Be not Deceived (1 Cor 6:9-11)

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall 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, AV)

When I was in fourth or fifth grade, I cannot remember now, we were to participate in a talent show at our school. All the kids were to participate by dressing up in costume, stand on the stage in the auditorium, and perform their act. Some of the kids sang, some danced, some read poetry and some played an instrument. However, I had no idea what I was going to do.

One of the things I was interested in was magic. My parents had purchased a kids magic set for me one Christmas and I enjoyed demonstrating these for my parents and their friends. My mother thought that this could be a good talent for me at the show. So, I decided to develop a good trick or two for the show. Actually, I got a book out of the school library that had some things I could do on a stage. So, I decided to saw a woman in half. Just kidding. I had a simple trick of throwing a glass of water into the audience that would disappear as I threw it. When I did this trick, the kids in the front of the auditorium all ducked for cover. It was a trick, a deception. I did not throw a glass at all, but they thought I did.

Paul here warns the church at Corinth about being deceived in regards to “the unrighteous.” The church at Corinth had many issues. The influences of pagan culture had infiltrated the church and they had become blasé towards this. They had become deceived in regards to the severity of sin. Here Paul tells them not to be deceived and lists out a series of things that characterize a person who is unsaved.

Now, we must understand two things. First, Paul is not listing characteristics that would cause one to lose their salvation but those that would characterize one who is not saved. There is a vital distinction.

This leads us to the second thing we must understand. It is that while Christians still do sin, sin will not characterize their lives. True believers will on occasion stumble but they do not constantly stagger around. Paul lists what characterizes a true believer in this last verse, “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.” What characterizes a believer is the transformed life, believers are new creations (2 Cor 5:17). They are now characterized by their love of God and the pursuit of His righteousness.

The problem is that a subtle deception is entering professing Christendom today. It is the same one of which Paul warned the church at Corinth. It is fueled by the cultural mores of our society. It is digested as the church turns a blind eye to sin in its midst and fails to stand on God’s biblical standard for moral conduct. In time the congregation may become deceived by this simple slight of hand. While it is deadly for the church, it is possible to avoid the deception.

To avoid the deadly deception, first understand that the devil is the deceiver (John 8:44). His goal is to get us from trusting God and the Scripture. To avoid falling for the devil’s evil schemes we must understand the word of God and stand firm on its truths. We cannot allow the culture to adjust the way we think about God’ immutable standard of holiness and truth.

Published by Steve Hankins, Th.D.

Steve has had extensive military, business and ministry experience. He has served for over 16 years in full time vocational ministry and many years of part time ministry in churches. He has led churches through start-up and recasting of vision. Now He resides on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where he is working to help smaller churches and believers to renew their hearts and regain the joy of the Lord.

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