Ezra 10:18-44; 1 Corinthians 6:9-20; Psalms 31:21-22; Proverbs 11:20-21
NT: “Don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit God’s kingdom? Do not be deceived: No sexually immoral people, idolaters, adulterers, or males who have sex with males [both actively and passively], no thieves, greedy people, drunkards, verbally abusive people, or swindlers will inherit God’s kingdom. And some of you used to be like this. 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… “Food is for the stomach and the stomach for food,” and God will do away with both of them. However, the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body… Don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought at a price. So glorify God with your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11, 13, 19-20 CSB)
Not assuming anything, Paul made it very clear that the kingdom of God will not be inherited by those who are unrighteous. To clear up any confusion as to what was included in unrighteousness, Paul gave a list of unrighteous practices. This list is not comprehensive, but it was inclusive of the unrighteous practices that were from the Corinthian believers’ past. Within the church in Corinth, there were undoubtedly people who were once very sexually promiscuous, people who worshipped and sacrificed to idols, people who cheated on their spouses, men who were once temple prostitutes and men who used the male temple prostitutes. There were also people who were once thieves, people who were greedy, people who were drunkards, people who were verbally abusive, and people who swindled others. The people in the Corinthian church came from a very unrighteous past – but that was not their present – and by the grace of God, would not be their future. Paul wrote, “And some of you used to be like this,” implying that they were not like that any more. How had they changed? They had been washed (fully), sanctified (separated and purified from the profanity of their past and dedicated to God), and justified (declared righteous) through their faith in the name of Jesus Christ and by the working of the Holy Spirit. The sin of their past was no longer a part of them… they had been transformed… they had been born again and made new. Because of that, the sins of their past should not have a place in their lives going forward. Can a person actually be transformed through salvation by grace through faith? Can a racist be transformed into someone who loves all races? Can a rapist be transformed into someone who truly respects, honors and cherishes others selflessly? In Christ, as they submit to the working of the Holy Spirit, the answer is Yes!
When we live a life of grace, we are no longer subject to the righteous requirements of the law. We are able to eat different types of food with freedom. As Jesus taught, food goes into the stomach and is then eliminated. Immorality, especially sexual immorality, is not like that. We are not free to imbibe in immoral behaviors. If we have been washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of Christ, our lives (and our bodies) have been bought by Christ with His shed blood on the cross. If we have been washed, sanctified, and justified by the work of the Holy Spirit, our bodies are now the temple of the Holy Spirit. Our bodies are not to be used as instruments of unrighteousness … we are not to use our bodies to engage in immoral acts – for our bodies are not our own. They are to be used as instruments of righteousness. So… be thankful that you are no longer who you used to be. Be thankful that you have been completely washed from your past. Be thankful that you have been purified and dedicated for service to God. Be thankful that you have been declared righteous and are able to inherit the riches and blessings of the kingdom of God. And going forward, allow your body and life to glorify God and be a place that is welcoming to the Holy Spirit.
Psalms: “Blessed be the Lord, for he has wondrously shown his faithful love to me in a city under siege. In my alarm I said, “I am cut off from your sight.” But you heard the sound of my pleading when I cried to you for help.” (Psalms 31:21-22 CSB)
Scholars are not sure of the context from which David wrote this psalm – but was a time when he felt under siege… when his enemies surrounded him. There are times when we can feel under siege – when we are surrounded by the unrighteous desires of our flesh wanting to drag us back into old sin patterns… when we are surrounded by a world that loudly declares that unrighteousness is a myth and that we should be free to participate in whatever makes us happy… when we are surrounded by temptations and accusations from the enemy of our soul. Even though it may feel like we are cut off from God, He hears our cry for help. Even when we are under siege, we can still boldly come before His throne of grace in time of need and ask for help. And God will manifest His faithful love (His checed) to us by grace through faith, and provide for us and fill us with what we need to endure the siege and come out victorious.
Proverbs: “Be assured that a wicked person will not go unpunished, but the offspring of the righteous will escape.” (Proverbs 11:21 CSB)
Thanks be to God, that He made a way for the wicked and unrighteous to be made righteous. We can escape the eventual punishment of the wicked by being washed, sanctified and justified through faith in the life, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Prayer: Lord, I thank You that my past does not define who I am presently, nor what my future will be. Words cannot express how grateful I am to You, that You have washed me, sanctified me, and justified me in Your name and by the working of the Holy Spirit. I have been bought with a price and I am no longer my own. I belong to You. Grace me to walk in righteousness and use my life to glorify You. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.