And such were some of you - It was not with the prospect of collecting saints that the apostles went about preaching the Gospel of the kingdom. None but sinners were to be found over the face of the earth; they preached that sinners might be converted unto God, made saints, and constituted into a Church; and this was the effect as well as the object of their preaching.
But ye are washed - Several suppose that the order in which the operations of the grace of God take place in the soul is here inverted; but I am of a very different mind. Every thing will appear here in its order, when we understand the terms used by the apostle.
Ye are washed, απελουσασθε ; ye have been baptized into the Christian faith, and ye have promised in this baptism to put off all filthiness of the flesh and spirit: and the washing of your bodies is emblematical of the purification of your souls.
Ye are sanctified - Ἡγιασθητε ; from α, privative, and γη, the earth; ye are separated from earthly things to be connected with spiritual. Ye are separated from time to be connected with eternity. Ye are separated from idols to be joined to the living God. Separation from common, earthly, or sinful uses, to be wholly employed in the service of the true God, is the ideal meaning of this word, both in the Old and New Testaments. It was in consequence of their being separated from the world that they became a Church of God. Ye were formerly workers of iniquity, and associated with workers of iniquity; but now ye are separated from them, and united together to work out your salvation with fear and trembling before God.
Ye are justified - Εδικαιωθητε· Ye have been brought into a state of favor with God; your sins having been blotted out through Christ Jesus, the Spirit of God witnessing the same to your conscience, and carrying on by his energy the great work of regeneration in your hearts. The process here is plain and simple: -
6. Being justified freely - having their sins forgiven through the redemption that is in Jesus, they received the Spirit of God to attest this glorious work of grace to their consciences; and thus became possessed of that principle of righteousness, that true leaven which was to leaven the whole lump, producing that universal holiness without which none can see the Lord.
And such - Such drunkards, lascivious, and covetous persons. This shows:
(1) The exceeding grace of God that could recover even such persons from sins so debasing and degrading.
(2) it shows that we are not to despair of reclaiming the most abandoned and wretched people.
(3) it is well for Christians to look back on what they once were. It will produce:
(c)adeep sense of the sovereign mercy of God,
(d)an earnest desire that others may be recovered and saved in like manner; compare Ephesians 2:1, Ephesians 2:2; Ephesians 5:8; Colossians 3:7; Titus 3:3, Titus 3:6 - The design of this is to remind them of what they were, and to show them that they were now under obligation to lead better lives - by all the mercy which God had shown in recovering them from sins so degrading, and from a condition so dreadful.
But ye are washed - Hebrews 10:22. Washing is an emblem of purifying. They had been made pure by the Spirit of God. They had been, indeed, baptized, and their baptism was an emblem of purifying, but the thing here particularly referred to is not baptism, but it is something that had been done by the Spirit of God, and must refer to his agency on the heart in cleansing them from these pollutions. Paul here uses three words, “washed, sanctified, justified,” to denote the various agencies of the Holy Spirit by which they had been recovered from sin. The first, that of washing, I understand of that work of the Spirit by which the process of purifying was commenced in the soul, and which was especially signified in baptism - the work of regeneration or conversion to God. By the agency of the Spirit the defilement of these pollutions had been washed away or removed - as filth is removed by ablution - The agency of the Holy Spirit in regeneration is elsewhere represented by washing, Titus 3:5,” The washing of regeneration.” compare Hebrews 10:22.
Ye are sanctified - This denotes the progressive and advancing process of purifying which succeeds regeneration in the Christian. Regeneration is the commencement of it - its close is the perfect purity of the Christian in heaven; see the note at John 17:17. It does not mean that they were perfect - for the reasoning of the apostle shows that this was far from being the case with the Corinthians; but that the work was advancing, and that they were in fact under a process of sanctification.
But ye are justified - Your sins are pardoned, and you are accepted as righteous, and will be treated as such on account of the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ; see the note at Romans 1:17; note at Romans 3:25-26; note at Romans 4:3. The apostle does not say that this was last in the order of time, but simply says that this was done to them. People are justified when they believe, and when the work of sanctification commences in the soul.
In the name of the Lord Jesus - That is, by the Lord Jesus; by his authority, appointment, influence; see the note at Acts 3:6. All this had been accomplished through the Lord Jesus; that is, in his name forgiveness of sins had been proclaimed to them Luke 24:47; and by his merits all these favors had been conferred on them.
And by the Spirit of our God - The Holy Spirit. All this had been accomplished by his agency on the heart - This verse brings in the whole subject of redemption, and states in a most emphatic manner the various stages by which a sinner is saved, and by this single passage, a man may obtain all the essential knowledge of the plan of salvation. All is condensed here in few words:
(1) He is by nature a miserable and polluted sinner - without merit, and without hope.
(2) he is renewed by the Holy Spirit, and washed by baptism.
(3) he is justified, pardoned, and accepted as righteous, through the merits of the Lord Jesus alone.
(4) he is made holy - becomes sanctified - and more and more like God, and fit for heaven.
(5) all this is done by the agency of the Holy Spirit.
(6) the obligation thence results that be should lead a holy life, and forsake sin in every form.
When the apostle Paul began his ministry in Corinth, that populous, wealthy, and wicked city, polluted by the nameless vices of heathenism, he said, “I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.” 1 Corinthians 2:2. Writing afterward to some of those who had been corrupted by the foulest sins, he could say, “But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” “I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 6:11; 1:4. DA 510.1
Now, as in Christ's day, the work of God's kingdom lies not with those who are clamoring for recognition and support by earthly rulers and human laws, but with those who are declaring to the people in His name those spiritual truths that will work in the receivers the experience of Paul: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” Galatians 2:20. Then they will labor as did Paul for the benefit of men. He said, “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:20. DA 510.2Read in context »
Christ laid aside His glory and came to this earth to suffer for sinners. If we meet with hardships in our work, let us look to Him who is the Author and Finisher of our faith. Then we shall not fail nor be discouraged. We shall endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ. Remember what He says of all true believers: “We are laborers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.” 1 Corinthians 3:9. 6T 335.1
A Precious Experience. He who takes up the work of canvassing as he should must be both an educator and a student. While he tries to teach others he himself must learn to do the work of an evangelist. As canvassers go forth into the field with humble hearts, full of earnest activity, they will find many opportunities to speak a word in season to souls ready to die in discouragement. After laboring for these needy ones they will be able to say: “Ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord.” Ephesians 5:8. As they see the sinful course of others they can say: “Such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:11. 6T 335.2Read in context »
Said the apostle Paul, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? ... And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). The absence of devotion, piety, and sanctification of the outer man comes through denying Jesus Christ our righteousness. The love of God needs to be constantly cultivated.... FW 15.1Read in context »