The apostle Paul is not shy about telling people what he thinks, especially to those who are doing wrong. Needless to say, Paul is not gentle about stating conviction, nor is he ‘low-key’ on speaking the truth in love. And I do believe, that while Paul is bold and brash sometimes, he speaks the truth in love. Let’s face it, sometimes truth hurts … and I think truth is supposed to hurt … especially when it’s coming from the Spirit.
And Paul knew this. He knew this all too well.
1 Corinthians 6, Paul is talking about Christians behaving badly, about starting lawsuits and passing judgments around people within the church. From there, he goes on to talk about those who are not going to inherit the kingdom of GOD (vs. 9-10); and here’s where things getting a little uncomfortable for most people.
If we were to look at the provided list of sins, here’s what we’ll find:
- sexually immorality
A pretty hefty list. Some would read that list above and focus only on the sins that are sexual; while others would try to justify why some of those sins aren’t really ‘that bad’. Still others would even go as far as removing some of those sins, stating that through research they have found that how we interpret this passage isn’t how it’s really written. This mainly is the case when the pro-gay theorist and churches try to justify homosexuality. For some great teachings on this subject, check out Articles.
Where I want to go with this passage is somewhere different. I want to look at verse 11, because frankly when most pastors preach on this passage or reference this passage, either verse 11 is not included or passed over way too quickly. I have find, and personally believe, that verse 11 holds a lot more weight than what most give it credit for. I believe that verse 11 is just as important as other weighty verses, like John 3:16 and Matthew 28:18-20. Why? Because verse 11 is one of the scriptures that holds the power of JESUS’ death and resurrection, the very foundations of our Christian belief.
Paul starts off verse 11 by stating that verses 9-10 are what we used to be, but that now we’re different. We’ve been changed. We’ve been wiped clean, and given a fresh start. Paul uses the word wash, as in being made clean from our ugliness and shame. In comparison, we are no longer considered to be lepers – who were the major outcast back in JESUS’ day.
But Paul doesn’t just tell us that we’re now clean. He goes on to say that not only are we clean, but we are also sanctified – positionally in CHRIST. Furthermore, we are justified by GOD – which means that when HE looks upon us, HE looks upon us as children and not orphans. How? Because through the name of JESUS and by the Spirit we have been adopted into the family of GOD – we have been taken back into a family that we were kidnapped from so long ago.
You are no longer Greedy Joe; rather you are now GOD’S son Joe. You are no longer Sleazy Sally; rather you are now GOD’S daughter Sally. You are not longer Proud Mary … no longer Adulterous Pete … no longer Homosexual Shawn … rather, all in CHRIST are a new creation: the old has gone and the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17).
This isn’t cheesy theology. Though it may sound that way, many people do not believe these truths. Many live in their sin not because they can’t leave it but because they don’t want to leave it. For some people, their ‘family’ is a sin that has provided security for them – false security – and it’s all they’ve ever known and trusted. Many people believe that for GOD to forgive them for what they’ve done, is too much of a chore for even GOD to accomplish. Many live within the lies of deception and bondage that not only is there no hope for them, but even if they did escape they would be back in the same rut before the end of the week.
Paul offers this testament of truth not as a ‘nice saying’ to hang on the wall of your house, rather this truth is intended to offer freedom to those who pursue it.
Is change possible? Yes.
For every sin? Yes.
For homosexuality? Most definitely.
The only way this truth is not going to work, is if we don’t apply it to our daily lives. Notice I said DAILY lives. I firmly believe that because of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, Christians have all the power they need to get through the day every morning. Look at Lamentations 3:21-23
Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: because of the LORD’S great love we are not consumed, for HIS compassions [mercies] never fail. They are new every morning; great is YOUR faithfulness.
Each morning when we arise, we have a new portion of mercy from GOD to get us through the next 24-hours. We have what it will take to walk in HIM instead of our old ways, if we tap into it. The more we ignore it, the less effective it becomes throughout the day. Each choice we make has a consequence attached to it – good or bad. This isn’t a magic formula, rather it’s simply scripture being put to use.
Each day when we awake, we need to remind ourselves of two key things: we are no longer enslaved to our past (1 Corinthians 6:11), and GOD’S portion of mercy is enough for us to survive the day at hand (Lam 3:22-23).