regeneration (John 3:3-8; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:10; Titus 3:5). They were sanctified. Sanctification is the act of God of removing a saved person from sin into a progressively more holy life over time. This results in new behavior, which a transformed life always produces. The dominance of sin is broken and replaced by a new pattern of obedience and holiness. This is not perfection. Instead, we must look at it as a new direction unto being conformed unto the image of Christ. They were justified. This is referring to God’s declaration of righteousness to all who believe and receive Christ. This results in a right standing before God because Christ’s righteousness is imputed unto their account. They are now clothed in Christ’s righteousness. This is possible because genuine Christian’s sins were put to Christ’s account. He suffered and died for them (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 salvation’s transformation (John 3:3-5).
Now, what does this say about those who are working to deceive Christians into validating the acceptability of including unrepentant sinners into the Body of Christ? Paul warns us to be continually alert to this deception. Those proposing this are attempting to call what is evil good. This is a lie and we must not agree to it. We must warn our brethren and try to alert the followers of these people to the error. We cannot use the world’s tactics in this. No, we must pray and tell the truth.
Soli Deo Gloria!