I came across these verses as I was going through 1 Corinthians in Puritan Dr. John Gill’s commentary:
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 – “9 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, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.“
Reviling is listed here by Paul as a great sin. But what does reviling mean? Here is what Gill says:
who are free with other men’s characters, load them with reproaches, and take away their good names; either openly or secretly, either by tale bearing, whispering, and backbiting, or by raising and spreading scandalous reports in a public manner.
That’s pretty clear, and convicting.
Reviling is highly divisive and strife-causing, allowing the devil to drive in wedges, which he knows works to destroy (Matt 12:25). Even secret reviling is a grievous sin. Sadly, I find this in myself at times, for which I ask God for forgiveness and that He grant me repentance and help against this.
More from Gill:
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?
[Paul said this] partly to reprove them for their injurious and unrighteous actions among themselves, their tricking and defrauding of one another, with other sins they were guilty of; which, if not repented of, would show, that notwithstanding their profession, they were destitute of the grace of God, were unfit to be in the kingdom of God, in a Gospel church state here below, and would be shut out of the kingdom of heaven hereafter.
That should be frightening.
Obviously, the Lord Christ never reviled, but He was constantly reviled here. And who reviled Him the most? Knowledgeable, self-righteous religiousites who claimed to be following the true God, Jehovah.
It is no different than today, where those who claim to be followers of Jehovah the Son, Christ Jesus, revile, and revile much. I’ve had heathen friends more forgiving and less reviling than what I’ve seen in churches and fellowships or experienced personally. And if Christ is our example, we should expect to be receive the same treatment from the same type of people.
But, we should pray the Lord grant we imitate His perfect response:
1 Peter 2:23 – “Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:“
May God grant us forgiveness and repentance from any reviling, even that which is in our hearts; may He mold us in the image of Christ and grant us His graces so He may glorify Himself in reflecting Himself in us; and may we leave ourselves and our circumstances to Him that judges righteously.
Matthew 5:10-11 – “11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.“