Friday, December 20, 2013

Caution: Prickly Cactus Ahead

While I was appalled at some of the things that the Bearded Wonder said recently -- everyone seems focused on one element, but there were numerous items that were face-palm-worthy -- at the same time, many are reacting against something the Bible actually says:

Note: you'd think this would be obvious...
"Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. 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)

Before anyone jumps to any hasty conclusions (hasn't there been enough of that already?), let's break this biblical passage down a bit.

Those who will not inherit the Kingdom of God include:
  1. Sexually immoral
    • anyone who is sexually active but not married (may encompass more than "going all the way")
  2. Idolaters
    • anyone who worships, depends on, or offers sacrifices to an idol; potentially the only item most of us may be innocent of, unless money, power, and prestige count as idols
  3. Adulterers
    • anyone having sex with somebody when one or both of you is married to somebody else
  4. Men who have sex with men
    • pretty self-explanatory
  5. Thieves
    • people in general who steal stuff, pirated DVD's, copies of CD's that you didn't actually pay for, "cracked" software downloaded from internet, etc.
  6. Greedy
    • "I'm trapped using a mere cell-phone! I need a new the latest smartphone! My flat-screen is embarrassing: only 72 inches wide! Black Friday RULES!" (etc.)
  7. Drunkards
    • TGIF! Let's get hammered pie-faced (insert favorite metaphor for complete intoxication here). It's our weekend tradition!
  8. Slanderers
    • misrepresenting others in order to mock or discredit them, spreading gossip for the same reason, cyber-bullying, & the average heat-of-the-moment reactionary facebook/blog comment
  9. Swindlers
    • ponzi schemes, cheating on taxes, televangelists, etc.
Okay,  I'm going to go waa-a-aay out on a limb here, and assume that everyone reading this got busted by at least one item on this list. Spiritually, righteously, ethically speaking -- we epitomize fail.

But isn't that the point? That none of us "deserves" the Kingdom? That we might need an intervention or something, or Somebody -- a Savior, perhaps?

That's why the rest of this brief passage of Scripture, following such a devastating list of who won't inherit the Kingdom, is so important:
"And that is what some of you were. 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."
Were the original readers of Paul's letter offended by the list? We have no way of knowing; there were no eye-witness reports of their reaction. Were they relieved, encouraged, and built up in their faith to hear that Jesus had dealt with their (our) epic fail? That because of Jesus, everyone can be forgiven and inherit the Kingdom?

I'm guessing "yes".

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