Question: I read 1 Corinthians 6. It was talking about lawsuits. I was confused at verses 9-11. Can salvation be lost? I don’t think it can but needed some clarification.
Answer: The passage reads, “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. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
It is clear that Paul is distinguishing between what the Corinthians were (the things listed in his hall of shameful disobedience) and what they had become in Christ. He did not believe that, as a whole, they would fail to get into the kingdom of God. But he is saying what he is saying for a reason. He wants them to be warned that the proof of their being washed and sanctified and justified in Christ is that they will not continue in such shameful behaviors.
There is no denying that the “wicked” will not inherit the kingdom. It is a place for those who obey the king, those who willingly submit to his sovereignty as ruler. But if one who calls him or herself a Christian, a follower of Christ, continues to live like one who does not submit to Christ’s authority, then there is every reason to suspect that he or she is not a follower of Christ. There should be no self-deception. You cannot claim to know Christ and not do what he says. If you truly have been born again and have the Spirit of God in your life, you will not continue in sin (Galatians 6:7-8; Colossians 1:21-23; 2 Peter 1:3-11; 1 John 3:9).
We do not become kingdom members by good works, but we demonstrate that we have become kingdom members by good works. It is the Spirit of Christ who is enabling us to perform these works and only the true believer has the Spirit and has the ability to continue in good works. This does not mean we are always doing what we’re supposed to do, but we are feeling conviction when we don’t and we are finding his grace available to repent and do what is right. We are seeing the yoke of sin broken in our lives, however slow a process that might be. But the short answer to your question is that it does not teach that you can lose your salvation. It says that if you do not experience what he is talking about you never had salvation to begin with.
- 1 Corinthians 6 (asorensen.wordpress.com)