Tuesday, August 5, 2014

No Liars In Heaven

Biblegems #196
Question: When the Bible says that liars will not be able to enter the Kingdom of heaven does that mean any one who ever lies? And what about those Bible characters that lied with God’s approval?

I am guessing the question is based from memory on the following verses:
1Cor. 6:9-10  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.

While lying, per-se, in not mentioned in this list, it certainly could be. After all, Jesus equated lying with the “native language” of the devil:
         John 8:44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

But the real point of the question is this: Are there certain behaviors, such as lying, that can keep a person out of heaven—even if that particular sin is only committed once? The answer is “no,” that is not what 1 Corinthians 6 teaches.

Paul’s statement in 1Corinthians 6:9-10 is “the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God.” The list that follows provides examples of who would be classified in God’s eyes as “wicked.” That list is describing a life-style, a person’s chosen life-path. The “sexually immoral” describes those who have adopted this behavior as a way of life. The same is true of idolaters, adulterers, and the rest in this list.

These behaviors describe people who have adopted a “wicked” (lit., “unrighteous” or “unjust”) lifestyle. It is who they are and what they have chosen to be, not simply an act they commit. This “wicked” or “unrighteous” behavior pattern carries with it a powerful “truth suppressant.” By repeating these behaviors people increasingly suppress the truth about God that is within all of us from birth (Rom. 2:15) and evident all around us in creation (Rom. 1:18-19). The sad reality is that all humanity is guilty of this wickedness in one form or another. The good news is that Jesus took upon Himself the punishment we deserved:
         1Pet. 3:18a For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.

When a person accepts by faith what Jesus has done on his or her behalf God takes the judgment of “wicked” away, replacing it with a judgment of “righteous.”
         Rom. 4:5 However, to the man who…trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.

The statement in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 serves as a reminder to believers in Jesus to not engage in behaviors that belong to the old, “wicked” life Jesus saved us from. That old life was the path of sin, judgment and death, whereas the new life in Christ is the path of a clean conscience and the Kingdom of God.

Which path are you on?

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