They were washed, they were sanctified, separated by God, for God.

“It means that the power of God is both necessary and sufficient to change a life no matter what their past. The change that ensues in a life makes one a new creation, able to inherit the kingdom of God.”

Q. What is the meaning of 1 Corinthians 6:9-11?

answered by David Rossiter, A preacher for several decades, a lover of the Bible but more a lover of God

The meaning of the verses look so clear it seems to be a loaded question. It means exactly what it says, but as with everything, some context will clarify some issues.

Paul is very explicit in chapter 6 that unrighteousness will not inherit the kingdom of God. He then gives some very explicit examples, which I am sure are representative and not a complete list, of the type of lifestyle or behaviour typical of unrighteousness.

The good news is he says in vs 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.

You were like this and now you are not. How did they change? They appeared to be out of a very hedonistic community which seem to regard such actions as normal and every man for himself, anything goes. How could they possibly transform?

The question goes to the heart of becoming a believer. Since God first began nurturing his relationship with man, it was obvious that man could not keep a law no matter how good its intention was. The nature of mankind was against the law. This is well spoken about in both Galatians and Romans.

So it is obvious to me that the NT life was not going to succeed by imposing or encouraging a new set of laws even if they were sanctioned by someone who rose from the dead.

The only way a believer could live a righteous life especially coming out of such a hedonistic society was to have a complete change of heart or nature.

That is the gospel. Paul wrote as stated above

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.

What happened to them?

They were washed, they were sanctified, separated by God, for God. Accepting the blood of Jesus and the work of God to wash away their sins, their nature was changed. They were like that but no more.

Were they accepted even though they had a sordid (normal!) history? Absolutely!

Why accepted? Because their heart change gave them a different nature. They were no longer the same.

The question posed brings me to the issue of how many people view salvation. They have no faith in the power of the blood. They have no respect for the cross and its power.

All they see is what they feel or what they have done or what they are labelled. The focus is on them and what they feel powerless to change.

So the focus shifts to a fight for tolerance instead of faith in the blood. The church becomes challenged to be inclusive by those who are unwilling to exercise faith in the blood. The message of the cross is watered down so it becomes a symbol only instead the doorway to the power of God.

Paul wrote in chapter 1 of 1 Corinthians

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

So what does 1 Cor 6:9–11 mean?

It means that the power of God is both necessary and sufficient to change a life no matter what their past. The change that ensues in a life makes one a new creation, able to inherit the kingdom of God.

Even though Christianity is a choice, choosing opens one to the power of God for change. One is not left with self motivation or will power to effect a change. It is God who makes the difference and it is entirely supernatural.

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