And Such Were Some
Joe R. Price
"9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not
inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor
adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor
drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 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 and by the Spirit of our God."
(1 Cor. 6:9-11)
With these words the apostle of Christ makes it very plain that those who live in sin will
not be saved in heaven. Every Christian I have ever discussed this subject with believes
it to be so.
Although this common understanding exists, a great disagreement remains over what
constitutes being "washed, sanctified and justified"
from sin. "No, it cannot be!" you may reply. "Every Christian knows that
when a person is baptized his sins are washed away!" Indeed, the scriptures teach it
to be so, and we confidently affirm it (Acts 22:16). But, the facts bear out that in
practice there are Christians who teach sinners they can remain in certain sinful
conditions after being baptized, and that God accepts them in their continued sin. While
no Christian directly says "you may continue to commit sin with God's approval,"
the evidence and outcome of their doctrine and practice says exactly that. This ought not
For instance, some brethren maintain that when an adulterer, remarried without scriptural
authority, is baptized into Christ, he may continue in that sinful remarriage against the
stated will of Christ (Matt. 19:9; Rom. 7:2-3). Adulterers (who do not inherit the kingdom
of heaven, see 1 Cor. 6:9 above) are thus being taught that when they are baptized their
marriage is no longer adulterous, but now sanctioned by God. "You have been washed,
sanctified and justified and can remain in your present marriage" the adulterer is
told upon being baptized. So, with the siren song of "peace, peace" when there
is no peace, the sinner is comforted in his continued practice of sin (Jer. 6:14).
The very nature of repentance demands that the sinner stops practicing his sin in order to
be washed, sanctified and justified. When the adulterer repents he will cease committing
his sin of adultery. This is true of one who commits adultery against his spouse in an
approved marriage. It is also true of one who, in an unauthorized remarriage, commits
adultery (Matt. 19:9). This is the demand repentance places upon every sinner and the
fruit it bears.
10 So the people asked him, saying, "What shall we do then?" 11 He
answered and said to them, "He who has two tunics, let him give to him who has none;
and he who has food, let him do likewise." 12 Then tax collectors also came to
be baptized, and said to him, "Teacher, what shall we do?" 13 And he said
to them, "Collect no more than what is appointed for you." 14 Likewise the
soldiers asked him, saying, "And what shall we do?" So he said to them, "Do
not intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages." (Lk.
When the selfish person repents of his selfishness he cannot continue in
it. Instead, he is to bear the fruit of his change of heart (repentance), and show kind
compassion toward others (Lk. 3:10-11). With a repentant heart comes a change in the way
When the greedy tax collector repents of his avarice he cannot continue
to exhibit it in the way he conducted his job. His relationship with his fellow-citizens
will have to change, from oppressive extortionist to that of an honest and fair assessor
and recipient of taxes due (Lk. 3:12-13). With a repentant heart comes a change in the way
When the cruel soldier repents of his violent treatment of others he will
stop his tyrannical domination of the innocent (Lk. 3:14). With a repentant heart comes a
change in the way one lives.
The same must be true of the adulterer who is committing adultery in a
remarriage that is sinful in God's sight (Matt. 19:9; Rom. 7:2-3). When the adulterer
repents of his adultery he will stop his adulterous relationship just as surely as the
cruel soldier ceases his rule of oppression and the tax collector his reign of extortion.
The apostle Paul said of the Corinthians: "and such were some of
you." Some of them had been adulterers. What happened to change
their spiritual condition? They heard the gospel, believed and were baptized (Acts 18:8).
Their repentance is necessarily implied, though not directed stated. If their conversion
to Christ meant they ceased their practice of idolatry, stopped their practice of
stealing, abandoned their covetous conduct, ended their drunken behavior, renounced their
reviling mischief, and terminated their extortion (1 Cor. 6:9-10), it also meant they
forfeited their acts of fornication (homosexual and heterosexual) and ceased their
practice of adultery (1 Cor. 6:9).
Repentance and baptism do not change idolatry into holy worship. Conversion does not
change stealing into legitimate enterprise. Neither does becoming a Christian change an
adulterous remarriage into a marriage approved by God (Heb. 13:4).
Those who live in sin will not live in heaven. We must help sinners repent of and
repudiate their sin, not comfort them in it. "And such were some
of you." The sinful remarriage is not sanctified in Christ, the sinner
who repents of and ceases his sin is!