The Power of the Gospel in Changing the Hearts and Lives of Men
1 Corinthians 6:11-12
And such were some of you: but you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus…


1. The salvation of a sinner consists in his deliverance from the guilt and punishment of sin; and his recovery to the Divine image, i.e., his justification and his sanctification. Let either of these blessings be wanting, and his salvation would be unfinished. But in both these respects the gospel remedy is abundantly sufficient.

2. The instance in the text is to the point. Surely, if there could have been any sinners, whose case the gospel remedy would not reach, these Corinthians would have been the persons. If you require any more witnesses, look at many celebrated in the Scripture for their piety, and see what they had formerly been. What had the Ephesian converts been? (Ephesians 2:1, 3, 12.) What had Matthew, Onesimus, and St. Paul himself been? But for all these the gospel proved sufficient, for the thief upon the cross, for the jailer at Philippi, for thousands among the wicked Jews — for tens of thousands among the idolatrous Gentiles.

3. Let us then apply the truth —

(1) For correcting a common error respecting others. When we see a person notoriously evil, how apt are we to speak of him as being past recovery! But remember that the same grace, which was sufficient for the Corinthians, will be sufficient for him.

(2) For consolation and encouragement to convinced and humbled sinners. Are you filled with anxious fears for your safety? Well, suppose that your former state has been as bad as that of the Corinthians, yet He who saved them can save you. But while the truth speaks comfort to the penitent, it leaves the impenitent without excuse. Is the gospel sufficient for saving the greatest sinners? Then why do any of you continue in the practice of sin? Is it not plain that you "love darkness rather than light"; that you prefer slavery to freedom; that you "will not come to Christ, that you may have life"?

II. A MAN'S RELIGION IS TO BE TRIED, not by what he was, but by what he is.

1. True religion makes a real change in a man. Would we then know whether a man be truly religious or not, we must inquire what is his present conduct.

2. Let this truth then correct a too general practice. When a man begins to take up a serious profession of religion, nothing is more common than to hear all the irregularities of his former life charged against him as proofs of his present hypocrisy.

3. But while we apply this truth for correcting our wrong judgment of others, let us also use it for forming a right judgment of ourselves. Are we still the servants of sin? Or have we been made free from sin?

(E. Cooper, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: 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.

WEB: 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 in the Spirit of our God.

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