1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters…
The apostle reminds them that wrong doing of every kind excludes from the kingdom of God, and that consequently their quarrels and litigation are bringing them into danger. They are forgetting the meaning of their conversion.
I. OUR ORIGINAL CONDITION. Though this dark picture is meant to represent sinners at Corinth, its general features are universally applicable.
1. Sin is various, yet one. The branches are many, but they grow out of the same root. "For out of the heart come forth evil thoughts, murders," etc. (Matthew 15:19). They are all "works of the flesh" (Galatians 5:19-21), conceived in the heart and brought forth in the life. Some are sins directly against God; some against our neighbour's person, estate, good name; some against ourselves. Let us not excuse ourselves by looking on another's sin, and thanking God we are free from that. In some other form it besets us, and "Whosoever shall keep the whole Law, and yet stumble in one point, he is become guilty of all" (James 2:10, 11). How awful a thing is sin! Let it work its way, and it will utterly corrupt soul and body, the family and society. Every man has in him by nature the seed whence these fruits of Sodom grow.
2. The practice of sin excludes from the kingdom of God. Between such sins and the kingdom there is an absolute contradiction. The kingdom is righteousness (Romans 14:17), and these are forms of unrighteousness. Religion and morality, faith and works, creed and conduct, go together. "Regenerate thieves! regenerate libertines! regenerate extortioners! There is a horrible contradiction in the very thought" (F. W. Robertson). Let us guard against deception here. No amount of outward observance can atone for an immoral life. "Without are the dogs" (Revelation 22:15).
II. OUR CHANGED CONDITION, At conversion all this is changed. We become new creatures, the old things passing away (2 Corinthians 5:17). Three aspects of this change are mentioned.
1. Washing. Sin is pollution, and from this we are cleansed by the blood of Jesus (1 John 1:7), "Through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost" (Titus 3:5). This is set forth in baptism, and it was a prominent idea in the Old Testament ritual (Exodus 40:30-32; Psalm 51:7).
2. Sanctification. Devoted to sin once, we arc now consecrated to God. We are separated from the world and devoted to the service of Christ.
3. Justification. The guilt of sin is removed, and we are accepted as righteous in Christ on the ground of what he has done for us. And this many sided blessing of salvation is procured for us by the Lord Jesus Christ, and applied to us by the Spirit of our God. Compare these two pictures and:
1. Ask which of them represents you. Have you been washed, sanctified, justified? Is there a "but" in your spiritual history, dividing the new from the old?
2. Learn your indebtedness to saving grace, and be humble and grateful.
3. Have done with sin in every form. It is a return to the condition from which you have been delivered. "Put off the old man with his doings." - B.
Parallel VersesKJV: Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,