Foundations of the Faith
the elementary teachings
that prepare disciples in Yeshua to move on to maturity
Sins that Remove Us From the Kingdom of Heaven
Today's Kingdom Standards
The criteria for determining whether we are in the Kingdom of Heaven, or outside, have been defined in modern times as a mental affirmation that Yeshua is Lord, Messiah and the Son of G-d, together with a personal acceptance of His atonement for my sins. These admissions, preferably done in public (but not necessarily), establish someone as a "believer in Yeshua"; from then on, his/her place in the Kingdom is guaranteed, due to the unlimited grace of G-d and Yeshua's intercession for any sins committed after becoming a believer.
The idea of losing one's inheritance in Heaven through habitual sin is rejected as "righteousness based on works". Since "the gifts and calling of G-d are irrevocable" (Rom.11:29), and since salvation is "a gift of G-d, not as a result of works" (Eph.2:8-9), it is taught that no one's place in Heaven can be revoked as a result of the negative works of sin.
The Scriptural warnings of the possibility of losing the right to enter Heaven after having received salvation (e.g., Matt.13:21, Rev.3:16, 22:19) are generally understood as applying only to those who were not sincere in their affirmations about Yeshua to begin with, and so they were never "true believers" at all. The few sins that are acknowledged to actually cancel someone's Kingdom inheritance (such as publicly denying Yeshua, or blaspheming the Holy Spirit) are assumed whenever possible to have extenuating circumstances surrounding the incident(s), which will allow the Lord to forgive these sins anyway.
By the same token, the idea of ostracizing or "disfellowshipping" a believer for sinful behavior (avoiding and forbidding contact with him/her) is rejected as "legalistic" or "a lack of love". The tolerance is usually based on a conviction that it is wrong to pass judgment on sinful behavior in others; if a private confrontation should fail to bring repentance, there is no recourse but to pray for the sinner and avoid speaking about the problem. Even so, there are a few exceptions considered grounds for limited ostracism, particularly financial fraud, unscriptural doctrines and sexual sin.
New Testament Kingdom Standards
The New Testament scriptures present the need to "test" ourselves to see if we are "in the faith" (2 Cor.13:5), to "work out" our salvation (Phil.2:12), and to "make certain about" His calling and choosing us (2 Pet.1:10). Specific lists of sins were given by the apostles, and they wrote that these will cause people to be excluded from the Kingdom. We know that this list is not for those who we count as unbelievers, because the passages specifically mention "so-called brothers" who commit these sins.
Other lists of sins were given as reasons to put someone out of fellowship, which went far beyond a "time-out from congregational attendance" and included not eating with them, or even greeting them.
Some of these sins are things the Body of Messiah considers impossible to judge because they are heart attitudes. Others are considered not worth judging, either because so many are guilty of them, or because no one in the Body complains about them.
In order for us to benefit from the intended purpose of these lists, we first need to reconcile two seeming contradictions: the issue of faith vs. works, and the controversy over judging a brother.
Faith and Works
The New Testament is explicit about salvation being a gift based on faith, rather than a reward based on works. So then, what is there to "work out" in our salvation? If faith is independent of works, why is "faith without works" unacceptable? (James 2:17) Our confusion comes from faulty translations. In the New Testament (Greek), "faith" and "faithfulness" are the same word. This harmonizes with the Old Testament (Hebrew), where the same is true.
If we replace "faith" with "faithfulness", several things become clear:
Judging a Brother
If it's wrong to judge our brother (James 4:11-12), how can we judge a brother in our congregation and ostracize him? (1 Cor.5:12-13) Our confusion comes from a failure to recognize the differences in these two kinds of judgment.
The contexts are different:
James warned against judging as a result of one brother "speaking against" another; Paul urged judging as a result of a brother's sinful conduct.
The reasons are also different, and G-d's Law relates to them both:
The first judgment decides against a man because of his opponent's slander, and James calls those who judge by such unlawful evidence to repent and be "a doer of the Law".
The second judgment decides against a man because of his own conduct, and Paul calls those who refuse to judge to likewise repent and obey the Law.
Finally, the results are different:
The first judgment must condemn one of the two rivals for as long as the conflict exists; the second judgment need only condemn the sinner until there is repentance.
Whereas the judging described by James fails to benefit the Body in any way, the judgment described by Paul cannot fail to benefit the Body, in two ways - protecting the clean from defilement, while at the same time pushing the sinner toward repentance and restoration.
Now we are ready to move on to the list of sins that we and others are to be judged by, and what can be learned from them.
Scriptures Speaking of Sins that Result in Judgment:
|1. Ephesians 5:5||7. 1 Corinthians 5:11|
|2. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10||8. 2 Timothy 3:2-5|
|3. Galatians 5:19-21||9. Titus 3:10-11|
|4. Romans 1:29-32||10. Romans 16:17|
|5. Colossians 3:5-9||11. 2 Thessalonians 3:6-14|
|6. Revelation 2-3|
* Disinheritance: sins which, if not repented from, are specifically mentioned as preventing the sinner from inheriting the Kingdom of God and Messiah.
** Ostracism: sins which, when found in a believer, are to be confronted by a first and second warning, and then separation from the Lord's people.
Categories of Sins by Character and Conduct
It is significant that all the above-mentioned sins, which remove us from the Kingdom or from fellowship with His Bride, can be grouped into six conduct-related categories that each reflect a distinct character of sin:
|I. Lust||Loving Pleasure|
|II. Coveting||Loving to Possess|
|III. Pride||Loving Self Most|
|IV. Contention||Not Loving Others|
|V. Lying||Not Loving Truth|
|VI. Evil||Not Loving Goodness|
We see that these sinful characteristics are driven by different forms of perverted love or lack of true love. They in turn all stem from one "mother" characteristic: failure to love G-d and others more than ourselves. We might say that this main taproot of sin is the target of the Torah and Prophets; all G-d's commands were given to raise our awareness of the many ways this lack of love is expressed in us.
The same truth is stated in positive terms by Yeshua's words: “ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE L-RD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (Matt.22:37-40)
Sins That Remove, Grouped by Character
The Sin (in Greek): The English terms are based on the corresponding Greek words; in more than a few cases, the Greek terms are themselves based on the Law of Moses (Torah).
Definition: Based on both Torah descriptions and modern understanding of the terms, in order to make us conscious of a sin's presence in us.
Result: Numbers corresponding with the above table of Scriptures, where the Greek word for the sin appears (1-6 will result in Disinheritance; 7-11 should result in Ostracism). The passages themselves are quoted below, and are linked for easy reference.
The Virtue: The contrary quality planted in us by the Spirit, according to the instruction: "Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another." (Gal.5:16-17)
I. LOVING PLEASURE (Lust)
|The Sin (in Greek)||Definition||
|loving pleasure (philedonoi)||Devoted to sensual delight or gratification, making amusement a high priority.||longsuffering|
|lustfulness (aselgeia)||Seeking sensual pleasure or sexual satisfaction.||moderation|
|without self-control (akrateis)||Lacking restraint, aimless or foolish wastefulness, wild extravagance.||self control|
|carousing (komos)||Rowdy or noisy feasting, coarse or crude antics, drinking parties.||quietness|
|drunkenness (methusos)||Drinking alcoholic beverages until one begins to lose self-control.||sober limits|
|passion (pathos)||Suffering in the fever of desire, overtaken by desire, esp. of a sexual nature.||self-restraint|
Torah-defined uncleanness; that which cannot come into G-d's presence.
|fornication / immorality (porneia)||Any kind of unlawful (Torah-forbidden) intercourse, in or out of marriage.||chastity|
|adultery (moichos)||Sexual intercourse in which a married person is unfaithful to a spouse.||faithfulness|
|effeminacy (malakos)||A man or boy allowing himself to be used as a female by a male partner.||chastity|
A man having sexual intercourse with a man or boy.
II. LOVING TO POSSESS (Coveting)
|The Sin (in Greek)||Definition||
Energetically guarding rights, loyalties,or property against rivals.
|envy (phthonos)||Discontent and ill will because of another's advantages or possessions.||edification|
|love of money (philarguroi)||Greed, determination to accumulate material wealth, reluctance to part with it.||generosity|
|coveting (pleonektes)||Desiring more, especially what belongs to others;equivalent to idolatry.||giving|
|idolatry (eidololatres)||Image worship, serving demons; anything besides G-d that captures our love.||worshiping G-d|
eating idol sacrifices
|Sharing in food or drink offered to, or blessed in the name of, a false god.||avoiding idol offerings|
|sorcery (pharmakeia)||Using potions, objects or rituals to control circumstances, people or spirits.||blessing|
|theft (kleptes)||Taking another's property without his permission, usually secretly.||charity|
|robbery (harpax)||Taking someone's property by force or threat, usually in his presence.||sacrificial giving|
III. LOVING SELF MOST (Pride)
|The Sin (in Greek)||Definition||
Self-promotion, focusing on self, devoted to meeting our own needs.
|vanity (tetuphomenoi)||Puffed up about self or appearances, conceit, empty delusion, folly.||humility|
|arrogance (huperephanes)||Elevating one's importance; attitude of superiority, bossy manner.||meekness|
|boasting (alazon)||Pretending to be more than we are, calling attention to ourselves, bragging.||modesty|
|rivalry (eritheia)||Ambitious selfishness, competition, striving to surpass another.||
|Ungrateful response to good, failure to recognize benefits received.||gratefulness|
|not working (meden ergazomenous)||Living from other peoples' property, refusing to support oneself.||industrious|
|insubordination (ataktos)||Not submitting to teaching, rebuke or correction.||submission|
|disobedience to parents (goneusin apeitheis)||Disrespecting or defying parental authority; neglecting parental commands.||honoring parents|
|disobeying Paul's word (ouch hupakouei)||Not obeying instructions in an apostolic letter.||submission to apostles' teaching|
|offending (skandala)||Causing stumbling by behaving or teaching contrary to apostolic teaching.||confirming|
|insolence (hubrises)||Rude, proud attitude; lack of respect for authority; insulting hutspah.||respect|
|God-hating (theostuges)||Those in a state of hostility or opposition to G-d.||in Messiah|
IV. NOT LOVING OTHERS (Contention)
|The Sin (in Greek)||Definition||
|lacking love (astorgos)||
Without devotion, concern or tenderness; having no family ties or attachment.
|without mercy (aneleemon)||Lacking compassion and patience for those in distress.||merciful|
|faction / heresy (hairesis)||A party (under a teacher) or a split, marked by competition and self-seeking.||unifying|
|dissension (dichostasia)||Separating from others, standing apart, quarreling, discord.||agreement|
|not observant (asunthetos)||Not keeping a covenant, unfaithful, untrustworthy.||faithful|
|Starting or repeating rumors about others, revealing personal information.||guarding the lips|
|holding a grudge (aspondos)||Receiving no peace offering, allowing no truce, unforgiving.||forgiving|
|contention (eris)||Quarrelling, disagreement, strife, rivalry, competition.||support|
|slander (katalalos)||Stirring up ill will against others; speaking lies about others.||praise|
|malicious gossips (diaboloi)||Accusing, defaming, building a case against others.||praise|
|reviling (loidoros)||Name-calling, regarding others as worthless; abusive or scornful speech.||blessing|
|blasphemy (blasphemian)||Defamation, contempt, or abusive speech against G-d or man.||glory|
|obscene speech (aischrologian)||Talk that violates decency;perverted or morally degrading language.||thankfulness|
|anger (thumos)||Violent outbursts, fits of rage.||grace|
|wrath (orge)||Indignation, resentment, desire for revenge; often comes with anger.||mercy|
|enmity (echthra)||Attitudes or words of hatred, desiring evil for others; hostility.||brotherly love|
|treason (prodotai)||Betrayal of trust or violation of a confidence, siding with the enemy.||redemption|
|murder (phonos)||Unlawful, premeditated or malicious taking of another's life.||martyrdom|
V. NOT LOVING TRUTH (Lying)
|The Sin (in Greek)||Definition||
Dull in distinguishing right from wrong, without understanding or insight.
|a form of godliness (morphesin eusebeias) but denying its power||Outward display of moral behavior, without heart repentance before G-d.||effective spirituality|
Use of skillful manipulation or half-truth to lead someone astray from the truth.
|lying (pseudomai)||Presenting the false as though true; deceiving or misleading.||truthfulness|
VI. NOT LOVING GOODNESS (Evil)
|The Sin (in Greek)||Definition||
|no love of goodness (aphilagathoi)||Lacking in faithfulness or submission towards goodness; failure to stand for goodness.||loving goodness|
|weary of doing good
|Losing heart when faced by those who oppose goodness, unwillingness to pay a price for doing right.||being faithful to the end|
|leaving our first love (agapen proten aphekas)||No longer doing the deeds we did or having the dedication we had to the Lord, when we first knew Him.||growing in love|
|lukewarm (chliaros)||No heartfelt conviction in our deeds, no sense of needing G-d.||being zealous|
|reckless (propeteis)||Careless, thoughtless, no concern with consequences of an action.||careful|
|Failure to uphold godly standards of right and wrong.||virtue|
|unholiness (anosioi)||Failure to separate from evil or spiritually unclean deeds.||holiness|
|evil (kakia)||Action taken to destroy goodness; corrupt or morally wrong deeds.||godliness|
|desiring evil things (epithumian kaken)||Longing for things that G-d hates.||hunger for righteousness|
|inventing evil (epheuretai kakon)||Creating original ways to destroy or corrupt good.||inventing good|
|malicious (kakoethia)||Spiteful, vicious; deeds or words intended to tear down another.||edifying|
|savage (anemeroi)||Brutal, like an untamed animal, heedless of another's feelings.||courteous|
|iniquity (poneria)||Active sin, wrongdoing by choice, causing or supporting injustice.||redemptive goodness|
These lists will sting anyone who is honest about his/her daily conduct. This fact should not discourage us from striving against sin. However, it will discourage us from relying on our own efforts. When we receive G-d's revelation of our hearts in the right spirit, we will learn to trust Him to deliver us. "If You, L-RD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared. I wait for the L-RD, my soul does wait, and in His Word do I hope." (Ps.130:3-5)
By the same token, receiving His revelation of our own sin will make us able to render righteous judgment concerning those who are sinning: not from a place of superiority, but from the humble knowledge that we share the same tendencies toward self-love. "...looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Messiah." (Gal.6:1-2)
The Scripture Sources (NASV):
 Ephesians 5:
5 For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
 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.
 Galatians 5:
19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
 Romans 1:
29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death.
 Colossians 3:
5 Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. 6 For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, 7 and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices.
 Revelation 2:
4 But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent...
14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality... 16 Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth.
15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. 16 So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.
 1 Corinthians 5:
11 But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one.
 2 Timothy 3:
2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power. Avoid such men as these.
 Titus 3:
10 Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, 11 knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned.
 Romans 16:
17 Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them.
 2 Thessalonians 3:
6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us...
10 For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either. 11 For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies. 12 Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread. 13 But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good. 14 If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of that person and do not associate with him, so that he will be put to shame.
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