1 Corinthians 6:9-11

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,

10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.

11 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.

fornicators (v.9) — sexual immorality in general

idolaters (v.9) — in pagan culture, often associated with fornication

revilers (v.10) — use abusive language

you were washed (v.11) = lit. “you washed yourself” — not that they did the washing, but they chose to be washed

you were sanctified (v.11) — passive voice — the work of the Spirit to separate them to God and from sin

you were justified (v.11) — declared righteous before God — The members of the Corinthian church were saved (such were some of you). But it is obvious from Paul’s letter that they were also sinning, so the “shall not inherit the kingdom of God” in verses 9 and 10 can only refer to those who sin and haven’t been washed, sanctified and justified. In other words, those who go to hell do so because of these sins. Those who inherit the kingdom of God, while still sinning, have had their sins paid for. But Paul’s point is that, as believers, they should not be doing the things that send unbelievers to hell.

After Paul’s long list of those who shall not “inherit the kingdom of God,” he says, “and such were some of you” (v.11). Why did he not say, “and such are some of you”? for it was for just such sins as those listed in verses 9-10 that he had so sternly rebuked them.

Verse 11 explains why he could say to these Corinthians, so stained with sin, “and such WERE some of you.” Read the whole verse again and see: “And such were some of you; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”

It is true: not one who can be designated as those listed in verses 9-10 will ever enter the presence of God. But by grace we have been washed, sanctified and justified by the Spirit, through our Lord’s redemptive work: “made accepted in the Beloved” and pronounced “complete in Him” (Ephesians 1:6; Colossians 2:10).

And this is just why these Corinthians were exhorted to live lives that honored, rather than disgraced, the Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle clearly indicates that the very sins for which he had rebuked them were those for which the lost shall perish forever, as they are judged “every man according to his works.” But “you,” he says, “have been cleansed, and sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by the Spirit of our God.” — Stam, pages 117-118.

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