1 Corinthians 6:9-11. Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. 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.
These three verses are often ones that make Christians wonder if they are even really saved. I mean what better than a list of all the types of people that will never go to Heaven to make us doubt our salvation, right?
But let’s take one step backward and remember the context of 1 Corinthians 6- grasping for power. The Corinthian Christians were using the unjust court system and judgments by the unjustified judges to gain power over their less fortunate brothers and sisters in Christ. But why shouldn’t I let the unjustified judge my case? Because they are never going to inherit the Kingdom of Christ. They are sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, homosexuals, thieves, greedy, drunkards, revilers, and swindlers.
And you are not. You ARE in the kingdom because you are washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Paul is teaching us once again about our new identity. He is not saying that a Christian will never steal, or commit adultery, or look at porn. He is saying this is no longer who you are. You are not unrighteous, you are righteous. Homosexual is not your identity, Christ is. Angry is not your identity, Christ is. Idolater is not your identity, Christ is. This is the heart changing promise of justification by grace alone, sola fide, and “to live is Christ” – Your actions cannot save you and they can never unsave you. Period.
There is a warning for us in this passage though. Union with Christ has placed us into Christ and Christ into us. Why? Because God is recreating humanity. He is restoring his image in humanity. He is doing this through the ultimate human- Jesus. Jesus Christ’s life in us restores humanity to God’s desired state. A humanity that lives in love for others, and holiness for the glory of God. Therefor there is no place in this new humanity, this new creation, for the sins listed in our passage above. Every single one of the people in the list above is out for themselves. They are grasping for power. They are manipulators and deceivers who have been deceived. No one who is in Christ will claim these sins as their way of life or their identity. Anyone who does is simply not in the Kingdom and never has been.
Let me share an example from my own life. I was saved and united to Christ at age 5. I was introduced to pornography around age 8. I have spent many hours of my Christian life battling between Christ and the sexual immorality [pornos] that Paul speaks of above. Although I have failed morally so many times, I have never once, since being in Christ, thought of this sin as my identity or something that I was glad I was able to do. Never once I have I not felt guilt and shame over my sin. And progress in victory did not occur until I really accepted my true identity as one who has been washed, sanctified, and justified.
“To live is Christ” means your place in the kingdom is secure, and your identity is that of Christ’s- washed, sanctified, and justified. And it also means that your life must and can reflect the new humanity- a humanity of love and holiness, never power grabs.
Are you secure in your identity in Christ? Does your life reflect this new identity? Does your sin grieve you, or do you glory in your shame? Do you spend your days looking forward to the Kingdom, or looking back to your sin? How does knowing that you are no longer outside Christ’s Kingdom give you peace and power today?