I received the following question:

I have often wondered what Paul meant when he said, “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” if this is not THE REWARD OF THE INHERITANCE in Colossians 3:24. Certainly he is not saying in Ephesians that if one does these things they will not be saved in the end. I have taken it to mean that these would have no part in the reigning inheritance that would be theirs if they suffered and remained faithful until He appears. I have even wondered if these would even be raised from the dead until after the thousand years are finished since they were unfaithful. These are just some thoughts that I’ve had about this passage.

If it is talking about rewards at all, then I would agree that this would be the reward that we are to receive for faithful service, and the Lord is telling us that doing these things could strip you of this reward. However, I am not certain that it is talking about rewards at all.  

Remember that a kingdom is a government. When we consider the governments of this world, we know that often those who have their portion in these governments and who wield great authority within them are not the kind of persons that God would like to see there. How many government officials are the type who would, indeed, visit prostitutes? How many commit unclean acts? Many there are in our own government who use the very covetousness of the people to gain support for themselves and their schemes to buy votes. Many in spirit, if not in physical reality, hold up idols in their hearts rather than acknowledging the true God. Yet these men, unfit to reign in any kind of Godly government, are the type who as a whole populate the high positions of the governments of this world. This is not strange, for this is the type of men that we see most commonly around us every day.
 
Yet when God’s government comes, this will not be the way it is. You will not find any of His governors ever visiting a prostitute. They will not be the type of people who will be caught in scandals regarding various unclean acts. Like the men chosen by Moses’ direction in Exodus 18:21, they will hate all forms of covetousness. They will honor the true God in their hearts, and not set up false idols to worship. These are the type of men who will have a place and enjoy a portion in the government of Christ, even of God, that will yet be set up on this earth.
 
This, ultimately, is what I believe this passage is saying. I do not think that Paul is warning these people that, if they do these things, they will lose something. Rather, he is using this as an example as to why they should not live this way. Those who are honored by God with positions in the government to come are those who do not do these things. Therefore, as those seeking to live for God, they should not be living this way either.

In verse 6, Paul uses the opposite example of the sons of disobedience, upon whom wrath is coming. He is not warning these people that they could lose their salvation and become one of these sons of disobedience. That has been taken care of by the fact that they are “in Christ.” Yet those who are in Christ should act like God’s governors will in times to come, not like those destined for destruction do in the present, evil eon. That, I believe, is what the Holy Spirit is teaching them here. I do not think “how do I get to be a governor in time to come” is the question that is being dealt with here, or that is at all in the picture. That is dealt with elsewhere, but not here.
 
As you correctly point out from II Timothy 4:8, certain rewards are given based on certain kinds of faithfulness. Certainly, there is a reward for those who know and love the truth. However, I do not believe that there is really a hint of rewards in the book of Ephesians.

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