I know that sounds like a weird question. I mean, it’s in the Bible. It’s part of God’s inspired Word. Of course you believe it. You don’t even have to know what it says. You believe it.
That’s easy to say. It’s a completely different discussion to prove that you believe it by living it.
I Corinthians 6:9-10 says: “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.”
We all believe that, and we do our best to live by it. I keep my life sexually pure. I don’t steal. I don’t get drunk. I want to go to heaven.
We hold to those passages. These are beliefs that have been firmly grounded in most all of us since the time we understood what those words meant. So why even ask the question? Well, we didn’t look at verse 11.
I Corinthians 6:11 says: “And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”
Well, of course, we believe that. Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). We know that our sins are washed away and that we have a home waiting for us in heaven (I John 5:13). The problem is that because a lot of us have never struggled with the sins of verses 9-10 in our lives, we look at those who do struggle as if they are tarnished beyond repair.
That’s why I ask if we believe verse 11. Apparently, some of those Christians in Corinth had struggled with it, and they had been sanctified. They had been justified. That’s what the power of Christ’s blood can do.
So when we look at someone who is living in homosexuality, or someone who seems to worship his job, or someone who brags about cheating on her taxes, why do we look down on that person? I’m not saying we should simply overlook the sin as if it doesn’t exist, but why do we sometimes look at that person and think, “Wow. That guy’s going to have a rude awakening at judgment.” Or maybe worse, we try to subtly avoid those in our own congregation who have had a rough past?
If we are living like that, then we may believe I Corinthians 6:9-10, but we don’t believe verse 11. For anyone who has given up their selfish pursuits for a life of obedience to Christ, then that past life has been forgiven and forgotten (Isaiah 43:25). But it is the attitude of many Christians that is keeping some out of the Church. Paul wrote this to Christians who understood because they had these sins in their past, according to verse 11. I mean, Paul himself had these sins in his past.
So do we. Maybe my past has not included these specific sins, but it has included sin (Romans 3:23), and those sins are just as damning (Romans 6:23). May we never look at another individual and think that they are too far beyond the saving blood of Christ. Instead, we should look at every person as a potential brother or sister in Christ. We should look at every person as someone who needs Christ. We need to realize that God can forgive any past.
So, do you believe I Corinthians 6:11?