1 Cor. 6:9-11 – 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.
One of the key problems in the church in Corinth was being influenced by the immoral city they were all part of. The interesting thing is that after two thousand years not much has changed. The list of sinful behavior is quite familiar to all of us: sexual immorality, stealing, greed, drunken behavior, verbal abuse (revilers), swindlers, homosexuality. Rather than making an excuse to cover up and allow this behavior in church Paul was very clear; this is the life we used to live. We can no longer be part of this behavior. Paul used three beautiful words to describe our escape from sin. First he says we are washed apolouo. We are washed from our sins by the blood of Jesus, we confirm this by being baptized in water, and we are daily washed by the washing of the powerful word of God. Next, Paul said that we are sanctified. This is a beautiful Bible word; hagiazo in the greek. It means we have been separated, cleansed, purified, and made holy for the Lord. We are now God’s property. We no longer belong to this world.
The next word is the word justified, dikaioo. The moment we believe in the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ something beyond amazing happens too us. We are declared righteous by God. The person we used to be is forgiven and changed. From God’s perspective we have no sin in our account. We are rendered just and righteous by God.
So if you are honest Corinth is no different from New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, or New Orleans for that matter. The world is corrupt and has taken its toll on church over the last few years. Have I given up hope? Absolutely not. I believe in the power of the gospel. I also believe there is a community today that can say like Paul, “such were some of you”. There is going to be a new generation that embraces what Paul is saying. A generation that says we are washed, sanctified, and justified.
1 Cor.6:9-11 – Or 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 effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
One of the sure signs of a real move of God is changed lives. That was the argument Jonathan Edwards made in his writing, ‘The Distinguish Marks’ in his defense of the Great Awakening. He described numerous individuals that he knew personally that had a dramatic change in their lives after they were influenced by the move of God. At the end of the day that is how we know if something that looks like revival is legitimate. Are people being liberated from past habits? Is there a new interest in the Bible and going to worship services? Are those influenced by the move focused on Christ? These characteristics are a sure sign that you are dealing with something quite different from emotionalism. Here is how William Cooper described the atmosphere of the awakening in its earliest days in his introduction to Edwards work, ‘The Distinguishing Marks’.
“Some of the most rude and disorderly are become regular in their behavior, and sober in all things. The gay and airy are become grave and serious. Some of the greatest sinners have appeared to be turned into real saints. Drunkards have become temperate: fornicators and adulterers of a chaste conversation; swearers and profane persons have learned to fear that glorious and fearful name, the Lord their God; and carnal worldlings have been made to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. Yea, deriders and scoffers at this work and the instruments of it, have come under its conquering power. Some of this stamp, who have gone to hear the preacher, as some did Paul—”What will this babbler say?”—have not been able to resist the power and the spirit with which he spake; have sat trembling under the Word, and gone away from it weeping; and afterward did cleave unto the preacher…”
I love this description of revival, how can you argue with this? Drunkards are temperate, adulterers are modest and chaste, and mockers have been conquered by God. My favorite, swearers have learned to fear the glorious Name. Sounds like the real thing to me.