1 Corinthians 6:9-11 “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
In late 1995, Steve Curington came to me, having, by the grace of God, overcome very serious and severe addictions. He was living a victorious Christian life, was happily married, and raising a family for God. Steve had an increasing burden, in fact it had become an overwhelming burden, to reach people like himself who were addicted to stubborn habits and destructive behaviors. That meeting was the beginning of Reformers Unanimous.
But at the beginning I wasn’t sure what our church should do. I told Steve that I wanted time to pray and ask God to show me from His Word what the basis for such an effort should be. In this passage from First Corinthians, we see ten specific, sinful behaviors that had once impacted the lives of the members of the church at Corinth. In truth, all sin is ultimately addictive. When the Bible says “such were some of you”—in the past tense, praise God!—it is talking about people who once had these stubborn habits but who had overcome them. From that point on I never questioned the basis of what we were trying to do.
The true Source of victory over sin is the Holy Spirit of God. Spiritual maturity in our lives is not produced by a program, and it is not merely a local New Testament church, although God uses these greatly. Ultimately, it is the Holy Spirit of God who transforms the lives of those who had been fornicators into lives of purity; those who were idolaters into worshippers of the one and only true God; those who had been effeminate into masculine men; and those who were thieves into honest and upstanding citizens. Every time someone is victorious in the Christian life; every time someone is sanctified in spirit, soul, and body, it is because of the power of the Spirit of God.
We are saved by His power. This passage talks about the fact that we are being washed not in water but in the blood of Jesus Christ. The blood of Christ cleanses us from all our sin. This is true for our past sins when we are saved. But it is just as true for our present and future sins. The blood continues to cleanse us from our sins so that we may stand unashamed and boldly before the throne of grace. Remember, we are not there because of our goodness but because of His righteousness. He became sin for us so that we could be forgiven.
We are sanctified by His power. Jesus purchased more than just the salvation that comes with the washing of His blood. The Bible also says we are sanctified. God had taken us as chosen vessels and cleaned us so that we can be useful to His service and His kingdom. God is the Source of our sanctification just as He is the Source of our salvation. God is involved in your life! As we saw last week, He is now working in our world through the presence of His Holy Spirit, and it is the Spirit of God that we see referenced in our passage from Corinthians. He is the active agent of our salvation and of our sanctification.
We don’t have to do this work on our own! Look at the promises of Scripture concerning the Holy Spirit:
John 14:17, “Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.”
Romans 8:9, “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.”
1 Corinthians 3:16, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”
1 Corinthians 6:19, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?”
No one becomes a sanctified, victorious Christian without the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit. We are commanded to walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16) and we are expected to demonstrate His fruit in our lives. (Galatians 5:22-23) This is not something that is the product of our nature or effort; it is something that comes from His presence and power. If the Holy Spirit is in control—if you are walking in the Spirit, then you will be sanctified. He desires to fill and lead and control and use you…let Him.