God Forgives the Most Unrighteous

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All Alike Stand Condemned

The Bible says:

(9) …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, (10) nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

(11) 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 Cor. 6:9-11 ESV)

Some of the offences listed in this passage of God’s Word are frequently considered to be less blameworthy in the sight of men and less culpable in the sight of God than others. However, although there are degrees of sin and of sinful behaviour, we must not lose sight of the fact that none of the offenders mentioned above will inherit the kingdom of God. The ‘less serious’ and the ‘most serious’ alike will be excluded from that kingdom.

In the sight of a holy, righteous and just God — a God who will not countenance sin or evil in any form — all alike stand condemned. Those who are greedy or covetous lie under the same sentence of condemnation and exclusion from God’s kingdom as those who are sexually immoral or who are materialistic idolaters. Slanderers or malicious gossips stand condemned and excluded together with swindlers and thieves. In God’s eyes, all alike are unrighteous — and the impenitently unrighteous are deserving of eternal punishment.

All Alike Can Be Forgiven

Is there, then, no hope of salvation for anyone who has committed any of the above sins? Are all equally lost — without God, and without hope?

It must be conceded that all equally lie under the power or dominion of sin. As such, all together stand condemned and excluded from any share in God’s kingdom. It is denied, however, that the nature of their sin is such that it cannot be forgiven. If that were so, then no-one could be saved; for we all were guilty. We were guilty in thought — if not in word or deed. We were guilty by inclination and desire — if not by habit and practice. There is, therefore, no sin listed above which cannot be forgiven.

If extortioners, cheats and swindlers can be forgiven (and, by the grace of God, many have been), so also can the sexually impure or immoral be forgiven — by the same grace of God. If thieves and revilers can be forgiven (and, by the grace of God, many have been), so also can slanderers or malicious gossips be forgiven — by the like grace of God. And if the greedy or covetous can be forgiven (and, by the grace of God, many have been), so also can drunkards and those who practice homosexual lifestyles be forgiven — by the identical grace of God.

The Scripture says:

For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Rom. 10:13 ESV; cf. Joel 2:32)

This verse does not say that they might be saved. It asserts that they will be saved.

Such is God’s love for fallen and sinful men and women that everyone who comes to Christ in true godly repentance and genuine faith will be washed absolutely clean from all iniquity in the precious blood of the Lamb — the sinless Son of God. Their sins will be blotted out forever. Never again will God call these offences to his remembrance. For a perfect atonement has  been made already — once and for all. The righteous demands of God’s justice have been fully and forever satisfied by the atoning death of his Son on the sinner’s behalf, and by the Lord’s subsequent and triumphant resurrection.

It follows, however, that those whom God has forgiven by his grace cannot continue to pursue their former sinful lifestyles. God has created them anew in Christ Jesus to pursue righteousness and holiness of life, and to live their new lives in Christ Jesus for his glory.

[More to follow]

Cat: Forgiveness / D2 pt.1 / 1995-2011 Gordon Lyons


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