Thursday, July 12, 2012


1 Corinthians 6:11, “And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.”

The sad estate of the unbeliever is described for us in graphic terms in an extended list of sinful careers (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). These activities work to forge an identity for the lost sinner. He doesn’t just fornicate, he is a fornicator. He doesn’t just worship idols, he is an idolater. He doesn’t just steal, he is a thief. And the tragic reality is that he is enslaved in and given over to such practices, the wages of which are death (Romans 6:23). A strong warning is repeated in the text: such individuals “shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9, 10).

We were all in that list somewhere, having inherited a sin nature from Adam (Romans 5:12). Left to ourselves we were by birth all destined to a career of sin and its tragic consequence.

Praise God for His glorious intervention in the life of the believer in Christ! “But you were” speaks to that intervention. The phrase is repeated three times in verse 11. At the moment of saving faith a wonderful reorientation and regeneration is accomplished. It does not happen via human effort. It is God’s doing. “But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus” (1 Corinthians 1:30). By His doing three marvelous realities take place.

“But you were washed.” This washing was not by human hands. The blood of the lamb has worked to bring about a complete cleansing from sin. The precious blood of the lamb unblemished and spotless has power to cleanse to the innermost being (Cf. 1 Peter 1:19; Hebrews 9:14). “Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing power; are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?” If you have, you’ve been thoroughly cleansed from sin.

“But you were sanctified.” The term sanctified means “to be made holy, to be set apart.” It is related to the term “saint.” By God’s gracious intervention the believer in Christ has been set apart from sin and to God. The believer in Christ has been “sanctified in Christ Jesus.” We are “saints by calling,” literally “holy ones” (1 Corinthians 1:2). A person is either an “Aint” without Jesus or a “Saint” in Him (Cf. 1 John 5:11-12). Are you a “saint” in Christ?

“But you were justified.” To be justified is to be declared righteous. In the courtroom of divine justice we were all guilty—we were all by nature career criminals in sin. But God intervened. At the moment of saving faith the righteousness of Christ was imputed to our account (2 Corinthians 5:21). The certificate of debt in sin was cancelled out (Colossians 2:14). We were declared righteous by God Himself on the basis of Christ’s “once for all” payment for our sins’—“the just for the unjust” (1 Peter 3:18).

By God’s intervention the believer in Christ has been cleansed from sin, set apart to God, and declared righteous in Him. “But you were” has made all the difference. This “but you were” speaks to God’s glorious work in Christ “who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me” (Galatians 2:20).

Have you had a “but you were” experience in your life? The “but you were” speaks to being “born again.” “You must be born again,” Jesus said (John 3:7). No amount of church-going or religious activities or experience can substitute for being born again. By God’s intervention, “by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,” these things take place (Titus 3:5). They happen at the moment of saving faith. They are but three of what Lewis Sperry Chafer calls, “The thirty-three stupendous works of God…(which) are wrought “instantaneously” (“Systematic Theology” by Lewis Sperry Chafer; p. 234).

“Born of the Spirit with life from above into God’s family divine. Justified fully through Calvary’s love, O what a standing is mine! And the transaction so quickly was made, when as a sinner I came, took of the offer of grace He did proffer--He saved me, O praise His dear name.” Heaven came down and glory filled my soul, when at the cross the Savior made me whole; My sins were washed away and my night was turned to day—Heaven came down and glory filled my soul!”

“But you were.” Praise God for His glorious intervention in the life of the believer!

Pastor Jerry

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