1 Corinthians 6:7-11 NKJV
Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another. Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated? No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and you do these things to your brethren! 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. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.
What’s interesting about this passage is that Paul is talking about two believers bringing each other to court and he immediately (without change of even paragraph) goes into this seeming tirade about how the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God. In Paul’s mind, the two are somehow connected, are somehow related.
The transition sentence is: “No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and you do these things to your brethren!” This statement is in contrast to: “Why do you nor rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated?”
The fact is that, in most disagreements, there are two sides where each side is both somewhat wrong and somewhat right. And while we—being on one side—may believe that we are entirely in the right, often conflict comes out of two things: (1) miscommunications, and (2) refusals to give in, even an iota. Paul calls the refusal to give in, the refusal to accept a “wrong” rather than fight with a brethren “unrighteous.” In other words, when we fight with other believers—even if our “position” is right—it places us in the wrong. “Why do you not rather accept wrong?” Paul is pretty clear.
Then he gets really down and dirty. Believers who fight with other believers are included in his list of the “unrighteous:” fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, homosexuals, sodomites, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, extortioners. This is a familiar list, one that Paul has used previously. What is interesting about the list is that there are things that are very obviously not part of whom we are as Christians . . . and then . . . they are things that are very much part of who many of us are. Do we not covet (want that which we don’t have)? Do we not extort (try to manipulate others into the position we want them to have)? Paul is telling us that there can be a very fine line between being a Christian who follows the Lord regardless, and being someone who only things they are a believer.
The unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God.
I’ve been learning, through a very difficult personal lesson, that God is much more concerned about the people in our lives (and how we relate to them) than He is about the tasks that we accomplish. Think about it! He doesn’t need us at all to do anything for Him; He is fully able to do everything He desires. But He has charged us with the duty to love others, particularly those within the Church: “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35 NKJ). How we relate to each other is much more important to the Father than what we accomplish in this life.