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Washed, Sanctified, Justified

Washed, Sanctified, Justified

Words of Faith 5-23-17

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2017

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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1 Corinthians 6

   [9] Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders [10] nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. [11] And that is what some of you were. 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.


         Paul had just given a stern reminder that everything that believers do in the public arena is a witness of the Lord's work and the nature of the Gospel. Christians suing each other in court was a defeat for the Kingdom of God. Some were cheating others and doing wrong in the court system while others were just responding in kind.

       Dragging a fellow believer into civil court gave a terrible witness to the world that Christians cannot even solve disputes among themselves. This was a defeat for the advance of the Gospel. Considering all that Paul had given up in order to preach the Gospel to the lost, it would make more sense to simply take whatever losses may be at stake. In eternity, there were more important things.

        To make the point, Point gave a third reminder-- "Do you not know". This was a reminder to consider the power of God's grace that had been at work in their lives. The Corinthians had been lifted by God out of all sorts of wickedness. No one could claim some "moral high ground" based upon their works.

       Paul made it clear that there was a huge gap that existed between those who are in Christ and those that they were asking to judge their disputes in court. This was not reason for spiritual snobbery. It was a reminder of the stench they had come from and the glory to which they were going!

         Paul could not have been more clear that the wicked would have no share in God's future kingdom because they were not related to Christ, the Heir. The wicked would one day be judged by the believers (1 Cor. 6:2) on the basis of their works (Rev. 20:13) which would condemn them.

         The problem was that the believers, who had been saved by God's grace, were acting no differently than "the wicked"! Paul's argument is that for believers, their future role should radically affect their practice in the present. "Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure" (1 John 3:3).

         As a reminder, Paul listed the wretched sorts of lives that God had saved them from. The list of offenses reveals the problems in Corinth and in other large cities of the day. There were various types of sexual immorality in their past. Homosexuality and male prostitution were very common in Greco-Roman society. Plato lauded homosexual love in "The Symposium". Nero, emperor at the time Paul wrote this letter, was about to marry the boy Sporus. This was only bizarre because of the formality of the event. Fourteen of the first fifteen Roman emperors were homosexual or bisexual.

       Sexual sins were not the only offenses lurking in Corinthian society and the church: "Nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God" (6:10).

      Those who placed money, material goods and financial gain ahead of all else were rebuked as well. Some, but not all, of the Corinthian Christians had been guilty of the very sins listed here. We are reminded of the wonder of God's amazing that had intervened.

       Paul detailed the work of God in a believer who is washed, sanctified and justified. The Corinthian believers had been washed by the Spirit: “He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit" (Titus 3:5).

       They had been sanctified in the Son: "To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ--their Lord and ours" (1 Cor. 1:2). They had been justified before God: "Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies" (Romans 8:33).  

           All of this should have had a sobering effect upon those who were tempted to go into court over petty grievances and disputes that would be long forgotten in the Kingdom of Heaven.

           There was also a sobering warning here about the danger of sliding back into those places. Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus: "But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person--such a man is an idolater--has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient" (Ephes. 5:3-6).

           What do we gain from all this? Paul calls us to carefully walk in faithfulness in response to the work of grace in our lives. He calls us to look at the bigger picture in those times when we are tempted to demand our own way or litigate an issue. We need to consider our witness and think about the larger eternal consequences that are at stake.

         Paul never said that it was wrong to go to court against an unbeliever in any circumstance, but we should be careful how we do that, if such a thing is necessary. We are called, in our relationships with other believers, to find better ways within the Body to resolve disputes than in the courts. We need to be on guard not to fall back into the ways of the world that God has lifted us from. We live in constant gratitude.


         Lord Jesus, thank You for Your work upon the cross. Thank You Holy Spirit for washing me. Thank You God for justifying me before Your holy presence. Lord, keep me close to You in the matters of daily living. Keep my eyes on the things that are eternal. In Jesus' Name.