The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Matt 21:31 vs 1 Cor 6:9-10


There is a prima facie contradiction between between Matthew 21:31 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.

As per GosMatt, the sexually immoral (identified specifically here as prostitutes) will enter the kingdom. As per 1 Cor, the sexually immoral will not enter the kingdom. How do we resolve this tension? Easy; the prostitutes will enter the kingdom when they repent, and are thus no longer prostitutes. So taking Matthew 21:31 into consideration, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 does not preclude those who previously were sinners from entering the kingdom, but only those who persist in their sinful lifestyles.


As I see it, Jesus’ first words are the key to understanding His words to the chief priests and elders of the Jews.

*28 “What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’
29 And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went.
30 And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go.
31 Which of the two did the will of his father?” They *said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you that the tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you.

I think that Jesus is saying that the chief priests and elders tell God that He will do what He asks, but in practice they do not, whereas some tax collectors and prostitutes refuse to do the will of God, but later repent (change their mind) and serve God. Thus, such tax collectors and prostitutes that do so will get into the kingdom (through repentance) before the chief priests and elders who claim to obey God but in practice continue in their disobedience.

1 Corinthians 6
9 Or 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 effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.

Paul’s words refer to fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, homosexuals, thieves, the covetous, drunkards, revilers, and swindlers who continue in their ways of life without repenting.


It’s important to consider just what the phrase “kingdom of God” would have meant to the people to whom Jesus was speaking–the Jews of His day. For them, I believe, the Kingdom of God would have brought up visions of that blessed day in which Israel would shine as the light on the hill she was commanded to be, the Messiah would reign, and the rest of the world would look to Israel (the earthly nation) as both sovereign and teacher.

I really think Jesus’ interpretation of this was a bit more nuanced (to say the least). The “kingdom of God” meant the governance of God. Those who obey and follow God ARE His kingdom. IOW, if you DON’T obey and follow God, you are by that very action, not in His kingdom–that is, not subject to His kingship. You don’t partake of the blessings of being His subjects. You CAN’T partake of those blessings, because you aren’t the sort of person who can benefit from being a subject of God. You aren’t subject TO God, therefore you aren’t a subject OF God as king. Israel was supposed to teach the rest of the world what it meant to be the kingdom of God, but she failed. Jesus stood in for the whole nation and BECAME Israel. All those who follow Him are IN Him, and ARE Israel. The followers, the subjects and servants of Christ are the Kingdom of God.

So yes, I would agree with you. As we become subject to God, we, by that habit and life of obedience, enter the kingdom of God. Obeying Him is what MAKES us His subjects–it is that obedience that IS being in the Kingdom. All people will eventually enter that blessed state, as we ALL learn to obey Him and to follow His example of love toward all others, including love toward our enemies. (OUCH!!!)


That is correct qaz. There must be a transformation of mind (repentance). When this happens ego deflates. We empty ourselves to be filled with love and beauty. We change directions. If we do mess up after change there will be conviction and confession. When we become more humble that list of sins vanishes and the beauty of holiness shines. It takes time for some for others it comes more quickly. Jesus hung out with the outcasts to bring healing and transform them. He helps those who will admit their need for Him. When we are week we are strong. It’s hard for the rich, powerful, those with status who inflate themselves to enter the kingdom. You have to become broken and depend on God. Christ invites those who are thirsty to come and drink. Really, He invites all but only the thirsty respond. They admit their brokenness. The poor in spirit receive life. Transformation comes from worship and extreme admiration. This overflows into service. We imitate Christ. We empty ourselves and become nothing in and of ourselves. Christ fills the empty vessel.

he made himself nothing

by taking the very nature of a servant,

being made in human likeness.

And being found in appearance as a man,

he humbled himself

by becoming obedient to death—

even death on a cross!

Phil. 2:7-8

A few motivations for obedience:

Love of God

Hope in God

Fear of God

Faith in God

Gratitude towards God

This glorifies God

This is the transformed heart of a believer. We come to love what He loves and hate what He hates. As it tells us in Romans:

When the beauty of God’s light shines in the heart what we once loved (darkness) we no longer love. In the dark there’s what seems that nice warm fuzy thing that we love and show affection to. When the light comes on we see that it’s a tarantula and we throw it across the room.

Love you qaz!


Excellent, Cindy. I fully agree.


How long is a piece of string Mr P? How long is “persist” in a particular life style or sin? Who is to judge? You, me some pharisee. The one who made Peter cry because he denied him though he did say I will deny such a one before my Father. I’ll trust his judgement but the rest is speculation.


Twice the length from the middle out. :mrgreen:


Are you using “judge” in the sense of “condemn” or in the sense of “assess”? If the latter, I think it is quite clear what it means to persist in a particular life style or sin, and to make an assessment. For example if a man goes on beating his wife three times a week for ten years, while copulating with other women most nights, during that period, he is persisting in a wicked life style. I see no difficulty in making that assessment—and I think it is irrelevant who makes it.


awesome Paidion!