“…envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God”
that those who practice such things
Three ideas in the word “practice” show that people who commit the sins of verses 19-20 regularly are carnal Christians. First, it is important to take note of the word “practice.” It is one thing to “do” the sins of verses 20 and 21, and it is another thing to “practice” them. Another Greek term (poiew) denotes an act complete in itself, whereas the word “practice” in this verse connotes more of a protracted habit. The one term means to accomplish or do something, and the other deals with the process leading to the accomplishment (John 3:20,21; Romans 2:3).
Second, the idea of the word “practice” is not always the New Testament use of this term, but it is the predominant use of it. It is the unrestrained practice that characterizes a person for who he truly is – a carnal believer. This list of sins does not characterize the Spirit-filled believer as a way of life.
Third, the tense of “practice” is durative. Those who habitually and repeatedly practice the list of sins in verses 20 and 21 as a course of conduct will not inherit rewards in the Millennial Kingdom. The Spirit-filled Christ produces the fruit of the Spirit (5:22-23), and God will reward him for that fruit.
We can identify carnal Christians by their ongoing character; it is presumptive evidence of who they are.
There are times when we cannot distinguish between a believer and an unbeliever. In this case, the believer is a carnal Christian, controlled by his sin capacity. He has not allowed himself to be controlled by the Holy Spirit. Christians can “practice” the sins of the flesh (5:19-21).
“…lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and I shall mourn for many who have sinned before and have not repented of the uncleanness, fornication, and lewdness which they have practiced” (2 Corinthians 12:21 ).
The lost crowd would not be happy in heaven. Can you imagine those without Christ worshipping Him and singing His praises? Heaven is a prepared place for prepared people. Prepared people are those who are born into the family of God by embracing the death of Christ to forgive their sins. Jesus takes the hell of the hearts of those who trust Him and saves them from the place called hell.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).
“…who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them” (Romans 1:32).
“But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things” (Romans 2:2).
Carnal Christians will have to make a dramatic right-about-face in their attitudes toward heaven as well.