A few months ago, Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty, ignited quite a controversy as he made some comments regarding homosexuality.
While some of his comments were awkward and crude, the heart of his comments were quoted from 1 Corinthians 6. I only wish he had quoted the entire paragraph, which is one of my favorite biblical passages.
Here is the first part:
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, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people-none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. (1 Cor. 6:9-10, NLT)
Now admittedly, this isn't my favorite part, but it sets up my favorite part, which immediately follows:
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. (1 Cor. 6:11, NLT)
The point of this passage is not really about homosexuality at all. Yes, it mentions that homosexual acts are sin, as are adulterous behavior, thievery, drunkenness, abusive acts, and cheating. This list does not rank these sins, pretend to be a comprehensive list of all sins, or single out any one of these sins. Yes, every one of these sins (as well as some which are not mentioned here) do stand in the way of a relationship with God. That's still not the primary point of the passage.
The pinnacle of this passage is in verse 11 - "You WERE once like that. But you WERE CLEANSED;"
Past tense verbs. Sin which used to define and identify us is history. Those who have called out to Jesus are experiencing God's gift of a new holy identity.
Today, I celebrate new life and a new identity! Not because of any thing that I have done. No, my earned and deserved identity is contained in verses 9 & 10. I deservedly would be missing out on eternal life with God. BUT Jesus found me and totally transformed my life.
I don't know the label that you currently wear, but it doesn't matter. Jesus is still in the business of making new, holy identities out of hopelessly messed up people. Just don't stop reading at verse 10.
--Matt Gregory (Lead Pastor @ Soul Purpose Community Church)