As we’ve already seen in the last couple chapters, the church at Corinth was struggling with some serious sin issues. They were turning a blind eye to sexual immorality within the church, allowing disunity and conflict to get out of hand, and in general letting culture and the world influence them more than the truth of God’s Word. But as Paul starts to address these issues and bring strong words of rebuke, he also sprinkles in words of encouragement—reminding them who they are in Christ and that despite their struggles with sin, they are still redeemed children of God. They just needed to learn how to act and live like it
“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, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 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 Corinthians 6:9-11
Here, Paul wanted to remind the Corinthians of a simple truth: sin alienates us from God. Unrighteous people will not be able to live in the presence of God for eternity. It is impossible. Therefore, the Corinthians should not deceive themselves by thinking that some habitual sin is okay in the life of the Christian. Paul makes it very clear: those who practice willful, habitual sin will not inherit God’s kingdom.
But why is sin so serious and impactful on our eternal destiny? Sin separates humanity from a holy God. Despite what progressives and other popular modern church movements try to teach, sin is serious and completely severs relationship and fellowship with the Almighty. In fact, sin not only separates us from God, it also invokes His wrath because God is a God of justice and righteousness. Therefore, we should not take sin lightly nor should we entertain or harbor sin in our lives.
When Christ died on the cross, He paid the price of our transgressions and bore the wrath of God on our behalf so that we could stand righteous before the holiness of God. This saving and redeeming work was meant to break the bonds of sin over us and give us new life. For this reason, we must leave the past behind and not allow former sins to take root in our lives, deceiving and disqualifying us from the kingdom of God.
This is why Paul switched gears in 1 Corinthians 6. While sin is ugly and condemns us to a life separated from God, the good news is that we don’t have to stay in that state. Jesus Christ has made a way for us to be reconciled and redeemed. In Him, the past is gone and new life begins, as Paul noted, “such were some of you.” But, in Christ, the Corinthian believers were washed, sanctified, and justified by the blood of the Lamb. Therefore, they needed to leave their past behind and walk in a way that reflected their redeemed status.
Likewise, we are the redeemed of the Lord who have been given new life and power over sin. Therefore, let us live like it! Let us leave the past behind, continuing the battle against habitual sin and not allowing the old nature to dominate our lives. For like the Corinthians, we used to be unrighteous, but now we are washed, sanctified, and justified by the blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Praise the Lord!
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