“…nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.”
Businesses in North America lose billions of dollars from pilfering. The biblical principle is, “Let him that stole, steal no more” (Ephesians 4:29).
Here is a “nice” sin, a sin that goes to church. We covet our neighbor’s house, car, and wife. There are different kinds of lust: sexual lust, material lust, lasciviousness, power lust.
Note that God lists this sin with adultery and sodomy. All sin is the same in the sight of God; however, social sins affect much greater destruction on the daily life of the individual. If we murder someone, we go to jail. If we commit adultery, we hurt our family.
This person allows alcohol to control his life. Alcohol binds by habit. This is uncontrolled drinking. We say, “That is not me. I am not usually mean or cruel, but when I get drunk, then I go haywire.” We chose to get drunk in the first instance. Alcoholism, though, is another breed of cat. That takes a more protracted solution.
“Revilers” are profane. Revilers destroy the reputation of others by the tongue. Many of us lose a great deal of our vocabulary when we come to Christ. This is a sin that God lists with “extortioners, adulterers, and sodomites.”
“Extortioners” are those who deal with others in an unscrupulous way. They extort others for selfish reasons. This is stealing through business practices, for example.
will inherit the kingdom of God.
This phrase does not say that those who practice the sins of verses nine and ten cannot become Christians. The idea is simply that those who practice these sins are characteristical without Christ. Paul is contrasting what the Corinthians did before they became Christians with what they were after they became Christians.
The gospel radically transforms the life of believers.
Christianity is about regeneration, not reformation. Reformation without regeneration is operation bootstraps. Regeneration is an act of God. It is new birth. We do not change our lives in the first instance by changing our character, but our character is changed by a change of life – a new birth.