2 Corinthians 5.16-19 "So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation."

Galatians 2.19-21 "For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!"

I have always loved these two verses, they point to a reality that is beyond what I can see or even in fact have experienced. This is a foundational part of the "already but not yet" of the Kingdom of God. I am already a new creation, Christ is already living in me, yet I do not experience the fullness of this on a daily basis. Each day I have to struggle against my old nature that wants to rise up and regain control. Some days the new life is successful, more often than not however I end up like Paul, doing the things I do not want to do and not doing the things I know I should. It is a frustrating cycle of failures and successes yet no matter what I have a promise that "He who began a good work in [me] will carry it on to completion." (Philippians 1.6). I am so grateful for this, it's not about me or my own efforts, it's all about Christ and the new life. He is the one doing the work, "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh" (Ezekiel 36.26).

However while we are quick to accept the validity of the verses when it comes to our own shortcomings and moral failures, I have seen, far too often, an inability to apply these same verses to the lives of people around us who may be dealing with their own issues. Recently I was reading an article by a well known pastor about the issue of pornography. This pastor was writing directly to Christian ("Saved") men and this is what he said:

"In 1 Cor 6.9-10, Paul says, 'Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters ...will inherit the kingdom of God.' Clearly, God takes the sexual sins of His men so seriously that men who remain enslaved to sexual sins will die in their sins will wake up in the eternal torments of hell."

I have heard this verse applied so many times to different groups of people, s, alcoholics, etc. We like to disqualify people from the "club" with verses such as this one.

The questions that arise now are:

Can the homosexual go to heaven? (Even if he/she finds them self engaging in this lifestyle after salvation? Take for example Lonnie Frisbee the "Hippy Preacher" who was instrumental in the foundation of both the Calvary Chapel and Vineyard church movements as well as the "Signs and Wonders" theology used by the Vineyard. He was a gay Christian and eventually died of Aids in 1993. To his credit even though he was gay he always believed homosexuality was a sin in the eyes of God and never condoned his own actions, even though it was a struggle.)
Can the man or woman who has a lifelong struggle with pornography, even after salvation, go to heaven?
Can the Alcoholic go to heaven? (Even if they still drink after meeting Christ? We had this situation come up at our church. A man who was an alcoholic re committed his life to the Lord yet continued to struggle with drink. A couple months later he was drunk and walked out into the street where he was hit by a car and killed. He died in his drunken sinful state)
Can the person who lives for their (job, family, possessions...all idols) go to heaven? (Even if after salvation he still has not surrendered it all?)
Can the person who lies go to heaven? How about the one who eats too much? How about the thief?

All of these, and more, are encompassed by Paul's statement in 1 Cor 6.9-10. If we leave it there, we are all in the same boat. Each one of us continues to sin, "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us." (1 John 1.8). Is it just that these sins are worse than the others? Or is there more to the story? Thank God that Paul does not leave it there, "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 offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. [Catch this next part] 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." (1 Cor 6.9-11)

Did you catch that? "And that is what some of you were..." Some of us were sexually immoral, homosexuals, alcoholics, liars, thieves etc. But that is not who we are any more, even if we still deal with these issues. I may still struggle with pornography but I am not sexually immoral because "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me". I may not experience the fullness of this yet, but one day I will, because He is faithful, even when I'm not. And what is my responsibility in all of this? Only one thing, "though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again" (Pro 24.16). When I sin, get back up, other than that, He will do the rest, even if I never experience it in this life.

Well after taking a year off from the Blogging world I am now going to make an attempt to re start "Klao Before Him". My first task was to clear out nearly five years of archived posts. It's a funny thing...I havn't given my blog a second thought over this last year yet as I began to delete past entries it was almost like losing a part of myself. I guess to some extent it was. The past five years have held many experiences for me, many of which I blogged about here...meeting my future wife, getting engaged and then married; heading to Northern Ireland for the first time; situations that arose in my family, both the good and the bad; and not the least of which my own spiritual journey that God has taken me on. It was a bitter sweet thing to go back through these memories, many of which have long since faded into the sands of time. I thank God for those times and experiences, however this is a new day and I feel it is time to move forward, with a clean slate and a new direction 

"Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Paul (Letter to the Phillipians)