Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 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.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11
We Can All Identify
A young man sat in church as a first-time guest. The pastor read these words of Paul, then asked for anyone who had these sins in their background to stand. At first, no one did. Then, after some hesitation, most everyone got to their feet. The young man thought, “These are my kind of people.”
Another young man stood in church as a guest speaker. He shared his story of sinful rebellion, God’s relentless pursuit, his eventual repentance and restoration, and his daily wrestle with sin. Then, someone asked him how he labeled himself. The young man replied, “I am a redeemed child of God.”
There is no difference between any of us. We can all point to a sin on Paul’s list that wants to master us. We can all say, “That was me.” We may have embraced that sin at one time, but we no longer identify with it. We are looking at that sin in the rear-view mirror. It may be closer than we would like, but by the grace of God and a life of daily repentance, it is behind us.
For we were washed. Certain household bleach may claim to remove 99.9 percent of germs. But in baptism, Christ cleanses us of 100 percent of our sin.
We were sanctified. Like the boy in the bubble, God’s protecting grace surrounds us. He sets us apart from everything that looks to disqualify us from inheriting eternal life.
We were justified. The devastating evidence of our wrongdoing is all around us. Yet because of Jesus, God sees past our sin. He focuses on his Son’s sinless life and sacrificial death on the cross and declares that we are not guilty.
You are not your sin. You are a redeemed child of God, an heir of eternal life!
Gracious God, thank you for my new identity in Christ. Help me daily to leave my past behind and press on toward the prize to which you have called me. Amen.