Don’t Sell Short the Gospel

Here is a passage of Scripture that we’ve no doubt heard:

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, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)

The list is interesting. Thieves and adulterers. Greedy people and idolaters. Drunkards and homosexuals. I don’t think Paul is trying to equate any of these sins with each other– other than the fact that they are sins and they prevent access into God’s kingdom. And since homosexuality seems to be the popular topic these days, let me clarify. When looking at the issue of homosexuality being a sin, Paul is not just talking about underage male prostitutes as some liberals attempt to portray. The Greek term used here refers explicitly to the “active” and “passive” roles in the homosexual relationship. Men having sex with men is definitely sinful.

But if that’s all we preach, we are selling short the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Consider the very next sentence:

And such were some of you. (1 Cor. 6:11a)

Paul was writing to Christians who used to be thieves, adulterers, greedy-filled, idolaters, drunkards, and yes even homosexuals. Gays and lesbians. It’s pretty non-politically correct because society today would have us believe that you’re born a certain way and we all just have to accept that as who we are.

God doesn’t accept that. He changes it. Paul continues:

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. 6:11b)

New Life

Paul calls Christians a “new creation” in 2 Cor. 5:17. Image courtesy of Jo Christian Oterhals

Who caused these former thieves, drunkards, and gays to be changed? It’s not a 12-step program or moralism. These believers were washed, sanctified, and justified by the Holy Spirit.

It’s easy to hammer folks with all of the sins that condemn us to hell. But let’s not sell short the Gospel. Share the story of redemption and restoration. It’s the best part.

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10 Comments

  1. Claire: My I suggest, that, by the knowledge of “who” Jesus is we are given all things that pertain to life and godliness and is how grace and peace come…and is how change comes. Virtually all we need in life comes from a greater knowledge of Jesus. Too often we focus on the sin, instead of the Savior. I’m straight but I have gay friends. They know I’m a Christian but they just think I’m really tolerant…which I am…but because I love them. Their sin does not matter to me — their understanding a loving Savior does.

    *C.Shaw, I have to say, I’ve never heard this Scripture put this way before and I really dig it. It makes sense to me. I appreciate you sharing this.

    Reply
  2. I love this! Thank you for writing this! I completely agree. This is exactly what I have come to understand in my struggle with homosexuality, and then in my transformation into righteousness. 🙂 This is totally spot on.

    Reply
  3. All that would seem wonderful, but for the ex-gay movement. You are aware, I take it, of its history of failure, suicide, misery, oppression, lies, self-deceit, and in the end, a few recovering ex-ex-gays? God does change us, but not in the ways your interpretation of the passage might promise.

    Reply
    • You don’t think the Holy Spirit can transform a true believer? I’m not saying sexual desires go away. No one argues that. I’m saying that the born again believer now has the ability to not be enslaved to sin. Romans chapter 8 makes that abundantly clear.

      Reply
      • So why all the suffering? After all that effort, prayer, and submission, does God just turn his back on ex-gays who lapse? What do you think happens, there?

        Reply
        • The suffering issue is a difficult question. When a person is truly converted, there is a war between the flesh and the spirit. Even the great Apostle Paul (a former murderer) confessed this war within his soul in Romans chapter 7: “For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.”

          And later on in the same chapter he says: “I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

          These words no doubt may not fully satisfy the suffering question. But the whole thing shows just how powerful and condemning sin is and how desperate we are for God to not only save us, but to sustain us as well.

          Reply
          • Good theoretical Biblical answer.

            But what about the human beings?

          • It’s not theoretical. Paul suffered arguably as much as anyone:

            “…far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.” (2 Cor. 11:23-28)

            Don’t you think Paul has some credibility on the suffering issue?

          • Michael Glatze, a former gay rights activist, had his heart changed by the Gospel. Like the title of my article suggests, we can’t sell the Gospel short on its power to transform. http://www.wnd.com/2007/07/42385/

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