Who Will not Inherit the Kingdom of God?

October 22, 2009 at 10:10 am | Posted in Questions for Pastor Glenn, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Dear Pastor Glenn

          At the seniors conference I attended in ______, the pastor who led some of the Bible studies was giving a list of sins that  people who commit them won’t get into heaven.  Homosexuality was named.  My acquaintance from Texas was raised in Baptist circles that taught “once saved, always saved.”  This lady’s brother went through a very ugly divorce, and turned to homosexuality.  In his last days, at his request, the sister prayed, read scripture, and reminisced about their growing up in the church, accepting Christ and being baptized.  At the conference, she was grieving his recent death.  Then to hear this “preacher” say that homosexuals won’t get to heaven devastated her.  I was wondering about scriptures that could encourage this woman in her heart ache.

 Dear ______,

          I’m sorry your friend had to put up with this heretical teaching that so upset her, and I’m appalled that the conference would allow someone to teach things that seem so totally incompatible with their stated doctrine.  I can only assume something was misunderstood somewhere, though there are people out there who believe that way.

          I suppose the idea that homosexuals can never get to heaven comes from 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, which says “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”  You can see the idea there; if you simplify the sentence, it can read “homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

          However, I want you to notice the entire context of that statement.  First, it also says that thieves, greedy people, slanderers and drunkards will not inherit the kingdom either.  I bet those middle two disqualify the preacher who said homosexuals cannot get to heaven!  In fact those statements would disqualify most all of us; I know they disqualify me.  We could add David, Abraham (adultery), Noah (drunkenness), and even Paul (slanderer) to the list of those who won’t make it.  The point is that all of us are sinners and none of us can, on our own merits, inherit God’s kingdom.  It takes God’s grace to give us that kingdom.  This is similar to Jesus’ famous statement about the rich, ‘it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.”  He followed that with these words, “with men this is impossible, but all things are possible with God.”  It takes a miracle of God for anyone to be saved.

          Second, notice the very next verse.  It clearly proves wrong any preacher who says homosexuals can’t go to heaven.  Paul adds for his readers, “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.” (v11)  Notice the past tense.  Some of his readers were homosexuals in the past, but now they are sanctified believers!

            The consistent witness of the New Testament echoes Jesus words, “Every sin and blasphemy of men will be forgiven them.”  The only unforgivable sin is a rejection of Jesus.  You can read my teaching about that here.  All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and are justified freely by his grace.  He will cleanse us from all unrighteousness; he forgave all our transgressions; he gave himself to redeem us from all wickedness; etc.  When a person trusts in Jesus, God counts Jesus’ righteousness on that person’s account.  On God’s ledger, such a person is no longer a homosexual, or a slanderer or greedy person either.  I hope this can encourage your friend.

In the grip of his grace,  Pastor Glenn

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2 Comments »

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  1. Nice answer, Glenn.

  2. Ken, Thanks for your encouraging comment. I know this woman may have misunderstood the statements made, due to the grieving she was going through, and I hope that’s the case. I also hope, as a preacher, I can speak God’s standards about these matters, and still offer God’s grace to all. Speaking the truth in love is one of the hardest balances to achieve.


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