When turning a conversation to the Gospel, we may do well to begin, “When I met Jesus, I was…” and identify with the sinner.
3 No one can be established through wickedness, but the righteous cannot be uprooted [we don’t have to worry about our reputation; we belong to the Lord].
It is scandalous what people are doing out there. It’s downright sinful. One would think that the world is made up of sinners…! As you read these verses, notice that Paul is talking to church members:
9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. 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 does it mean to inherit the kingdom of God? It is the Holy Spirit who makes us heirs of God and co-heirs with Jesus Christ (Romans 8:17). Those with the Spirit (see verse 15) will inherit the kingdom of God; those who do not have the Spirit will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 John 5:12).
- Is this a complete list of sins? Of course not. Not even close. But, it hit four of the 10 Commandments: #7 Thou shalt not commit adultery (adulterers), #2 Thou shalt not worship hand-made images (idolaters), #8 Thou shalt not steal (thieves), #9 Thou shalt not bear false witness (slanderers and swindlers). The key is in the next line:
- And that is what some of you were. Paul pulled the punch a little here. In Romans 2:1, he let them have it, “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.” In Titus 3:3, Paul even includes himself, “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.“
- He goes on to say, “he [God] saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior,” which goes along very well with verse 11 of 1 Corinthians 6.
If we could get our minds around the fact that our sins are separated from us as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12), we would be desperate to tell others how to have their sins dealt with like ours! So, when we come across a subject which we know too much about, we might try using it as the springboard into a Gospel conversation. It takes being a bit transparent and even vulnerable, but like I said, we’re desperate. People need to know that we were sinners, too (still are). Anything else is either pride or fear–or a little of both!
Abba, give us the courage to be transparent and vulnerable when it comes to sharing the Gospel. I know we don’t have to share every detail, but just letting someone know that we are human (sinners) puts us all on the same playing field. All of a sudden, the Gospel is accessible and Jesus is reachable. Move mightily in us and then move mightily in them, Lord. Amen.