What if… 1 Corinthians 6:9-10

Many Christ followers use 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 to judge those who they know fall in this list.

Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God. – 1 Corinthians 6:9-10

It could not be any more straight forward, right? If you are sexually devious, you won’t go to Heaven. If you are covetous, you won’t go to Heaven. If you cheat people out of money, you won’t go to Heaven. That is clearly what Paul is teaching here. Or is it?

What if, when you take this verse in context, it means something completely different…

Actually, then, it is already a defeat for you, that you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded? On the contrary, you yourselves wrong and defraud, and that your brethren. Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And 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. All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything. – 1 Corinthians 6:7-12

At the start of this quote, Paul tells the Corinthians that they themselves wrong and defraud people, even their fellow Christ followers. Then he goes into this list of people who will not inherit the kingdom of God. After this list of the unrighteous, he tells them that they WERE like that, and that they WERE washed, sanctified, and justified because of Jesus. But they ARE like this… that is why he is writing to them!

What if Paul is not telling these Christ followers that they are going to Hell for being fornicators, thieves, or drunkards. What if Paul is telling these Christ followers that they are no longer defined by those terms, that they have a new definition, found in Christ. That they should stop behaving as if they were defined by their old terms and start behaving by their new definition, found in Christ. What if Paul is telling them that they can do whatever they want in Christ because Christ doesn’t see their sin anymore, but that they shouldn’t do whatever they want, because Jesus has empowered them to live righteous lives.

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