“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”
(1 Corinthians 6:11)
Paul had just stated that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God. He then listed examples of the things that he classified as wicked and sinful – the type of behaviour that had characterised some of them when they lived outside of the kingdom of God. Then came his great acclamation that ‘this is what some of you were.’ In other words they used to be like this but a radical transformation had taken place in their lives – “you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God”
In some ways this almost seems to be the answer to the great prayer of David when he was convicted by God of his sin with Bathsheba and for arranging for her husband to be killed.
- ‘Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.’
- ‘Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.’
- ‘Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.’
Nothing is worse than the awareness that sin has fastened its claws into us in such a way that we cannot get rid of it, we cannot re-write the past and we are forever stained, contaminated and guilty in the most terrible way. And yet here Paul is crying out for us to be aware of the great redemption open to us through the love and grace of God. For each and every one of us – no matter what we have done or failed to do – may be washed, sanctified and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Holy Spirit of God.
It is God Himself setting us free from the spiritual consequences of our past, washing us clean from every stain and setting us on our feet again to live a new and different kind of life with Him. We are called to face in a new direction – focussed on the Lord and not on ourselves. We are urged to flee from all sin and to live lives dedicated to the Lord. We are encouraged – if and when we fall – to ask God for forgiveness and help and to get back on our feet for another go at this new life with Him.
Hold on to the unimaginable truth and wonder of what God has achieved for you and which He seeks to make ever more real in your own life – what Barclay calls ‘this radiant power of Christianity which is triumphantly able to make all things new’ –
“you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God”
Reflect on these great truths, asking the Holy Spirit to make them live within you
Holy Spirit, please help me to receive Your great truths, make them live within me in such a way that new light shines into my darkness and sets me free to walk in the light, the life and the love of God. Amen.