Friday, February 20, 2009

1 Corinthians, chapter 6

Sanctified. This is such a powerful word. It appears here in 1 Corinthians 6 not by itself, but as a superlative to being cleansed. It is defined as being made holy or consecrated. We can cleanse our bodies with soap and water regardless of the level of filth we build up. To be sanctified, however, comes only from God. There are some pretty nasty things listed in this chapter, yet Paul mentions that we can be sanctified by all of them. All of this comes through the pure, cleansing blood of Christ on the Cross.

9Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11And that is what some of you were. 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. – 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Do you see the common thread here? No one was worthy of being sanctified. To be sanctified is to reach a level of cleanliness in our spirits that we cannot possibly reach on our own. Even if we somehow were worthy, which none are, it cannot be achieved without help. That help comes in Christ's sacrifice on the Cross. It is ironic that it is his blood that is the ultimate cleanser. If you get blood on a garment it is one of the most difficult stains to get out. Yet when we are washed in the blood of Christ it makes us cleaner spiritually than we can possibly get.

18Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. 19Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. – 1 Corinthians 6:18-20

This final section of the chapter is especially poignant because sexual immorality I one of the greatest temptations we face today. Few things can make us feels so filthy and in need of sanctification, yet we are told by society that it is okay to be sexually amoral. Things like homosexuality, pornography, and adultery are finding their way into everyday life and even are being accepted in some quarters. This is a hard temptation to resist, and as we see here it is something that affects us the most because it is a sin against the body. The only way to fight it is to make our bodies temples for Christ.

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