Monday, June 9, 2014

Ownership not Identity

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor the drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.  Such were some of you, but you were washed, you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
I Corinthians 6:9-11

Tough list, wouldn't you say? Going by that list, no one would ever get into heaven, right?


I think we tend to pull out this list when we're going after certain sinners, ignoring the central phrase - "Such were some of you" - powerful five words because they force us to take ownership. Quickly your eyes scan the list again and maybe you're not sure you're really on it - you're not into sexual sin, you're not a thief or a drunk. This list is just for the really bad people.

Well, let's stop a minute and take a closer look:
  • Idolator - have you ever worshipped anything other than God?
  • Covetous - have you ever longed for something you don't have?
  • Reviler - have you ever talked harshly with or about someone?
  • Swindler - have you ever cheated or deceived someone - pretended you were something or someone or somewhere that you are not?
  • Thief - have you ever taken something that was not yours?
  • Fornicator - ever lusted after someone? 
Sin stinks and it ravages and it distorts and it kills. So guess what?  We're all on this list.  

And now we go back to that central phrase because it's taking us somewhere - "Such were some of you…BUT." The sentence continues and does not leave us withered, dying and hopeless. We were unrighteous but we have been washed, sanctified and justified in Jesus Christ! There's the good news! We have been saved from our sin, from the consequences of that horrible list - we are no longer identified by our sin but by the actions of our Savior.
  • He washed us - we are not stained with sin but thoroughly cleansed from the guilt and shame, as well as the punishment
  • He sanctified us - He has set us apart - we are now holy
  • He justified us - God has declared us innocent because our guilt was laid on Jesus and the penalty was paid through His sacrifice
Friends, own your sin - recognize it, don't defend it.  Don't ignore it and don't act like it never happened. Own it, confess it, repent of it and then find your identity in who Jesus Christ says you are. If you have been washed, sanctified and justified, then you are no longer an alcoholic, a thief, an adulterer or a idolator - you are an adopted child of the Creator, who is delighted in and unconditionally loved!

Let that be your testimony and your motivation to walk in His steps every day...

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