Understanding difficult Bible verses


By the Rev. Harry Peterson - Your pastor speaks



One of the most difficult verses in the Bible, not to understand, but to accept, is 1 Corithians 6:9-10. I don’t think it could be more politically incorrect! Yet, it is the Scripture and it is truth. “9 Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves.

Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, 10 or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.” Now, the Kingdom of God is more than just getting to heaven. It is salvation and eternal life and pardon and grace. So that is a very tough verse to comprehend, in a culture that embrace and promote and celebrate these very things, the seriousness of those verses.

Yet, I pastor a church that those people attend and worship at. A church where people that have done and lived in ways that were contrary to God’s design and purpose and plan. We attend church together. The Bible never tells us we’ll be able to clean ourselves up. The Bible doesn’t say if you do certain things then you’ll be worthy of salvation. People confuse the 10 commandments as a way of salvation. But that was never God’s intent to save people.

In fact, God gave those commandments to people He has already freed and delivered and made His own. It was a way He said, “As My people, this is how you are to live.” Not, “Live like this and then you’ll be My people.” Big difference. Verse 11 is great news to those of us found in verses 9 & 10. “11 Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” It doesn’t say, “wash yourself up.”

It doesn’t say, “sanctify yourself.” Or “justify yourself”. It says, “11 Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” Now how great of news is that? That makes Ephesian Chapter 2 so great. “1 Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. 2 You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world.[a] He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. 3 All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.

4 But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, 5 that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) 6 For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. 7 So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.

8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

Paul tells us that we are all equal. All sons of disobedience. Your upbringing doesn’t matter, your gender, none of that matters. We were all dead in sin. But He raised us up. God, in His kindness, offers us amazing grace. He offered mercy. well, now that makes sense that people WANT to change. They want to leave behind past sins and the things God has called “death” to our very souls. It about there being a better way. And Who better to let us know the better way than the Life-Giver and Life-Sustainer of Creation, God Himself.

To think that God doesn’t not withhold His love because of what we have done. How we have lived in the past. Those who do wrong. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or prostitute themselves or are involved in sexual perversion, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive to others, or cheat people. God offers mercy and grace and a better way.

How good is God? A person dead can be brought to life! A person alive to way of God and living to honor Him, not out far, out of love, because He loved us first. He sent His Son to bear the punishment we all deserve for living in sin. Ignoring the Life Giver and Life Sustainer. Tasting and touching and corrupting His goodness. Making drinking, drunkeness, making sex, perversion, allowing anger to become murder, desire turned to greed and admiring into lust. The list doesn’t seem to end of how we have come against God. “And such were some of you.” When you realize what Christ has done on our behalf.

To allow Jesus to bear God’s wrath against sin upon Himself so that justice was met and grace and mercy could be freely offered to sinners. What an amazing God and what an amazing grace. I hope you have found that for your life. There is a better way. One Way. Christ Jesus.

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By the Rev. Harry Peterson

Your pastor speaks

The writer is the pastor of the Cornerstone Assembly of God in Sidney.

The writer is the pastor of the Cornerstone Assembly of God in Sidney.