In 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, we have the following, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, not 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 verses 9 and 10, the apostle Paul cites a list of heinous sins so common in those of the world. Then, in verse 11 he frankly says, "And such were some of you:"! We emphasize the word "were." Why is it that they "were" such but are no longer thus? It is because they were washed, sanctified, and justified. This being the case, let us look at these three words and see what they mean.
First, it seems elementary that a washing implies a cleansing. The Hebrew people were very familiar with the various rites of washing. Before God's people met with Him, they were to wash themselves. (Exodus 40:32). In the New Testament this washing involved baptism, (Acts 22:16). As we read in Acts 2:38, this baptism is to be preceded by repentance, which involves a change of mind, a change of desire, and a change of action. So, these Corinthians were "washed" or baptized. That is why they were no longer fornicators, idolaters, or such like.
Secondly, they were sanctified. W. E. Vine's Dictionary of New Testament Words informs us that the word sanctified or sanctify comes from the same root word as "saint," which means one who has been set apart. This is closely akin to the Greek word ekklesia, which is translated church. It means "a called out group." The church is a called out - set apart from the world - group of people. Therefore, they are no longer a part of that group of people who practice such sinful ways. They are a new creation (people). (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Third, they were justified. Webster defines justify as: "To prove or show to be just, right or reasonable; vindicate; absolve:" Having repented, been baptized, and living a sanctified (set apart) life, they were absolved of their past sins, "in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the spirit of our God."
This threefold effect happens to everyone who is obedient to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Dear friend, will you not hear the word of God, believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, repent of your sins, confess Jesus is the Son of God, and be baptized for the remission of your sins? I pray that you will. It may be that some of the readers of this good paper may have broken fellowship with the church and are in need of being restored to the Shepherd and Bishop of their souls (1 Peter 2: 25). Confess your sin(s) and ask God for His gracious forgiveness. There is no more precious thing that you have than your eternal soul. -5636 Cherrywood Dr., Lorain, OH 44053.