Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. 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
Becoming a Christian is not just about adopting or abandoning a list of behaviors in order to please God. It is about a complete spiritual transformation that gets rid of the old you and creates a brand-new you. There is the “before Christ” version of you, and the “after Christ” version of you, and the two have little to do with each other. The Apostle Paul puts it like this: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (1 Corinthians 5:17).”
Sometimes the most difficult part of becoming a Christian is letting go of the past. It is important to remember that we all have things in our pasts for which we are ashamed. There are some things we deeply regret and from time-to-time these things rear their ugly heads and haunt us. When a person accepts Christ as their Lord and Savior, they are immediately forgiven of their sins. Becoming a Christian washes a person clean of the past, and the Lord forgives them and no longer holds those sins against them. God wants us to be fully engaged members of His Kingdom, which means being able to take the gospel or “good news” of Jesus to those who haven’t heard it. Paul’s list of sins in today’s passage from 1 Corinthians illustrates the kind of people that some Christians were. Those who are in Christ are no longer these kinds of people; Christ has set them free of all of these things.
A person cannot move on to something new if he or she lives in the past. Satan knows this, and he uses it to stifle a Christian’s work for God’s Kingdom. How does Satan do this? He does this by jabbing us with memories of our past sins, reminding us of how we used to behave in our pre-Christian lives. Satan’s goal is to make us feel worthless for God’s Kingdom. If Satan can get a Christian to say to himself or herself, “I’m not good enough to serve God because of what I’ve done”, then he wins, and the Christian is neutralized. Don’t let this happen! A Christian should never rummage around in the trashcan of forgiven sins. The Psalmist says, “as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us (Psalm 103:12).” The old hymn, “To God be the Glory”, puts this very succinctly:
“The vilest offender who truly believes, that moment from Jesus a pardon receives”
Today, reflect on the knowledge that a Christian’s sins have been forgiven once and for all, and because of this he or she is free from any shackles to the past. Rejoice in the fact that you have been forgiven, not in part, but completely! This frees you to grow into a Christian who can truly serve God’s Kingdom and take this good news to others.
Let’s Pray: Father, thank you for forgiving me through the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross. Please help me to remember that I have been completely forgiven and set free in Jesus Christ to live my life for you and for the furtherance of your Kingdom. The past is gone, and I now belong to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen