However, many Christians incorrectly assume that it is not necessary to obey the Word of God, if it is found in the part of our Bible that comes before the Gospel of Matthew. They like to refer to Paul's epistle to the Galatians as proof that we must not go back to the law. But let's make sure we correctly understand Paul's purpose in writing to the Galatians, and what he meant, as I have covered in more depth in Faith Works!
Natural Circumcision is a Shadow or Type
In Galatians, Paul taught that circumcision is a symbol of the Old Covenant, which has been fulfilled in Christ. This is what the Galatians were going back to, after they had come to Christ, and that is the error Paul was addressing. Christ came to fulfill the law, and now when we come to Christ, our hearts are circumcised by the Spirit, which is true circumcision. So now that we have the reality in Christ, we do not need to go back to the symbols and shadows. However, while Christ came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets, He did not come to abolish them (Mt 5:17-20). There are still commandments in the Old Testament portion of Scripture and definitions of sin found in the Law and the Prophets. We are not under the supervision of the Law. But the Bible is the Book of Truth, and we must obey the truth (Gal 5:7; Rom 2:8; 1 Pe 1:22)!
Christ will not repent for you. So if you repent of sin, confessing them to the Lord, asking for forgiveness in Christ, you will be forgiven (1 Jn 1:9). Then you must walk by the Spirit, so that you will obey God by the power of the Spirit. The righteous requirements of the law will be fulfilled in your life because of Christ, "so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit." (Rom 8:4). But Jesus did not die on the cross so that we could go on disobeying God.
As Paul said, "Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law." (Rom 3:31). And elsewhere he said, "What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?" (Rom 6:1-2)
Don’t get symbols, ceremonies, and rituals in the Old Covenant confused with God’s commandments. Now that the substance of those ritual, ceremonial, and dietary regulations has come (in Christ), we need not observe them. Paul said what matters is keeping God’s commandments (1 Cor 7:19). There are still commandments in the Bible, and the New Testament contains many lists of sins that will keep you out of heaven. They will take you to hell.
The First Church Council in Jerusalem
One of those lists is in Acts 15:19-21. When Judaizers went up to Antioch, telling the Gentile Christians that they must be circumcised, the elders and apostles held a council in Jerusalem to decide what to do. James stated the final decision:
"Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles, but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood. For Moses from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath." (Act 15:19-21)
People like to quote this one, because they assume it is the only list of sins for Christians to avoid. They assume that they will not go to hell, as long as they that abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication. People like that short list of five sins to avoid.
Nothing Unclean May Enter the Holy City
Another list that people like to quote is Rev 21:27; 22:15. It says this in its context:
"And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed; and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life." (Rev 21:23-27)
"Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying." (Rev 22:14-15)
Some people assume that as long as they are a Christian, and are not in one of those categories of excluded people, they are going to heaven. They assume that as long as they do not love or practice lying, and as long as they are not dogs (homosexuals), sorcerers, sexually immoral persons, or idolaters, and as long as they are not unclean and do not practice abomination, then if they have given their life to Jesus at one time, their name is still written in The Book of Life and they are going to heaven.
However, there are several more lists in the New Testament Scriptures, including Mk 7:20-23; Rom 1:29-32; 2:6-13; 1 Cor 5:9-11; 6:9-11; Gal 5:19-21; 6:7-9; Eph 4:17-5:21; Col 3:5-10; 1 Thes 4:3-8; 2 Tim 3:1-5; 2 Pet 2:10-19; Mat 10:32-39; and Rev 14:9-12. Let's look at those, too.
Evil Things from Within Make a Man Unclean
Notice that in the Revelation 21 passage I quoted above, it says that nothing "unclean" will come into the Holy City of heaven. Our Lord Jesus defined what kinds of things make a man unclean, and this is not just an Old Testament concept, as some might think.
"And He was saying, 'That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man." (Mar 7:20-23)
But when do you hear people these days preaching against evil thoughts, deeds of coveting and wickedness, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, or foolishness? For that matter, when do you hear people preaching against deceit, thefts, murders, or adulteries? Preachers are afraid to offend people, so they do not name sin anymore, which will take you to hell. Jesus was not afraid to name sin. So we see that this is another list of things that make a man unclean, and Revelation 21:27 says that nothing unclean will enter the Holy City.
Those Who Practice Such Things Are Worthy Of Death
Another list is in Paul's epistle to the Romans. He said:
"And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them." (Rom 1:28-32).
This means that those who practice unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil, envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice, gossiping, slander, hatred of God, insolence, arrogance, boasting, inventing evil, disobedience to parents, or being without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, or unmerciful, they are worthy of death.
There Will Be Wrath and Indignation for Those Who Do Such Things
Paul went on to say:
"But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to each person according to his deeds: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation. There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek, but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God. For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law; for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified." (Rom 2:5-13)
Paul was clear that there will be wrath and indignation for those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, and do evil.
Immoral People Defined
In Paul's first epistle to the Corinthians, he defined who the immoral people are, and said we must not associate with any brother who is immoral by this definition:
"I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. 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." (1Co 5:9-11)
"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, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God." (1Co 6:9-11)
Paul was absolutely clear that neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. That is why we must avoid these sins and avoid associating with any so-called brother who is practicing these things.
And Things Like These
In his epistle to the Galatians, Paul listed the acts of the sinful nature.
"Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 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." (Gal 5:19-21)
Many teachers like to assume this is a complete list of all acts of the sinful nature. However, there are too many to list here, so Paul simply says, "...and things like these." He strictly warns us that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Have you ever stopped to wonder what is included in that little phrase "...and things like these"? Could you be practicing "things like these" that are not specifically listed here, but which nevertheless will keep you from inheriting the kingdom of God?
In that same letter to the Galatians, Paul was clear what he meant when he said such people would not inherit the kingdom of God. He said:
"Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary." (Gal 6:7-9)
So those who do not inherit the kingdom, as described in the Galatians 5 passage I quoted previously, will reap destruction, since they are sowing to their sinful nature.
Excluded from the Life of God
This next passage from Paul's epistle to the Ephesians is a rather long one, but notice all the sins he listed in it.
"So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity. He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need. Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you." (Eph 4:17-32)
The passage continues in the next chapter:
"Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. 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. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. For this reason it says, "Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you." Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ." (Eph 5:1-21)
Some of the sins listed in this long passage are immorality, filthiness, silly talk, coarse jesting, callousness, sensuality, impurity, greediness, the lusts of deceit, falsehood, stealing, unwholesome speech, speech that does not edify, grieving the Holy Spirit, bitterness, wrath, anger, letting the sun go down on your anger, giving the devil an opportunity, clamor, and slander, along with all malice, as well as unforgiveness. Any of these that were not listed specifically in Galatians 5 as acts of the flesh are examples of what Paul meant by "things like these" that will keep you from inheriting the kingdom of God. They should not even be named among God's people. Those who live like this are excluded from the life of God.
Because Of These Things The Wrath Of God Will Come Upon The Sons Of Disobedience
In Paul's epistle to the Colossians, he gave another list of sins that incur the wrath of God:
"Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him--" (Col 3:5-10)
This list includes immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry, anger, wrath, malice, slander, lying, and abusive speech from your mouth. We must put all of these away out of our lives. Paul clearly said that because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience.
The Lord Is The Avenger In All These Things
"For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification. So, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you." (1Th 4:3-8)
In this passage, Paul lists sexual immorality, lustful passion, and not possessing your own body in sanctification and honor, which is a very broad category of sin. He said the Lord is the avenger in all these things.
Avoid Such Men As These
In Paul's second epistle to Timothy he gave another list.
"But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these." (2Ti 3:1-5).
We are to avoid such men as these, who live like this. While they may have a form of godliness, they have denied the power to live a godly life, which is found only in the Holy Spirit. We know from Paul's letter to the Corinthians, which I have already quoted, he is not telling us to avoid those in the world who live like this, but so-called brothers and sisters in Christ.
He Keeps The Unrighteous Under Punishment For The Day Of Judgment
The last passage I would like to mention that gives a list of sins is in Peter's second epistle. He says:
Then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority. Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties, whereas angels who are greater in might and power do not bring a reviling judgment against them before the Lord. But these, like unreasoning animals, born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed, reviling where they have no knowledge, will in the destruction of those creatures also be destroyed, suffering wrong as the wages of doing wrong. They count it a pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are stains and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, as they carouse with you, having eyes full of adultery that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed, accursed children; forsaking the right way, they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; but he received a rebuke for his own transgression, for a mute donkey, speaking with a voice of a man, restrained the madness of the prophet. These are springs without water and mists driven by a storm, for whom the black darkness has been reserved. For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved. (2Pe 2:9-19)
Peter said the Lord knows how to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment. He gave some examples of unrighteous people that included those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority. Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties. They have greedy, adulterous hearts that revel in the daytime, reveling in their deceptions, carousing, enticing unstable souls, forsaking the right way, going astray, following the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness, speaking out arrogant words of vanity, enticing others by fleshly desires and by sensuality. The Lord will punish all such people in the same eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
Although lawlessness is not in any of the other lists mentioned above, it will keep you from heaven.
Jesus said, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.'" (Mat 7:21-23)
The Greek word for lawlessness is "anomia" meaning "violation of law or (generally) wickedness" (Strongs). So the Lord taught that if you practice violations of the law or wickedness, He does not know you and will command you to depart from Him. He said that only he who does the will of our Father who is in heaven will enter the kingdom of heaven. That is why Walking in the Perfect Will of God is absolutely necessary. For as John said, "The one who says, 'I have come to know Him,' and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him;" (1Jn 2:4).
Many of these same sins listed in the New Testament are found in the Law and the Prophets, which were the only Scriptures the apostles had during the first century. However, cursed is he that observes the Law, who insists on pleasing God through works, and denies what Christ did for us on the cross. The Scripture says: "For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.’ Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because 'the righteous will live by faith.'” (Gal 3:10-11). Never Trust in Your Own Good Works. If you are still not sure which part of the Law and the Prophets we must obey, then please see these other articles of mine that explain it.
Among the lists of sins that Jesus warned about is denying Christ. Yet Jesus said:
"Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven. Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man's enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. "And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.” (Mat 10:32-39)
Paul said, "If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us;" (2Ti 2:12)
Although the apostle Peter denied Christ three times in one night, he repented of it and was forgiven. In addition to denying Christ, some other sins Jesus listed that will keep you from heaven are loving father, mother, son or daughter more than Him, not taking your cross and following after Him, and finding your life.
Not Loving the Lord
Let us not forget the greatest commandment! Recall the time when a lawyer asked Jesus, " 'Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?’ And He said to him, 'You shall love the Lord 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." (Mat 22:36-40)
Paul pronounced an eternal curse on anyone who does not love the Lord, when he wrote: "If anyone does not love the Lord, he is to be accursed. Maranatha." (1Co 16:22).
Blaspheming the Holy Spirit
Another sin that is not mentioned in any of the lists is blaspheming the Holy Spirit, but Jesus strictly warned us about it. He said:
"Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come." (Mat 12:31-32)
He was clear that while any other sin shall be forgiven if you repent, blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. For more on this, please see Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.
Taking the Mark of the Beast
I want to mention some sins listed in the book of Revelation, which are not found elsewhere in the Bible. The apostle John wrote:
"Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, 'If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.' Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus." (Rev 14:9-12)
Anyone who worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, will be tormented with fire and brimstone forever and ever. They will not enter heaven. Do not under any circumstances commit any of these sins. For more on this, please see The Mark of the Beast (666).
Our Lord said in His sermon on the Mount, "For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions." (Mat 6:14-15).
He also taught us the parable of the unmerciful servant, in which the one who was forgiven so much refused to forgive someone else what they owed him.
"Then Peter came and said to Him, 'Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?' Jesus said to him, 'I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made. So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, "Have patience with me and I will repay you everything." And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt. But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, "Pay back what you owe." So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, "Have patience with me and I will repay you." But he was unwilling and went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed. So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened. Then summoning him, his lord said to him, "You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?" And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.'" (Mat 18:21-35)
In this parable, the lord of the unmerciful servant, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. The heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart. There are many people in hell for unforgiveness, so please don't let that happen to you.
Refusing Him Who Speaks
The writer of Hebrews wrote: "See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven." (Heb 12:25)
Compilation of Lists
The lists we have just reviewed include such sins as those in the following compilation:
Not doing the will of our Father who is in heaven, refusing Him who speaks and warns us from heaven, forsaking the right way, going astray, loving self, loving money, boastfulness, arrogance, reviling (verbal abuse of people), disobedience to parents, ungratefulness, being unholy, being unloving, being irreconcilable, without self-control, brutality, hating good, treacherousness, recklessness, conceit, loving pleasure rather than loving God, holding to a form of godliness but denying its power, relying on the works of the law or observing the law, eating things sacrificed to idols, eating blood, eating the meat of strangled animals, loving or practicing lying, deceit, sorcery, sensuality, impurity, passion, homosexual acts, sexual immorality, fornication, adultery, idolatry, practicing abomination, evil desire, evil thoughts, deeds of coveting and wickedness, envying, pride, foolishness, greed, thefts (including stealing from God what belongs to God or from Caesar what belongs to Caesar), practicing unrighteousness, lawlessness, sowing to the flesh, indulging the flesh in its corrupt desires, evil, murder, strife, malice, gossiping, slander, speaking unwholesome words, abusive speech, filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, despising authority, being daring, self-willed, reviling angelic majesties, enticing unstable souls, following the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness, loving father, mother, son or daughter more than Jesus, not taking your cross and following after Jesus, finding your life, denying Christ, not loving the Lord, hatred of God, grieving the Holy Spirit of God, blasphemy of the Spirit (this sin shall not be forgiven), receiving the mark of the beast on your forehead or hand, worshiping the beast or his image, unforgiveness, insolence, arrogance, speaking out arrogant words of vanity, boasting, inventing evil, being without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, or unmerciful, being an effeminate (a catamite), being selfishly ambitious and not obeying the truth, but obeying unrighteousness, and doing evil; drunkenness, swindling, immorality, enmities, strife, jealousy, bitterness, wrath, outbursts of anger, clamor, slander, malice, callousness, disputes, dissensions, factions, carousing, and things like these.
However, this is by no means a comprehensive list. And we have not even looked at any of the Scriptures from the Old Testament yet!
Putting it All Together
So we can see that the list of sins forbidden at the First Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15 were not the only ones that take people to hell. In the New Testament there is no single, comprehensive list of sins that will keep you from heaven, in terms of specifically naming each and every individual sin. In fact, there are several lists.
And even though we examined many such passages in this article, I did not even mention failing to evangelize the lost, not Keeping Sundays Holy, or The Forgotten Sin of Worldliness. This is why Paul used the expression "and things like these" to describe the acts of the sinful nature that keep people from inheriting the kingdom of God. Sin will keep you from heaven, and there are no small sins.
Don't be fooled by anyone who tells you we don't need to obey the Word of God. The Word of God is not just the New Testament Scriptures, but it includes the whole the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Don't let anyone tell you that it is legalism to obey God. Paul said that what counts is keeping God's commandments (1 Cor 7:19). And that explains why James added at the First Church Council in Jerusalem his reason for limiting the list to the sins he named for the Gentiles coming to Christ was this: "For Moses from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath." James knew that Gentiles have heard of God's commandments which are preached in every city. He was implying that we who follow Christ must obey the commandments of God, which we can only do by the power of the Spirit. Rather than seeking to observe the Law, live by the Spirit! For without Christ we can do nothing.
Whether or not you are a Christian, if you are practicing any of these sins or "things like these", you need to know they will take you to hell. You will perish unless you repent. But please don't put it off until later, or else it may be too late. Mercy is only available while you are on earth. Jesus still loves you, but His standard for heaven is high and He's not going to lower it for anyone. Cry out to the Lord Jesus to forgive you, and then with His help live for Him, producing the fruits of repentance.
Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.
Author's note: You are invited to read Abominations in the Sight of God, To Sin or Not to Sin, Aim for Perfection, Godly Attire and Adornment -- Seven Divine Revelations, Carrying Your Cross or Cross Dressing?, Tattoos and Body Piercing, Michael Shigaba's Encounter with Jesus, Alcohol and Cigarettes -- Ten Divine Revelations, A Warning for Christian Married Couples, Messages from the Lord for Catholics Worshipping Idols, Keeping Sundays Holy - Part I, Keeping Sundays Holy - Part II, Rock, Rap, and Reggae Music -- Three Divine Revelations, The Origin of Sin, Satan, and Secular Music, Is it a Sin to Take Medicine?, Is Contraception a Sin? -- A Divine Revelation, The Forgotten Sin of Worldliness, Led by the Spirit, Called to be Blameless, Holy Living in a Perverted World, Never Trust in Your Own Good Works, Separation from the World, and Fruit in Every Season. You may access the Main Directory for this Seeking the Lord blog for more articles like this, as well as my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."
Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus. Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?
“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15). He preached that we must repent and believe.
Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International. He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.