By Justin Edwards
For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit. - 1 Thessalonians 4:7-8
As pointed out in Dear "Carnal Christian", the visible church is overburdened with professing Christians who have never been truly converted. What I mean by "visible church" is that there is a distinction between the professing church and the true Church. The professing church, or visible church, is comprised of both genuine believers and mere professing believers who are still dead in their sins (Ephesians 2:1). On the other hand, the invisible church, or Body of Christ or true Church, is exclusively comprised of born again saints who have been sealed by the Holy Spirit through repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
So how do we distinguish between a true believer and a false convert? One simple test can be found in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (which reflects Galatians 5:19-21 and Ephesians 5:3-5). From the text:
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.
Do not be deceived, dear professing Christian. The mark of a true convert is that their life is no longer representative of these sins. Galatians 5:19 indicates these things are manifest (evident) as a lifestyle for those who are still walking in darkness, i.e. those who are not saved. Let's take a closer look in defining these terms:
Fornicator - one who participates in unlawful sex, which is to say of one who indulges in sexual activity outside of the boundaries of legal marriage. It can also mean giving oneself over to false gods, eg religious idolatry. Referring to sexual acts, these would include premarital or post-marital (divorcees) sex of any form (heterosexual, homosexual, incest, pedophilia), but also to include adultery.
Adulterer - one who engages in inappropriate behavior or unlawful sexual activity in violation of legal marriage vows. Such would be the case for two married individuals engaging in inappropriate conduct, or a single individual violating the boundaries of marriage with a married individual.
Idolater - one who worships a false god, or has created a god in their own image (which is to say the "Christian" god they worship is not the God of the Bible). This might include worshiping a god from any of the worlds religions, worship of a person, or worship of an object, such as money.
Homosexual - one who engages in homosexual activity, or same-sex intercourse. This would include those in same-sex relationships, celibate or not.
Sodomite - one who offers himself as a male prostitute to engage in homosexual activity.
Thief - one who steals. Forms of thievery would include embezzlement, robbery (violent force), or by non-violent means, such as cheating, downloading illegal music, or shoplifting.
Covetous - one who is greedy to gain material wealth, or one who is not content or satisfied with their belongings and envies the possessions of others.
Drunkards - one who gets drunk or intoxicated with alcohol.
Revilers - one who is a blasphemer or is marked by contemptuous, disrespectful, or disdainful speech.
Extortioner - one who blackmails for profit, or unlawfully obtains wealth or information through coercion.
The message is clear: those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:21). Yet, the visible church is so polluted today that sins such as drunkenness and fornication are swept under the rug and widely accepted by the vast majority of professing Christians. The same could be said for the other sins with regards to church acceptance, homosexuality for instance, but I want to focus on drunkards and fornicators because I used to be both while professing Christ as my Savior.
A Message for Carnal Christians
I want to be very frank, not only because what I am about to say is the truth, but because the hour is urgent. The world is falling apart all the more each day and the signs are screaming that Christ is returning any moment for His church. Not only that, but you are not promised to live another second, so I want you to give strict attention to my words as if it's the last time you will ever have the opportunity to hear them.
If your lifestyle reflects one of sexual immorality or drunkenness, then you will not inherit the Kingdom of God. To be more clear, you will perish in hell for all of eternity. Forever. If you think 1 second is small in comparison to 1 trillion years, that one second is infinitely greater than 1 trillion years compared to eternity. Though you profess to believe in Christ, though you believe you are saved, all biblical indicators give evidence you are not (Philippians 3:18-19), and you may wake up one day in hell to your surprise.
Perhaps you live with your boyfriend or girlfriend? That in itself gives the appearance of evil, but woe unto you all the more if you are sleeping with them. Maybe you don't live with your partner, but rather engage in sex whenever it's convenient. The Bible could not be more clear - anyone who habitually practices sex outside of marriage will suffer the wrath of God for eternity.
Perhaps you continue to party at the club scene? Or you like it low key at the bar or night lounge? Or maybe you revel at the beach or lake party? How about the football or concert tailgates? Or maybe you indulge yourself in the privacy of your own home. It's all the same - drunkards will not inherit the Kingdom of God!
You can make all the excuses you want. You can justify your sin a million different ways. But God sees what you are doing and He considers you in violation to His holiness. If you partake in these things while professing to be a Christian, you are trampling the blood of Christ under your feet and are using the grace of God as a license to sin. You perhaps think if you do enough good, if you pray enough to say you're sorry, if you go to church every Sunday, if you pay your tithes - you can somehow balance out your offenses against God. Unfortunately for you, God sees you as an idolater. And unless you repent from this idolatry, you will suffer the wrath of God forever (Romans 2:5).
This is what God requires from you - a broken and contrite heart (Psalm 51:17). He does not want your sacrifices of religiosity or guilt produced from worldly sorrow (2 Corinthians 7:10). No, He requires you to be broken and mournful of your sins against Him. He requires you to forsake it all for Him, never looking back. As long as you continue to hold on to your idol, whether it is sex or alcohol, you cannot be His disciple (Luke 14:33).
Do not confuse these words to mean you must clean yourself up before you come to God. You never will because you can never change on your own. What you must do is come to Him now. Recognize yourself as dead in your sins and apart from the grace of God you will remain there. Throw yourself at the foot of the cross and cry out to the Lord Jesus Christ to save you! Trust in Him alone and surrender to His rule and reign over your life. Give up on yourself, give up your control, give up your own will, cast your sin before Him, and give it all, your very life, to the Lord Jesus Christ. He will accept nothing less than unrivaled allegiance. He demands it.
By the grace of God I realized this nearly two years ago. God showed me how desperately I needed Him because I had so violated His holiness through my own idolatry. He showed me in His Word that my life as a professing Christian did not match up to the biblical definition of Christian. He then broke me, and I conceded to His lordship. I acknowledged His rightful authority over my life, and yielded myself to be His servant.
What will you do now? This could possibly be your last warning. Once your conscience is seared, it will be too late. The longer you run from this message and refuse to heed to God's mercy, the more difficult it will be for you to respond to His grace. These are the last days, my friend. Stop playing games with your eternity. The world is not worth it, nor is the temporary fulfillment of your sinful lifestyle. Run to Christ and never look back. Surrender to the One who was nailed to the bloody cross and who reigns at the right hand of God today. Is He not worthy? Does He not deserve your unwavering devotion? Does He not deserve your love, which is evidenced by obeying what He teaches?
Run to Him!
The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. - 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12
To learn more about testing your faith, please see this series: Biblical Assurance of Salvation