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Romans 8:13-17 & 1 Corinthians 6:9-12 by Robert Dean
Inheritance in scripture can mean inheritance of salvation as a grace gift, or inheritance as a reward for spiritual growth. See how to discern the difference based on context and vocabulary. Paul hammers the Corinthian believers for lives that were rife with sin, addressing them as carnal. Still, it is clear that Paul is writing to believers. Since believers already have the inheritance of salvation, what inheritance is Paul talking about when he says the unrighteous shall not inherit? Clarify this important distinction which is often ignored to incorrectly illustrate salvation by works. What does Paul say about lawsuits brought by Christians? How does he bring eschatology into an answer which is frequently misunderstood?
Series:Romans (2010)
Duration:58 mins 22 secs

Inheriting the Kingdom

Romans 8:13-17

 

 We are in Romans, chapter 8. I just want to remind you of a little thing I did last week. I pointed out some of the rather odd errors of translations that have cropped up in some different Bibles over the years. One was the Unrighteous bible which I mentioned last time from 1 Corinthians 6:9. We're going to look at this passage in depth so this is why I want to remind you. It was called the Unrighteous bible. 

 

It should be translated, "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?" This was a King James Version published by Cambridge Press in 1653. They left out the word "not" so it read, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall inherit the kingdom of God?" Now that wouldn't actually be a surprise because we tend to expect that the unrighteous, because they're unbelievers, won't inherit the kingdom. Now why would that be something Paul would point out to people? This is to the Corinthians and this is a difficult passage. People think that inheriting the kingdom means to be saved. Don't you think people would understand that the unrighteous aren't going to get to heaven? So if Paul meant the unrighteous aren't going to be in heaven, why would he need to say that? 

 

That's because, what he's actually saying here, isn't something so obvious. The unrighteous is not a synonym for unbeliever. It can refer to believers who are walking according to the sin nature. Now as we were looking at our study in Romans 8, we came to this verse in Romans 8: 16 and 17. "The Spirit Himself bears witness [testifies] with our spirit that we are children of God and if children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ..." I pointed out that there's an interpretation that's made in the translation of that verse that impacts how most translations punctuate the verse. Most translations punctuate it without putting a comma after "God" so that "heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ" make it appear to be synonymous terms. In actuality, they're not, as I pointed out last time, because if it were then it makes all children heirs and heirship is qualified by suffering with Christ. That would mean that inheritance would be a work. Inheritance would be based on something you do, suffering for Christ. It wouldn't be based on faith; it wouldn't be a gift. 

 

This was the tenth point I made last time. I went through a whole series of about thirteen or fourteen points on inheritance. The tenth point was understanding the problem that some passages speak of inheritance as a gift. We do receive some inheritance as part of the salvation package the instant we're saved. But there are other passages which speak of inheritance as a reward. A gift is something that is freely given. A reward is for something that is done; a reward is earned. Someone does something well and they receive a reward or a prize. 

 

If it turns out that they have cheated in the contest, then they run the risk of losing the award, which is the case of Lance Armstrong, which is a sad case. 

Interesting, I was listening to someone on the radio the other day who was talking this. I had always wondered who should have gotten the prizes in all those Tour de France contests that he raced in. He won. Why didn't we hear of the second place or third place? Apparently, I may be wrong, I'm just repeating what I heard on the radio, but most of the ones who got second or third place were also doping.  So everybody was doping so nobody wins.

 

So a gift is free but a prize or an award for an inheritance is something that is earned. It's something that is worked for. That's important to pay attention in the passage we're going to look at tonight. So we see these passages like Ephesians 5:5. It says, "For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God." That's an important passage because it adds the concept of Christ or God to the kingdom concept which specifically focuses on the Millennial kingdom. But that would mean that to inherit the kingdom of God the inheritance is based on something you do. 

 

Just three chapters earlier in Ephesians 2:8 and 9, Paul said, "For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast." So in Ephesians 2 he says salvation is a gift and it's free and it's not works. Then we get over to Ephesians 5:5 and inheritance in the kingdom is based on behavior, it's based on character, it's based on something other than grace. So we have a conflict here if inheriting the kingdom is a synonym for entering the kingdom or in other words, entering heaven.

 

Galatians 5:19 is another of those passages that gives us a grocery list of sins, "Now the deeds of the flesh are evident..." The flesh is a term for our sin nature. It's the Greek word sarx [sarc]. Now there are adverbs and adjectives built on that such as sarkikos [sarkikoj], which means fleshly, also translated carnal or carnality. "Now the deeds of the flesh are evident." Then we have this list. It involves fornication, uncleanness, lewdness. The first four are all related to some sort of sexual sins. Then we have sins related to God:  idolatry, sorcery or pharmakeia [farmakeia] which had to do with using various hallucinogenic drugs to create an encounter through some sort of mystical experience with a false god, so that relates to idolatry in a way. 

 

Then we have interpersonal sins, which I want you to pay attention to these; we're going to hit them again in a few minutes. They are hatred, contentions, always bickering and fussing with each other in the context of a congregation. Jealousies. We don't have this in this congregation that I'm aware of but there are some congregations that are so loaded with cliques or groups or individuals that really seek to have some sort of power base in a congregation. I don't know why anybody thinks that having a position of power in a church is something worth having but some people do. That's the idea of contentiousness and jealousies, jockeying for position or power, approbation in a local church.

 

Outbursts of wrath. This isn't just someone who gets irritated or losing his temper on occasion. This is a characteristic where a person is just always reacting in incredible anger, no self-control whatsoever in terms of anger. Selfish ambitions. Dissensions or always stirring up trouble. Heresies, always running after some new doctrine. Envy, which is the counterpart of jealousy. Murder, revelries and the like. Paul says, "...just as I told you beforehand that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God." It doesn't say in the Greek, "those who do such things", that would be the Greek word poieo [poiew], but those who practice prasso [prassw]. 

 

So this refers to a lifestyle of someone who has become a believer. This wouldn't make sense if these people aren't really believers because you expect someone who lives this lifestyle not to go to heaven because they're a sinner. So why would Paul make an issue out of this? It's no big surprise if he's talking about those who practice such things, if he's saying those are unbelievers because we know unbelievers aren't going to go into heaven. So it only makes sense if these activities or sins are being committed by believers. He's not talking about entering into heaven. He's talking about something else, something beyond just entry into heaven. 

 

Colossians 3:24 says if we are obedient and grow to maturity, that's the context, then we will "receive the reward of the inheritance." It's not a gift. Reward is something that's earned through obedience, through serving the Lord Christ in context, in that last phase. So what I concluded was that we see two categories of inheritance in the Scripture: inheriting the kingdom and inheriting salvation. Inheriting salvation is something that's true for every believer and inheriting the kingdom is true for believers who pursue spiritual growth and spiritual maturity and learn to serve the Lord in their life. 

 

This is what Romans 8:17 is talking about, putting the comma after "heirs of God," shows we have two categories of heirship. Heirs of God is equivalent to inheriting salvation and being a "joint-heir or fellow heir with Christ" is related to suffering. Now that doesn't mean martyrdom type of suffering, it means when you're living the spiritual life, when you're making a choice in your life between a) following your sin nature and following the world and b) being obedient to Scripture and walking by the Spirit, we will always encounter suffering. We will always face adversity, unjust suffering because we're going against the grain. We're swimming upstream against the culture. And the more the culture around us, and here in the United States our culture is becoming progressively anti-Christian because the foundation of Christian values, of course, is found in the Old Testament and those emphasize personal responsibility, and volition, emphasize marriage between a man and a woman, emphasize family where you have a father and a mother and children. Those are all being attacked again and again in subtle and overt ways in our culture. So whenever we're trying to counter that and live our life according to the Scripture, we're going to face opposition in the angelic conflict, opposition from the cosmic system. 

 

And that's adversity. It may be small adversity. It may be heavy adversity but it's suffering with Him because we're obedient to Christ and the consequences aren't pleasant. Now the twelfth point I said was that just as Christ inherits the kingdom because of His obedience to the Father; he is resurrected from the dead and because of His loyalty to the Father, He is elevated to kingship in His humanity. Not His deity because His deity is eternal. This is talking about in His humanity when He's resurrected from the dead and ascended to heaven, He is given, on the basis of having lived His life righteously in obedience to God, He's elevated and He's given the scepter of the kingdom as the son of David. 

 

So that's the Hebrews 1:8 and 9 passage, "But of the Son He says, "your throne, O God, is forever and ever, and the righteous scepter is the scepter of His Kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness. Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness above your companions." The scepter of righteousness if given because of behavior, because He lived His life in obedience to God. 

 

That took us to the 13th point, making the distinction between living and reigning with Christ as seen in 2 Timothy 2: 11-13. Reigning is based on endurance. "If we endure, we shall reign with Him." Reigning is based on doing something. Doing something is a work. When we're saved, it's by grace, not works.  So reigning is distinct from the salvation package. 

 

Then the 14th point is that inheriting the kingdom is promised to those who love God. Not all believers love God. Loving God is indicated by obedience to God which means spiritual growth. Those who are disobedient don't love God. I don't care how you feel about God. And the Bible doesn't care about how you feel about God and the Bible because over and over again it says that if you love God, you obey Him. If you disobey Him, that means you don't love God. So it doesn't matter how we feel or how much we say, "Oh, how I love Jesus." If we're not obedient, we're lying. 

 

The 15th point is about Esau. Esau thought that his inheritance wasn't worth much so he was so hungry that he traded a bowl of red lentils for his inheritance. The warning there to believers is, This inheritance issue is so important that you must not squander it in this life by putting your focus or priorities on something that's insignificant and temporal. Esau was saved, I believe, but he lost his inheritance which was related to the Abrahamic blessing. Now all of that is sort of a lead-in to bring us back to where we were when we finished a week ago because I wanted to look at these "inherit the kingdom" passages and I think the best way to do that is by going to 1 Corinthians 6. 

 

There are several other passages. We've already looked at one: Galatians 5:19 and following. There is the one in Ephesians that I've talked about.  There's one at the end of Revelation that we'll also bring in in Revelation 21: 7 and 8. "He who overcomes shall inherit all things and I will be His God and He shall be my son but the cowardly..." So the contrast is between the one who is an overcomer and the one who is cowardly, the one who will inherit all things, and the one who won't inherit all things. It's not a contrast between believer and unbeliever because that was already made at the Great White Throne Judgment at the end of chapter 20 so this is a reward passage. It talks about the cowardly unbelieving abominable murderer, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire. 

 

Most people who read that say that means people who are cowardly, unbelieving murderers, sexually immoral, if they do all those things then they end up in the lake of fire. That is not what that is saying at all.  It's a misunderstanding of that word 'part'. So let's start with 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11."Or do you not know..." See when Paul says that he is assuming that they should know this because he's taught them in the past. He says, "Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?" So right away we see that one of the key words we have to study here and understand is that word 'unrighteous'. 

 

A lot of people look at this passage because of something that's said in the first two verses and they think that unrighteous equals unbeliever. So let's read it that way, "Do you not know that the unbeliever will not inherit the kingdom of God?" Sure, that's kind of obvious, isn't it?  We all know that. Unbelievers aren't going to inherit the kingdom. They're not going to be in heaven. So why would Paul bring this up? That's a blinding flash of the obvious. So that's just one way we see this is reduced to absurdity, a sort of reductio ad absurdum argument there. Paul goes on to say. "Do not be deceived.  Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminates [homosexuals], nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers [extortioners], will inherit the kingdom of God." 

 

Verse 11 says, "Such were some of you, but you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God." Now the way verse 11 is usually read by people is that the congregation, made up mostly of believers, had all previously been fornicators, idolaters, covetous, etc., but now they're all believers. They're washed, sanctified, and justified. But that's not how this should be read because that misses the point. Let's go back and first of all let's address this issue of unrighteous. The way we ought to translate that word 'unrighteous' is based on the first two verses, the context. Remember, if you take the text out of context, you're left with a con job. That's what happens in a lot of theology. You get conned. So we have to keep it in the context. 

 

There's a broad context and a narrow context.  Context is like the real estate law of location, location, location. You really have to pay attention to it. But there's a lot of different context here. We have the context of chapter 6. We have a narrower context of chapter 6, verses 7-11. In chapter 6, verse 7, you have the word 'wrong' which is a form of the same word for unrighteous. It shows up again in verse 8. "Know you, yourselves, do wrong..." You commit adikia [a)dikia], unrighteousness. So it's the same word. That's the more immediate context and you have a different meaning there. You have a broader context, which is the first five chapters of First Corinthians. You have to take all that into account so it's not quite as simple as some people think it is. 

 

Paul starts off with the bickering, fussing, and divisiveness going on within the congregation in Corinth. It's gotten so bad that when someone does something to somebody else, or just does something living their life, like in our culture, somebody else sees it and they just take offense. They don't like the fact that someone else did that so they take offense and they're just going to sue the person. So they were taking litigiousness to a whole new level. They were taking each other to court and suing one another. 

 

This is an important passage because I've heard a lot of Christians talk about the fact we should never sue anyone. That's not what this passage is saying. This passage is talking about believers who know each other who are taking advantage of each other and then suing each other and going to unbelievers for resolution. It's not talking about when someone has legitimately been wronged for any number of reasons by a corporation, or a company, or something of that nature. Those are other kinds of lawsuits. This is not a blanket prohibition of lawsuits. It doesn't say that. 

 

It's talking about believers who know each other, who are taking advantage of each other, rather than going to leaders in the church to resolve personal conflicts. So he says "Dare any one of you, when he has a case against his neighbor, dare to go to law before the unrighteous and not before the saints?" So when we look at that first verse it's obvious that unrighteous is used in context in contrast with the saints. So the saints are clearly believers in the congregation. 

 

So that would indicate that the judges possibly are unrighteous. But there's going to be another meaning to that term. So we have to be careful with it. It looks, though, that that indicates they're unbelievers. Then verse 2 says, "Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world?" See immediately Paul puts this context of answering the question of whether you should sue a person.

 

I don't know if any of y'all have ever asked that question or been in a position where you've been wronged and someone has been negligent and you've suffered financial loss and you have to contemplate whether you should bring a lawsuit. How does Paul answer that question? Now he doesn't do what most people do and deal with the immediate consequences. He goes to eschatology. How many Christians in this world think, "Well, I don't care what happens in the future. I'm not an amil, premil...I'm a pan mil meaning it'll all pan out in the end." They're just intellectually lazy. They don't want to figure out the future, thinking the future will take care of itself. 

 

Paul says, "Wait a minute. We have to understand important things about the future." In verse 2 he asks, "Don't you know that the saints will judge the world?" See, the saints, which is hagios [a(gioj], the sanctified ones. It's not talking about some special class. It's always used for Christians who are positionally set apart to Christ. In the future, believers are going to be in a position to judge the world. They're going to have that oversight. Part of what's happening now and the reason you need to develop wisdom, you need to develop discernment from the Word, is because this is preparing us so that in the future we can fulfill that responsibility because when you die, God is not going to blast you with a bunch of knowledge of doctrine between the time you die and the time you end up at the judgment seat of Christ and you get your responsibility distributed for the future kingdom. 

 

What you have in your soul when you die is the capacity you're going to have at the judgment seat of Christ. So the Lord's going to look at us and say, "Well, you've got about ten percent capacity here so you're going to be a clerk in the lowest justice of the peace court." He's going to look at someone else you didn't really think too much of here on earth and they're going to have always been at Bible class listening to Bible studies, always applying, very quiet, and the Lord's going to say, "You have 95 percent  capacity; you're going to be a Supreme Court judge." That's how it's going to work. So there's going to be these distinctions based upon the capacity and the maturity we develop now. 

 

Paul is saying, "Why are you going to unbelievers for this when believers are going to be judging the world in the future?" That's a much greater responsibility than what these temporal magistrates have. Then he says "If the world is judged by you, are you not worthy to judge the smallest matters?" In other words, why are you doing this when this is your future destiny? So let's look at this word unrighteous. The Greek word is adikos [a)dikoj]. In the plural it's adikoi and it's an adjective that's used as a noun. It stands in the place of a noun.  So we talk about red states and blue states. That's an adjectival description of a state. The state is Texas, which is a red state, Connecticut, which is a blue state. That kind of thing. Those are just adjectival descriptions and we use the adjective in place of the proper noun. This is the same kind of thing here. Unrighteous is an adjective as in unrighteous people or unrighteous men but it just uses the adjective to stand for the class. 

 

((CHART)). Now in the box on the right side I've listed definitions from three of the most respected Greek lexicons that are available. The top one is Thayer. Any dictionary lists meanings in order of their priority of use. So just because the first meaning is one thing doesn't mean it always means that. It means that more than it's used to mean the second category. The second category of meaning is used more than the third category. So you look up things in the dictionary that have 19 meanings, well, the 15th, 16th, 17th meanings are very rare usages. They're used that way now and then but not all the time.

 

I want you to notice the agreement here in these three lexicons. They all list unjust as the first meaning, not unrighteous. Now if we look at the word adikos, the a is a prefix, like in English. It's the negative. The core part of the word is dikos from dike [dikh] meaning righteous. So "a" means un so it means unrighteous or unjust. So the primary usage is of that which is unjust. 

 

We look at this and there does seem to be a contrast in those first two verses in chapter 6. Then it goes on if you read the context in your Bible, "Do you not know that we shall judge angels?  How much more matters of this life?" So by verse 6 we see that brother goes to law against brother and that before unbelievers. Now that's a different word there; it's the word apistos [a)pistoj]. pistos  is the word for believer or belief and its used for the faithful one, or the believer. apistos means an unbeliever. apistoi  is not what's used in the first two verses. Up there, it's adikos, the unrighteous. 

 

Paul seems to expand the issue in verse 6, "…brother goes to law with brother and that before unbelievers." It seems like those unbelievers could be the judges. He doesn't really say the judges are unbelievers. That's an implication and it may be right. But it could be that everyone who is sitting there and watching the judicial procedures are a lot of unbelievers. So "before unbelievers" doesn't necessarily mean "before unbelieving judges". It could mean unbelievers who are watching the whole procedure and the judges that are here are just unjust judges, easily corrupt. 

 

There are some problems with understanding this. The word 'unrighteous' can refer to unrighteous unbelievers and it can refer to unrighteous believers, Christians. So just because the word adikos is used doesn't mean we are justified in jumping to the conclusion that these judges are unbelievers. Now that's a broader immediate context but there's  little bit narrower context and that's down in verses 7, 8, and 9 where we have 'wrong' which has to do also with a form of this word adikos, the adjective. "Now you yourselves do wrong things and cheat and you do these things to your brethren. So doing adikos, activities classified as adikos is an activity of these Corinthians who are clearly believers. They're clearly believers, but they do adikos, which is wrong or unjust actions and they cheat their brethren. Immediately after saying you're doing these unjust things to your brethren, he says, "Do you not know that the unjust [the wrongdoers] will not inherit the kingdom of God?" So verse 8 is a much more focused verse and it's the immediate context for verse 9. Not verse one. 

 

Take a look at verses 9 and 10, you have this whole grocery list of sins: fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, homosexuals, sodomites, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, extortioners. Unfortunately a lot of Christendom has taken this verse and others similar to it, that people who do these things all the time are not going to go into heaven. But it seems to me that would pretty much negate most prison ministries. Most of the prisoners in there have had a lifestyle of these things and some of them were believers. I know, unfortunately, a couple of pastors and a couple of seminary students who ended up committing various felonious crimes and ending up in prison for a length of time. So they were believers but they got out of fellowship, started walking according to the sin nature and ended up in criminality. 

 

Let's consider the question: does unrighteous indicate they're unbelievers?  Well, Paul addresses Corinthians in light of their committing all these acts. Just turn back with me a couple of pages to the first chapter. In the first chapter Paul starts off in verse 3 saying, "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  He uses "our", a plural pronoun. He's addressing the congregation as a whole and he's talking to everybody in the congregation as a group and he's assuming they're all believers and that God is the Father of all of them as believers. From the very beginning he's addressing them and assuming that everyone there in the church at Corinth is a believer. He says in verse 4, "I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge, even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you so that you are not lacking in any gift..." He's assuming they're all believers. 

 

So, not only are they all believers, and not only does he give them compliments in these first nine verses but starting in verse 10, he starts hammering them for all of their extreme sinfulness. It's not that they just committed these sins a little bit here and a little bit there. This was arguably the worst, most sinful, most self-absorbed, most narcissistic, divisive congregation in the ancient world. Look at verse 10. He tells them, "Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you..." They're said to be contentious in verse 11. If you turn over to the next page, they're filled with intellectual arrogance. In 1:29, they were said to be boastful. This runs all through this section with arrogance, intellectual arrogance, which is the whole problem in the second chapter. They're exalting human wisdom as opposed to the wisdom of the word of God. 

 

Look at chapter 3:1-3. He says, "I brethren, I couldn't speak to you as to spiritual men [pneumatikos /pneumatikoj which is from the root pneuma /pneuma meaning spirit] but as to carnal." There's that word built on sarxwhich means of the flesh which I talked about in Galatians 5. They're fleshly, their lifestyle is produced by the sin nature, the flesh. He has to talk to them as those who live according to the sin nature, in essence. Then, in verse 3 he says, "For you are still fleshly..." Are they believers? Sure, he said you all are believers, all those things related to them back in the first chapter. They were enriched in everything by God, in all knowledge, the testimony of Christ was confirmed in them, they were denied no gift; all of that. They're clearly believers but they are disobedient; they are egregiously disobedient. 

 

And he says in verse 3, "for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you..." They're characterized by envy. Envy was listed in Galatians 5:20 as one of the works of the flesh. They're characterized by strife. Strife was also listed in Galatians 5:20 as one of the works of the flesh. 

There are divisions among them. Now that's a textual problem but it's probably there based on the Majority Text and that, too, is listed in Galatians 5:20 as a work of the flesh. So here are these Christians, clearly Christians, and they're characterized by the works of the flesh. They're clearly living like unbelievers and that's why Paul says at the end of verse 3 that they're behaving like mere men.

 

Then he goes from that in the context of 1 Corinthians 1:3 to talking about the fact that they've been trying to align themselves up with different leaders. In verse 12, "Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, "I am of Paul," and "I of Apollos," and "I of Cephas". Now in 3:6 Paul tells them that everybody had a different role in an agricultural analogy. Then he goes to a building analogy and talks about the fact that every one of us builds in our life with various things. We have gold, silver, precious stones and we have wood, hay and straw. He says we all build but once our work is complete it will be manifest at the Day of Judgment. That's verse 13, Each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire." That's the picture here. What's revealed by fire is the gold, silver, precious stones. 

 

The wood, hay, and straw is burned off and so he says in verse 14, "If anyone's work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward." How do you get a reward? You work for a reward. Is salvation a reward? No, salvation is not earned. So you work for a reward. What we do in our Christian life as we grow? We develop capacity for righteous living, we develop a capacity for wise living, and as a result of that, God, the Holy Spirit, produces in us the character of Christ, and that's the gold, silver, and precious stones that is left. It's the Divine good that's produced in our life by the Holy Spirit rather than human good, which is produced by our own morality and our own sin nature. So we're rewarded for what is produced in our life by the Holy Spirit. 

 

If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss. So he's going to lose something. But he doesn't lose salvation because the next clause in verse 15 says, "he will suffer loss but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire." So he may lose everything but he still is saved and enters the kingdom but he doesn't have a reward, which is the inheritance of the kingdom. Then he says, and this is really important, "Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?" Now I talked about this a few lessons back in terms of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Some people take the "you" here as corporate and that the corporate body of believers is the temple of God. But all the way up to this first those plural pronouns have been used to refer to the corporate body of the church to address things that are true for every individual. So it's not talking about the congregation as the temple of God but all of you, as believers, each individual, is a temple of God for the Holy Spirit. 

 

And then there's a warning in verse 17 of divine discipline. "If any man destroys [defiles] the temple of God..." That means corruption. The word there is phtheiro [fqeirw]and it means corruption. It's the same word that's translated destroy in the next phrase. "If anyone defiles or corrupts the temple of God [that's basically carnality] God will phtheiro him. If you phtheiroGod, God's going to phtheiro you. That basically means if you look it up in the lexicon, it means to do physical harm and every single example of that word being used in the New Testament refers to judgment in time, not judgment in eternity, but judgment in time. So if someone disobeys God then God brings discipline in his life, that's phtheiro. It's judgment here and now, not judgment in the future, so it refers to a temporal judgment. 

 

If you look down later on in the chapter, they're boastful again. Verse 21, "Therefore let no one boast in men. For all things belong to you." Skipping down to 4:6, it says they're puffed up. In verse 7, they're boasting and they're full of themselves. Then we get over into 1 Corinthians 5, it says, "It's actually been reported that among you there is sexual immorality among you." That's listed in Galatians 5:19. They're arrogant, they're sexually immoral. Then if you go over to chapter 7 it talks again about sexual immorality. You get into chapter 11 and they're coming to the Lord's table and getting drunk. In chapter 10 they're warned not to give into idolatry in 10:14, "Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry." Idolatry is one of the sins listed in Galatians 5:19. 

 

The point I'm making and the reason you need to understand this is because you're going to run into people again and again and again who are going to say, "Look, 1 Corinthians 6 says that if you do these things, you're not going to go to heaven." But that's not what Paul is saying at all. He's already said the Corinthians are believers and the Corinthians are doing all of these things. This is characterizing their lives. It doesn't mean God approves it. He doesn't but they are disobedient children who get cut off from the inheritance. The inheritance goes to the obedient children who grow to maturity but the inheritance we're talking about isn't eternal life and it isn't eternal judgment. 

 

So Paul is saying here, "Don't you know the unrighteous [the wrongdoers in context] will not inherit the kingdom of God?" He's not talking about unbelievers because it's obvious that unbelievers don't go to heaven. He's talking about believers who continue to live in carnality. Then he lists the type of sins that characterizes them. He says in 1 Corinthians 6:11, "Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God." It's a very clear statement. Every one of them is justified. 

 

Wait a minute. That's not how most people look at it. ((CHART)) So I drew these three charts to help explain this. The first chart in the upper left depicts this as referring to the believers who were there. It's a small group. In contrast "you' then refers to the rest of the church. They weren't really believers. They were just professing believers. This is how some interpret this. This is not correct. It contradicts the second part of the verse, which says: "all of you were sanctified, justified, cleansed." So that doesn't work. 

 

The second way this is sometimes interpreted is that the some is just a rhetorical word that is used and all the people are viewed as positionally saved. 

That's really kind of an odd view and it doesn't make a lot of sense either. The best view is what we see in the right. The "some" is part of a larger group: "some of you." So if I were to pick the people who were on this front two rows here, they would be "some of you." You being the whole group, "some" referring to the five over here who are sitting on the first two rows. That's what I'm depicting here. The "some" is a subset of the larger group. The whole group is made up of believers. But some of them used to be characterized by this behavior. They're not any more but the rest of them are still characterized by that behavior. Does that make sense?

 

Most of this congregation are full of divisiveness and immorality. They're called carnal. Paul has to talk to them like spiritual babies because they're still living like unbelievers although they're believers. So ninety percent of them are spiritual failure. But some of them, ten percent, have seen a change and transformation in their life because they're walking by the Holy Spirit and they're obeying the Word of God. So when Paul says "such were some of you," the some have broken out of the carnal behavior pattern and are growing to maturity. But all of them were saved. So the ones who've broken out are the ones who are moving toward inheritance and the ones who haven't are still trying to go to court and being divisive and causing all kinds of problems. 

 

In Colossians 3:23-24, Paul says, "Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord, rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance for you serve the Lord Christ." So the reward is something given for service. Inheritance is something that is given for service. This connects the idea of reward and inheritance together. A reward is for serving. If you don't serve, no reward. You still get into heaven, but no rewards.

 

Okay, now I think that makes that point clear. I want to go back and look at one thing I mentioned earlier from the Revelation passage that some will have their part in the lake of fire. I want you to turn with me. We've gone over it before. I've covered it numerous times but I just want to remind you in John, chapter 13. Similar circumstance in that there is a group before the Lord Jesus Christ of His disciples. All of them are viewed as saved, but there's one there who's not: Judas Iscariot. Look down to John chapter 13. Look at verse 5. This is a picture of Christ pouring water into a basin to wash their feet and he starts washing the feet with the disciples and toweling them dry. "So he came to Simon Peter. He said to Him, "Lord, do you wash my feet?" Jesus answered and said to him, "What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter." Jesus is saying you'll understand this later because it has a symbolic value. "

 

"Peter said to Him, "Never shall you wash my feet! Jesus answered him, If I do not wash you, you shall have no part with Me." Now that's the same word 'part' used over in Revelation 21. It's a Greek word meros [meroj] which is used in a legal context in a will to indicate a share of the inheritance that would go to somebody. You get this part; that person gets that part, this other person gets this other part. That's the idea but the way we use the word part in English it indicates also a role, such as, "I'm going to try out for this part in the play." So people read this as saying that well Peter won't get a part in the kingdom, or in other words, he won't be there, he won't go to heaven. 

 

That's not what Jesus is saying. Jesus is saying that if you don't let me wash your feet which is a picture of ongoing cleansing through confession and if you don't cleanse your sins through confession, there can't be any spiritual growth; you'll just be spiritually stunted. If you don't confess your sins and have regular cleaning of sin, then you won't have an inheritance in the kingdom. You won't have a share in the inheritance. Peter understood that. He understood that and said, "Lord, don't just wash my feet. Give me a complete bath." Put me in the shower. 

 

Then Jesus replied in verse 10, "He, who is bathed, [this word indicates a complete total bath from the word louo [louw] versus the word nipto [niptw] which means to partially cleanse his feet] and you all are clean, but not all of you." And then John tells us that what Jesus meant by that is that one of them in verse 11, "For He knew the one who was betraying Him." 

 

So having understood that, that 'part' means a share of the inheritance, when we go to that passage in Revelation 21 where we read this statement related to the future judgment, the future role of believers in the eternal state, "He who overcomes [the one who has earned the victor's wreath] will inherit these things. I will be His God and He will be My son. But for the cowardly unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their meros, their part, their share, their inheritance will be in the lake that burns with fire." 

 

Its not that they go to the lake of fire but that these rewards that would have been given them, their share of the inheritance is thrown into the lake of fire where it's destroyed. Not them. It's their inheritance that's destroyed. They go in to heaven, yet as through fire, just like at the judgment seat of Christ. So those who fail to be victors lose something. They lose their rewards and they're destroyed in the lake of fire but those who are victors, those who are overcomers, they will have rewards at the judgment seat of Christ and their maturity determines their role, their responsibility, in the eternal kingdom. 

 

When we take that back to Romans 8, just to wrap this up, the heirs of God are all believers but the joint-heirs with Christ are those who persevere and endure through suffering so they will be glorified together with Christ in the kingdom. Now Romans 8:18 is going to introduce the topic of suffering and we'll come back and get into that next time.