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1 Corinthians 6:9

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

The unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom - The unrighteous, αδικοι, those who act contrary to right, cannot inherit, for the inheritance is by right. He who is not a child of God has no right to the family inheritance, for that inheritance is for the children. If children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ, Romans 8:17. There are here ten classes of transgressors which the apostle excludes from the kingdom of God; and any man who is guilty of any one of the evils mentioned above is thereby excluded from this kingdom, whether it imply the Church of Christ here below, or the state of glory hereafter.

Several of the evils here enumerated will not bear to be particularly explained; they are, however, sufficiently plain of themselves, and show us what abominations were commonly practised among the Corinthians.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Know ye not … - The apostle introduces the declaration in this verse to show the evil of their course, and especially of the injustice which they did one to another, and their attempt to enforce and maintain the evil by an appeal to the pagan tribunals. He assures them, therefore, that the unjust could not be saved.

The unrighteous - The unjust ἄδικοι adikoi- such as he had just mentioned - they who did injustice to others, and attempted to do it under the sanction of the courts.

Shall not inherit - Shall not possess; shall not enter into. The kingdom of heaven is often represented as an “inheritance;” Matthew 19:29; Matthew 25:34; Mark 10:17; Luke 10:25; Luke 18:18; 1 Corinthians 15:50; Ephesians 1:11, Ephesians 1:14; Ephesians 5:5.

The kingdom of God - Cannot be saved; cannot enter into heaven; see the note at Matthew 3:2. This may refer either to the kingdom of God in heaven; or to the church on earth - most probably the former. But the sense is the same essentially, whichever is meant. The man who is not fit to enter into the one is not fit to enter into the other. The man who is fit to enter the kingdom of God on earth, shall also enter into that in heaven.

Be not deceived - A most important direction to be given to all. It implies:

(1) That they were in danger of being deceived:

(a)Their own hearts might have deceived them.

(b)They might be deceived by their false opinions on these subjects.

(c)They might be in danger of being deceived by their leaders, who perhaps held the opinion that some of the persons who practiced these things could be saved.

(2) it implies, that there was “no necessity” of their being deceived. They might know the truth. They might easily understand these matters. It might be plain to them that those who indulged in these things could not be saved.

(3) it implies that it was of high importance that they should not be deceived. For:

(a)The soul is of infinite value.

(b)To lose heaven - to be disappointed in regard to that, will be a tremendous loss.

(c)To inherit hell and its woes will be a tremendous curse. O how anxious should all be that they he not deceived, and that while they hope for life they do not sink down to everlasting death!

Neither fornicators - See Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:4-5; Hebrews 12:14; Hebrews 13:4. See the note at Romans 1:29.

Nor effeminate - μαλακοὶ malakoiThis word occurs in Matthew 11:8, and Luke 7:25, where it is applied to clothing, and translated “soft raiment;” that is, the light, thin garments worn by the rich and great. It occurs no where else in the New Testament except here. Applied to morals, as it is here, it denotes those who give themselves up to a soft, luxurious, and indolent way of living; who make self-indulgence the grand object of life; who can endure no hardship, and practice no self-denial in the cause of duty and of God. The word is applied in the classic writers to the Cinaedi, the Pathics, or Catamites; those who are given up to wantonness and sensual pleasures, or who are kept to be prostituted to others. Diog. Laer. Luke 7:5, Luke 7:4. Xenoph. Mem. Luke 3:7. 1. Ovid Fast. 4:342. The connection here seems to demand such an interpretation, as it occurs in the description of vices of the same class - sensual and corrupt indulgences - It is well known that this vice was common among the Greeks - and particularly prevailed at Corinth.

Abusers of themselves with mankind - ἀρσενοκοῖτοι arsenokoitoiPaederastae or Sodomites. Those who indulged in a vice that was common among all the pagan; see the notes at Romans 1:27.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The Corinthians are warned against many great evils, of which they had formerly been guilty. There is much force in these inquiries, when we consider that they were addressed to a people puffed up with a fancy of their being above others in wisdom and knowledge. All unrighteousness is sin; all reigning sin, nay, every actual sin, committed with design, and not repented of, shuts out of the kingdom of heaven. Be not deceived. Men are very much inclined to flatter themselves that they may live in sin, yet die in Christ, and go to heaven. But we cannot hope to sow to the flesh, and reap everlasting life. They are reminded what a change the gospel and grace of God had made in them. The blood of Christ, and the washing of regeneration, can take away all guilt. Our justification is owing to the suffering and merit of Christ; our sanctification to the working of the Holy Spirit; but both go together. All who are made righteous in the sight of God, are made holy by the grace of God.
Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 304-7

Another grave evil that had arisen in the church was that of brethren going to law against one another. Abundant provision had been made for the settlement of difficulties among believers. Christ Himself had given plain instruction as to how such matters were to be adjusted. “If thy brother shall trespass against thee,” the Saviour had counseled, “go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 18:15-18. AA 304.1

To the Corinthian believers who had lost sight of this plain counsel, Paul wrote in no uncertain terms of admonition and rebuke. “Dare any of you,” he asked, “having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren? But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers. Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? ... Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren. Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?” AA 304.2

Satan is constantly seeking to introduce distrust, alienation, and malice among God's people. We shall often be tempted to feel that our rights are invaded, even when there is no real cause for such feelings. Those whose love for self is stronger than their love for Christ and His cause will place their own interests first and will resort to almost any expedient to guard and maintain them. Even many who appear to be conscientious Christians are hindered by pride and self-esteem from going privately to those whom they think in error, that they may talk with them in the spirit of Christ and pray together for one another. When they think themselves injured by their brethren, some will even go to law instead of following the Saviour's rule. AA 305.1

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Ellen G. White
The Great Controversy, 539

The course pursued by this one false teacher illustrates that of many others. A few words of Scripture are separated from the context, which would in many cases show their meaning to be exactly opposite to the interpretation put upon them; and such disjointed passages are perverted and used in proof of doctrines that have no foundation in the word of God. The testimony cited as evidence that the drunken Amnon is in heaven is a mere inference directly contradicted by the plain and positive statement of the Scriptures that no drunkard shall inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 6:10. It is thus that doubters, unbelievers, and skeptics turn the truth into a lie. And multitudes have been deceived by their sophistry and rocked to sleep in the cradle of carnal security. GC 539.1

If it were true that the souls of all men passed directly to heaven at the hour of dissolution, then we might well covet death rather than life. Many have been led by this belief to put an end to their existence. When overwhelmed with trouble, perplexity, and disappointment, it seems an easy thing to break the brittle thread of life and soar away into the bliss of the eternal world. GC 539.2

God has given in His word decisive evidence that He will punish the transgressors of His law. Those who flatter themselves that He is too merciful to execute justice upon the sinner, have only to look to the cross of Calvary. The death of the spotless Son of God testifies that “the wages of sin is death,” that every violation of God's law must receive its just retribution. Christ the sinless became sin for man. He bore the guilt of transgression, and the hiding of His Father's face, until His heart was broken and His life crushed out. All this sacrifice was made that sinners might be redeemed. In no other way could man be freed from the penalty of sin. And every soul that refuses to become a partaker of the atonement provided at such a cost must bear in his own person the guilt and punishment of transgression. GC 539.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, 30

All this weight of woe and accumulated suffering can be traced to the indulgence of appetite and passion. Luxurious living and the use of wine corrupt the blood, inflame the passions, and produce diseases of every kind. But the evil does not end here. Parents leave maladies as a legacy to their children. As a rule, every intemperate man who rears children transmits his inclinations and evil tendencies to his offspring; he gives them disease from his own inflamed and corrupted blood. Licentiousness, disease, and imbecility are transmitted as an inheritance of woe from father to son and from generation to generation, and this brings anguish and suffering into the world, and is no less than a repetition of the fall of man. 4T 30.1

A continual transgression of nature's laws is a continual transgression of the law of God. The present weight of suffering and anguish which we see everywhere, the present deformity, decrepitude, disease, and imbecility now flooding the world, make it, in comparison to what it might be and what God designed it should be, a lazar house; and the present generation are feeble in mental, moral, and physical power. All this misery has accumulated from generation to generation because fallen man will break the law of God. Sins of the greatest magnitude are committed through the indulgence of perverted appetite. 4T 30.2

The taste created for the disgusting, filthy poison, tobacco, leads to the desire for stronger stimulants; as liquor, which is taken on one plea or another for some imaginary infirmity or to prevent some possible disease. Thus an unnatural appetite is created for these hurtful and exciting stimulants; and this appetite has strengthened until the increase of intemperance in this generation is alarming. Beverage-loving, liquor-drinking men may be seen everywhere. Their intellect is enfeebled, their moral powers are weakened, their sensibilities are benumbed, and the claims of God and heaven are not realized, eternal things are not appreciated. The Bible declares that no drunkard shall inherit the kingdom of God. 4T 30.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 431

The truth, when received into the heart, sanctifies the receiver; kept apart from the life and practice, it is dead and useless to the receiver. How can you, oh, how can you grieve your Redeemer? How can you dishonor Him before His angels and before men? How can you grieve the Holy Spirit of God? How can you crucify the Lord of glory afresh, and put Him to open shame? How can you give occasion for Satan and his angels to exult and triumph over those who claim to be loyal subjects of Jesus Christ? TM 431.1

All fornicators will be outside the City of God. Already God's angels are at work in judgment, and the Spirit of God is gradually leaving the world. The triumph of the church is very near, the reward to be bestowed is almost within our reach, and yet iniquity is found among those who claim to have the full blaze of heaven's light. TM 431.2

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Ellen G. White
Faith and Works, 15.1

Said the apostle Paul, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? ... And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). The absence of devotion, piety, and sanctification of the outer man comes through denying Jesus Christ our righteousness. The love of God needs to be constantly cultivated.... FW 15.1

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