1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Galatians 5:19-21, Ephesians 5:5, 1 John 3:9, and 1 John 3:15
- ¶ Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
- Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are [these]; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told [you] in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)
- For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. (Ephesians 5:5)
- Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. (1 John 3:9)
- Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. (1 John 3:15)
These four passages from the scriptures are sometimes provided as evidence to show that people who live less than perfect lives cannot be saved. This conclusion is based upon the premise that these, and other scriptures of a similar nature, are talking about what we can see with our eyes, the sins the flesh, and that those will prevent us from going to heaven.
I've put together a teaching in which I tried to outline my understanding of the difference between the flesh and the born-again spirit. The spirit of a born-again Christian is without sin and perfect, whereas the flesh of that same Christian is not at all perfect. This dichotomy creates a war in that Christian's life:
- But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him [that was born] after the Spirit, even so [it is] now. (Galatians 4:29)
- For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. (Galatians 5:17)
In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, I believe it's simply talking about our flesh (for the saved) and the unsaved, who don't have perfected spirits. Is it difficult to get a perfected spirit? No, God does that for us when we believe the gospel. In Galatians 5:19-21 there is an obvious parallel with 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, it even tells you those examples are works of the flesh. And Ephesians 5:5 closely parallels the other two passages.
In 1 John 3:9, they which are born of God have a perfect spirit that will not sin. This isn't something the Christian has to struggle with, that's just the nature of the born-again spirit. God preserves it. 1 John 3:15 can be understood in the same way, the born-again spirit won't sin and won't hate his brother, so this scripture doesn't apply. Our flesh might though, but our flesh will die sooner or later, so it all fits.