Recently, I had a conversation with “Christian” businessmen who make a practice of manipulating financial documents and transactions in order to avoid taxation or accountability to monitoring agencies. All this is done, they tell me, to help both the customer and themselves realize a fair profit. No one is hurt. All involved stand to gain.
When I challenged them on this routine, they responded, “Dwight… that‘s the way it is done here. You just can‘t operate any other way.”
That evening, as I recounted our conversation, I could not get a particular Scripture out of my mind:
“Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither… thieves nor the greedy nor… swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9a, 10)
According to this passage, three classes of people are not going to heaven:
Thieves – Perhaps you will recognize the Greek word: kleptes – from which we get kleptomaniac. This is someone who is compelled to take what is not rightfully his; is driven to take more than his fair share. In many quarters, it is standard business practice to ask, “How can we bilk others in such a way that we leave a smile on their face?”
The greedy – This person, in his scramble to get, or stay ahead of the rest of the pack, has an avaricious appetite for more, and is willing to defraud others to get it.
Swindlers – The other night while eating in a restaurant, I observed a man attack his meal. Noodles hung from his lips. His cheeks were stuffed to the breaking point with food, as he gulped liquid to wash it all down. Then another helping. Gulping, etc. That is the spirit of a swindler: Grasping. Gluttonous. Ravenous. Predatory. In a hurry.
As people whose lives have been transformed by the Lord Jesus, are we not compelled to express that change in such a manner that the people around us sit up and ask, “Why are these people so different?” After all,
“You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11)