Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Such were some of you...

1 Cor. 6:9-11 (ESV)
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, [10] nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. [11] 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.

What gets me every time I read this passage is not only the equation of my greediness and reviling with fornication, adultery, and homosexuality. It seems as much as we know to the contrary, we will always tend to think of some other sin as being worse than the sin we are most guilty of. There is none of that there. If you don’t see yourself being described in that laundry list of sins, you are blind. But that isn’t what gets me. What gets me is that Paul says “and such were some of you.” Seems to me if this stuff hadn’t been going on amongst them even at the time the letter reached them, Paul would not have had to write as much as he did. I’m guessing that of the members of that church there were members who were guilty of committing each one of that laundry list in the last week. Of course that is speculation. But if they weren’t guilty of it, Paul would not have had to address it. Yet he says such were some of you. As if to say, even though you haven’t been able to make a complete break with the vices of this world. Even though you slid back into this, that isn’t you any longer, that isn’t your identity. You are not unrighteous. You are righteous, because you were washed, you were sanctified, your were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Something happened to you in Baptism, you were given a new identity, a righteous identity. You are simultaneously saint and sinner. You haven’t lost your saint hood due to that lapse into whore mongering last week, Your baptism is still valid. So Paul calls the Christians to repentance, and brings them back to their baptism, to yet again drown the old Adam. He reminds them that these sins have been forgiven. As Luther reminds us of Baptism, “It indicates that the Old Adam in us should by daily contrition and repentance be drowned and die with all sins and evil desires, and that a new man should daily emerge and arise to live before God in righteousness. And with a hearty your sins are forgiven, a new man is called forth from the tomb.

1 comment:

steve martin said...

Bror,

Great post! A Law/Gospel post!

The depth of my sin bubbles up to the surface, only to be skimmed off and disposed of by Christ.

St. Paul makes it clear that we have been "washed, sanctified an justified".

What a great feeling knowing that my past won't be held against me!

That's the good news!

Thanks Bror, for sharing with us this great news that we really need, and connecting it to God's promise to us in our baptisms.

I need to hear it a often as possible!