Who Will Inherit the Kingdom of God?

Biblical Authority Devotional: The Spirit vs. the Flesh, Part 6

by Tim Chaffey on July 26, 2011

The Bible provides lists of the types of people who will not inherit the kingdom of God, but it also tells us who will inherit the kingdom of God. Tim Chaffey, AiG–U.S., explains.

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. 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 and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9–11)

Today’s big question: who will inherit the kingdom of God?

These verses contain one of the many lists in Scripture of the works of the flesh. Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, specifically told his readers that fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, homosexuals, sodomites, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, and extortioners will not “inherit the kingdom of God.” Many people look at this list and think, “Well, I don’t fall into any of those categories, so I’m okay.”

However, consider that the Lord said something very similar: “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone” (Revelation 21:8).

Many people look at these lists and scoff at God’s Word. Even professing Christians have rejected the clear teaching set forth in these passages. For example, certain denominations have endorsed some of these sinful practices by ordaining homosexual ministers. Many Christians have been guilty of theft, adultery, and fornication, and some pastors refuse to speak out against these practices.

Before getting self-righteous by comparing ourselves to people who have committed such acts, notice how Jesus also mentioned that “all liars” will have their part in the lake of fire. Who among us could possibly claim never to have told a lie? Does that mean we are all destined for the lake of fire instead of inheriting the kingdom of God?

Thankfully, God is merciful and gracious. Verse 11 opens with an amazing statement: “And such were some of you.” Some of the believers in Corinth were former thieves, drunkards, homosexuals, idolaters, etc. What happened to them? God saved them, and they were washed, sanctified, and justified. 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Those who repent of their sins and place their faith in Christ alone will become a new creation. Rather than being slaves to sin, performing the works of the flesh, you can become a slave of righteousness and do the work of the Spirit (Romans 6:19).

So who will inherit the kingdom of God? All who have been washed, sanctified, and “justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

Today’s big idea: all sinners need the cleansing only Christ can offer.

What to pray: thank God for washing you so that you can do the work of the Spirit.


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