Summary: The 3 Miracles of Salvation from Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church. Find hope and purpose in this foundation for the Christian Faith.
The apostle Paul wrote first and second Corinthians to the church in Corinth. Corinth was a port city, located on the coast of Greece, 48 miles South West of Athens. The economy of Corinth was fueled by commerce from the sea as well as tourism. On any given day the city would be filled with sailors from many nations with a majority of the people paying a visit to the temple of Aphrodite who was the goddess of sex. The way to worship Aphrodite was by way of one of 1000 temple prostitutes.
To simplify, Corinth was sin city. And here, in the midst of it all, was the Church of Corinth; Planted by Paul at the end of his 2nd missionary journey. In the midst of sin, debauchery and fornication was the church, the bride of Christ.
So, who populates a church founded in the middle of sin city? Converts, that’s who, people, who once worshiped at the temple of Aphrodite; people who were once a part of that culture of sin. The church in Corinth is full of those who have been converted from the effects of a culture that would tempt anyone.
This is what the Apostle Paul writes to the Corinthian’s church in 1st Corinthians 6, verses 9 to 11.
9 Don’t you know that those who do wrong will have no share in the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, who are idol worshipers, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexuals, 10 thieves, greedy people, drunkards, abusers, and swindlers—none of these will have a share in the Kingdom of God.
1 Cor 6:9-10 (NLT)
Paul just described the culture of Corinth. Sounds pretty sick doesn’t it? Sadly, this description is also accurate to the world that we are living in today.
Sexual sin is widely accepted. Homosexuality is tolerated, condoned and accepted by the government of Canada; adultery is far more common than many would like to admit.
We don’t worship idols of stone, but there is the worship of people, possessions and ourselves that has replaced those idols.
All that the apostle Paul is describing is the culture of Corinth, and people participating in that culture will not have a share in the kingdom of God.
But our focus today is on the hope that is found in verse 11.
There was a time when some of you were just like that, but now your sins have been washed away, and you have been set apart for God. You have been made right with God because of what the Lord Jesus Christ and the Spirit of our God have done for you.
1 Cor 6:11 (NLT)
In the New American Standard Bible verse 11 reads this way.
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.
1 Cor 6:11 (NASB)
There are 3 very powerful words in this verse. Washed, Sanctified & Justified. In these 3 words we can;
• Find our identity and purpose as Christians.
• Understand what a miracle salvation is.
• Build a foundation for our lives.
• Put our hope and our trust in the care of God.
But you were washed.
Greek ajpolouÈw apolouô: to wash away, washed
You and I have a deep need to be clean. Our impulse is to try to wash our hands of sin, we wipe the effects off our exterior so that it looks like we never did anything wrong.
King David tried this approach to cover up his adulterous affair with the beautiful Bathsheba. He did every thing in his power to hide his sin from man and present himself as clean.
But what David found to be impossible, and what you will find to be impossible is that you cannot clean your conscience by simply washing your hands.
Shakespeare illustrated this point in his play, Macbeth. In the play, the character Macbeth kills his cousin Duncan in secret, and the people pronounce Macbeth King. But there is blood on his hands that only he and his wife, Lady Macbeth know about.
She tells him how to get rid of the blood, “A little water clears us of this deed.” And he washes his hands and presents himself as clean and innocent before the people.
But there is a heavy conscience that hangs over the Macbeth family. This guilt is hanging over them and well the rest of the country elevates them to high position, the truth of their sin weighs them down.
Lady Macbeth begins to go insane. She has dream after dream about the blood of King Duncan on her hands. She sees the blood and she screams at it, and she washes them, and washes them and scrubs them and hopes beyond hope that somehow she can reconcile this sin with water and soap.