in 1 Cor 6, Paul speaks of the separation between the World and the church, a dividing wall of those sanctified by the blood of the lamb Jesus Christ. We are not of the world, and church cannot also make the world become the church or heaven on earth. The world and church is separate and mutually exclusive.
However, the supremacy of Rome meant that the church and the world became one, and the church has either been trying to escape from the world ever since, or condeming the world for not being like the church essentially trying to make heaven on earth. We are however in the world, being the salt to reflect God’s truth, love and grace in Christ Jesus.
We are called to be exclusive, not inclusive – the separation of state and religion, the separation of the church (the sanctified), and the world and her religious faiths.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 Young’s Literal Translation (YLT) 9 have ye not known that the unrighteous the reign of God shall not inherit? be not led astray; neither whoremongers, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, the reign of God shall inherit. 11 And certain of you were these! but ye were washed, but ye were sanctified, but ye were declared righteous, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and in the Spirit of our God.
In the 21st century we live differently from the 1st century city of Corinth making a direct translation awkard. In 1 Cor 6:9, how can the effeminate, and those have sex with men become lumped with the unrighteous outside the church! when it was a straight men having sexual orgies outside the church walls. Why not banned heterosexuality?
What was outside the church? not outside St Andrew’s Cathedral in Singapore where we have the Parliament, but outside the walls of the 1st century church in Conrinth.
Corinth was a port city with a very large following of the goddess Aphrodites. There were thousands of prostitutes serving the temples, and many more sailors visiting the port city who sought after their services. Hence, we begin to see what Paul meant by “Whoremongers”,”idolaters”, and “adulterors”. Paul was defintely not progressive nor a universalist embracing all faiths as that of God.
The next two words “effeminate”, and “Sodomites” were translated from “malakos” and “arsenokoital”, as the best” fit rather reflect the true meaning.
Mat 11:7 As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? 8 If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. 9 Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10 This is the one about whom it is written: “‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’
The term “malakos” was used by Jesus in Mat 11:7-8 when He asked what they were seeking in the desert, what kind of religious experience, and then alluded to a man dressed in fine clothing which He said can only be found in King’s palaces.
Who were the softies or effeminates in the King’s palace? they were the Eunuchs! in light of the religious practices then where the priests of the cults would castrate themselves and be penetrated by men.
Jesus was obviously dishing other faiths especially the cult of Cybele. Jesus was saying to John’s disciples to see the power and miracles of God performed through Jesus on the contrary to the prevailing religious practices of Cybele. You can’t find the worshippers of Cybele in the purity of the desert but in the cities.
Hence, we now understand that “Malakos” was a degrading term used by Paul to described the pagan priests, the worshippers of other faiths. Hence, they were defintely not of the Kingdom of God not because they were Gay but because they did not worship Jesus as Lord and Saviour.
What was Paul referring to in the term “Arsenokoital”? The word “Arsenokoital” is a word of Paul’s own creation, a word which combines two Greek words.
“Koites” generally denotes licentious sexual activities, and corresponds to the active person in intercourse. The prefix “Arsen”, simply means “male”. It is impossible with good conscience to translate the text to refer to “men who have sex with men” as this was not their particular sin, because the word “Arsenoloitai” has a deep religious connotation.
It all goes back to the days of the worship of Baal and Ashtoreth which were very similar in practices because the same demonic beings were involved.
The word used by Paul – Arsenokoites” was mis-translated as “Sodomites” (NKJV), and “Homosexual Offenders” (NIV) even though there was no such usage in Greek literature. The term appears to have been created by Paul from the Septuagint’s Greek translation of Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13.
Leviticus 18:22 – “kai meta arsenos ou koimethese koiten gynaikos”
Leviticus 20:13 – “kai hos an koimethe meta arsenos koiten gynaikos”
With this reference to Leviticus relating to abomination of idol worship, it becomes clear that 1 Cor 6:9 was emphasizing the unrighteousness of those who worship other gods having no part in the kingdom of God (ie part of the church) rather than about same sex orientation.
Paul message was loud and clear for the Corinthian Christians not to be engaged in the partying, dancing, and mass sexual orgies in commemoration of these gods.
We go back to Jesus in the desert in Mat 11:7-11. Jesus was actually asking the question in modern terms:-
If you want to find the effeminate cultist priests like the Eunuchs, you would not find them in the desert but in the Palace. But you would find John, a prophet, the greatest prophet for he would proclaim the Messiah.
The men in the church were doing all these pagan activities as Paul alluded as some of them were in 1 Cor 6:11 because they were of religious faith but in the wrong god who offered them these carnal enjoyment so that the demonic spirit of the god can enter into their body through sex.
They were not gays, and because of the Blood of Jesus, they were now sanctified by the blood of Christ from the deep demonic infestation.
Therefore in the context of 1 Cor 6 where they were committing sins within the church hence having legal battles and were to be judged by outside courts, weren’t they any different from the carnal orgies to worship Cybele outside the church walls.? Even the world being so sinful as it is, sees the church as being equally sinful based on the common law.
So Paul had a clear distinction of the World and the church. We are not to be of the world and her religious faith practices and cults to worship the various gods, and that the church within must be different lest we end up being judged by a carnal world. Then we will be no different than the world.
But in modern 21st century, we have a totally misread the bible and applied it in the contrary. Instead of looking within the church to see and make sure that there is no unrighteousness that even the world (being so sinful) would themselves condemn, we go outside the church walls to hunt after the weakness group who could not defend themselves and called them sinners.
When we look outward to selectively condemn gays, we will fail to look inside the church until there is so much unrighteousness that even the world looking in will condemn us as sinners according to their laws. This is what is happening in Singapore where “Love SIngapore” is in a crusade against gays, whilsts the world look into the church and see the corruption perpetrated in the name of God such as the ongoing cases in the courts involving City Harvest Church.
1 Cor 6:9-11 is a reminder that the church is separate, and holy unto God, and redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ. We are to look at our hands today whether we are having the blood of the innocent gentle gay lambs! When we eat the gentle lambs, we are becoming more and more like the world.
Hence, the effeminates and the Sodomites in 1 Cor 6:9-11 becomes the images of the church of the weak who dare only to persecute the weakest in society and who has no qualms of screwing the gay community of all the basic rights.