FREE TO BE FREE
1 Cor. 6:9-11
"Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. 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."
Wow, this passage starts off kind of rough, doesn't it? It talks about the "wicked" and then says: "That is what some of you were." Boy, am I glad that isn't all there is to the passage, because it looks a pretty hopeless if you stop there. You know, sin creates two big problems. The first is that it eternally separates people from God. God will not step aside and make room for it in His kingdom. But secondly, there are immediate consequences to sin. For example, when we become angry our anger always has a target, and far too often that target is the people we love, those who are closest to us. Bitterness destroys our hope, unfaithfulness destroys our relationships, adultery wrecks families, bad habits and addictions rob us of our resources and our potential, dishonesty destroys trust, greed stifles compassion . . . you get the idea.
Well, here is the good news . . . God's Word doesn't just lay out the problem, it also points us toward the solution. Notice the little word "were." "That is what some of you were." Not are! WERE - past tense! You see, all this talk about sin is followed by a big BUT. "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."
The Lord Jesus Christ has provided us with forgiveness and righteous through His obedient life and His death on the cross. A forgiveness and righteousness that is ours through our faith in Him. 2 Cor. 5:17 - "If anyone is in Christ, he IS a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" And the Holy Spirit has provided us with the ability to understand God's Word and to live according to its requirements. His power is put into effect in our lives through our obedience, our willingness to walk according to the His leading. Gal. 5:16 - "I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh."
Listen, we do not have to be trapped by anger or bitterness or unforgiveness or lies. We don't have to live with hurts or bad habits or emotional hang-ups. Because,"Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is FREEDOM!" Being a Christian isn't about who we WERE. It is about who we have BECOME in Christ!
Pastor Keith Andrews