“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But 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 Cor. 6:9-11 ESV
In this letter to the Corinthian believers, Paul is having to deal with a number of serious sins among the flock that have been reported to him. Having established this community of believers himself in Acts 18, Paul has a particular and loving interest in their health.
While wickedness was rampant across the whole Roman empire, Corinth was especially known for its sexual immorality and many idolatrous temples, and often these things were even mixed together. Thus many in the Corinthian church surely were once sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, homosexuals, thieves, greedy, drunks, revilers, and swindlers.
The same goes for us. In this nation, in this community, in this church, and in this room. We are all part of the same story.
But praise God, we too have been washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of Jesus and by the Spirit of God.
Therefore brothers, when your heart is troubled by the forgiven sins of your past, when you feel accused by demons tugging at your sleeves – remember the words of Paul: “and such were some of you.” For we know that “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Yes – those who commit those sins mentioned and all other unrighteousness will not inherit the kingdom of God. But we have been cleansed of all unrighteousness and given the righteousness of Christ, which comes by faith and repentance.
This is the story of God’s people. This is what he does. He makes the unrighteous righteous. He makes the unholy holy. He makes the unlovely lovely. He makes His enemies His friends. He makes perverted Corinthians saints and Paul the Persecutor an Apostle.
This story is authored by God, and we know how it ends. Let us continue to fight our sin, resting in Him who has accomplished it all for us. For He will sustain us to the end, “guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Christ Church, Moscow, ID
31 October 2018