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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Do All Believers "Inherit the Kingdom?"

We've recently dipped our toes into the subject of rewards, prizes and crowns. In previous studies, we had looked at the different hopes in scripture. Some are hoping for the promised kingdom in the land, some are looking for the hope of the New Jerusalem, and some look for the hope which is reserved in the far above the heavens.

Without going back over all these hopes, let's just look at the idea of "inheriting" the kingdom. This idea is connected with the idea of rewards. That is, it is something earned.

In John, the Lord lays out the wide open offer of resurrection life to "whosoever" will believe (John 3:16; 5:24; etc.). There he speaks of those given the authority to become the "children" of God. Unfortunately, the KJV translates "téknon" as "sons." Better translations use "children." (Compare John 11:52)

Conversely, in Galatians 3:26 "huiós" is translated as "children" (KJV) when "sons" should be used. As those who inherit are sons, but not all children are sons.

So, just as we saw that some will be "ashamed" at the Judgment Seat of Christ (suffering loss) and some "ashamed" at his coming, some will not inherit their promise.

Consider:

"Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God."
-1 Cor 6:9-10

The context is clearly believers. 1 Corinthians addresses many sins of beloved saints. The book is full of correction and discipline and warnings. He is addressing those separated by faith.

"I am writing to God’s church in Corinth, to you who have been called by God to be his own holy people. He made you holy by means of Christ Jesus, just as he did for all people everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours."-1 Cor 1:2

The warning in chapter 6 is not that one can lose a free gift. That's impossible. But in that age, with the promise of the Kingdom of God in view (Acts 1:6; 26:7; etc.). Those who follow the flesh will not inherit the kingdom. Again, this is not a loss of free resurrection life.

John 3:16 stands.

I don't have the space to post the entire context, but let's look at couple of things leading to verses 9 and 10:

v.5 I say this to your shame...
v.8 But you yourselves wrong and defraud...

Followed by, "Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?"

The warning is for those believers in that age. They can live in shame. They can do wrong and defraud other believers. They can be unrighteous.

Many fall back into their old lifestyles ("such were some of you, but you were washed...") and will suffer loss and be ashamed as we have seen. The warning is not to fall back into an old life. Otherwise it makes no sense. Warn UNBELIEVERS about not inheriting the kingdom then write "such were some of YOU?" It must be the same group.

This is why the great Apostle Paul models:

"Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified."
-1 Cor 9:26-27

Is Paul worried about losing the free gift? Never! He is concerned with being "disqualified" (Gk: adókimos = worthless). Again, going on to PERFECTION (maturity) versus falling back into PERDITION (waste).

The focus of these studies is twofold: 
  1. Provide a backdrop as we enter into the parables of Matthew 25 and 
  2. Encourage us to love God, seek his will, build each other up, encourage unto good works... that we might find reward.

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