It’s A Long List

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. 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. (1 Corinthians 6:9–11, NIV 1984).

My Musings – “A Texas baptist church has caused outrage after a pastor said gay people should be ‘lined up against the wall and shot in the back of the head.'” (Minyvonne Burke, http://www.NBCNews.com).

I have not taken the time to research this news article. I think we all know enough about the media these days that it is rarely absent of bias, whether coming from the left or the right. But for the sake of argument, let’s assume the quote is accurate and not taken out of context, as it may very well be. The pastor is reported to have quoted several passages of Scripture on homosexuality. The above text was likely one of them. Again, I have not verified this, but it is representative of the texts he might have chosen. I chose this text for two specific reasons. First, homosexuality (actually homosexual offenders) is not the sole item on the list. Things as “benign” as greed are included. Second, speaking to believers, Paul states, “that is what some of you were.” Both points are instructive.

My purpose in this post is not to exclaim “aha! homosexuality is on this list!” Or “well, ‘homosexual offender’ means something entirely different than what we have been taught.” I have my belief and you have yours. Nothing I say would likely change your belief, and nothing you might say in reply would likely change mine. This issue has become so divisive that arguing the point would be counterproductive. We all will stand or fall for our own beliefs.

My point is “that [whatever your ‘that’ happens to be] is what some of you were.” Some were “this that” and some were “another that.” But we all (me included) have a “that.” Likely more than a few. And the above list is not exhaustive. My sins are no better or worse than yours, just because they are different than yours. Being guilty of a single “benign” sin is no different than being guilty of multiple “heinous” sins. That is, if you believe James. “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” (James 2:10, NIV 1984). None of the “some” were “lined up against the wall and shot in the back of the head.” Or stoned to death.

We, the Body of Christ, have not been commissioned as “crusaders” of judgment. We have been commissioned as “ambassadors” of grace. Heralds of the “good news” to those (like we once were) that stand condemned already. To those who refuse to be “washed…sanctified…justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God,” Christ will be their righteous judge. Not us. We are neither judge, juror nor executioner. We are witnesses.

I make no excuse for my sins or anyone else’s. If there was an excuse, Christ would not have had to go to the cross. Neither do I judge my sins or anyone else’s. Simply because Christ did go to the cross. Therefore, I am not “outraged” when someone calls sin, sin. I am “outraged” when recipients of God’s grace do not offer that same degree of grace to other sinners. Whatever their sins may be.

My Advice“When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.’” (John 8:6–7, NIV 1984). The woman caught in adultery. A sin considered so egregious that God compares Israel’s unfaithfulness to Him to it. But the severity of the sin is not the point of the story. The point is no one was “worthy” to be the first to cast that stone. And none of us are worthy to put a first “shot in the back of [anyone’s] head.”

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