Paul and I Corinthians
The next passage by Paul that is used to condemn homosexuality is from I Corinthians 6:9-10 “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”
First, we need to determine to whom it is addressed. It was addressed to the local church in the Greek city of Corinth. A city that was the crossroads of the Roman Empire. A city that was religious, it was filled with pagan temples dedicated to the many gods of goddess of the day. The major temple in the city had more than 10,000 priest-prostitutes.
I Corinthians 6:11 states that the believers who made up the Corinthian local church had been delivered by Christ out of raw paganism. The verse states that these people had been justified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ when they were washed in His atoning shed blood. They had been delivered from the people mentioned in the passage of verses 9-10.
Are believers in Jesus Christ ever referred to as the wicked in scripture? The answer is “no”. This passage is not addressing Christians, rather it is addressing unbelievers. The word “wicked” comes from two Greek words: “porneous” which means bad, evil and is translated wicked and the Greek word “athesmos”, which means lawless and again is translated wicked in our English-language Bibles. Paul is clearly referring to pagans not people who have been washed in the blood of Jesus Christ.
To make a blanket statement saying that all homosexuals are lost demands a similar statement that all who have engaged in adultery are lost. All who have slandered are lost. No preacher in America would say that those divorced in their church because of infidelity are damned to hell. How about those people who get drunk? You see if they condemned adulterers as being outside of God's redemption they would lose many members and lots of money. But an amount of money that we can't fathom is collected on the backs of homosexuals.
If all homosexuals are excluded then all the others must be excluded also. Salvation is never dependent on sexuality, rather upon the atoning shed blood of Jesus Christ. Salvation is God’s free gift to “whosoever will.”
I conclude that the references dealing with homosexuality are referring to certain aspects of homosexual acts. Paul does not condemn that which is normal, natural homosexual behavior, only that which is perverted.
-- Jerry Cook