Immorality Weakens the Body of Christ

KEY VERSE: “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 Corinthians 6:11

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: I Corinthians 6:9-20

THE three things mentioned in this scripture, so fundamental for our relationship to God, are spoken of here as being made possible jointly by our Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit of God. Jesus made these possible through his death on Calvary’s cross, providing the life-giving merit of his ransom. The Holy Spirit is the power of God which enables us to understand how we may accept this unspeakable benefit and apply it in our lives.

Washing figuratively represents the continual process of “cleansing ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and of the spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear [reverence] of the Lord.” (II Cor. 7:1) As the apostle has pointed out, by nature we are all imperfect, more or less depraved, as members of Adam’s race. Through the knowledge of God, we have a desire to put away all things defiling and displeasing in the Lord’s sight, and we are made aware that this is possible through full assurance of faith in the merit of Christ’s sacrifice.

This “washing of water through the Word” (Eph. 5:26) is elsewhere represented as being a duty and a privilege throughout the remainder of our earthly lives, after coming into Christ. What a beautiful illustration is here used. The Word of God, the medium through which the Holy Spirit works, is like clean, clear water, purifying and cleansing us as we yield our lives to its influence. It sets before us a glorious and righteous hope in the precious promises once delivered unto the saints, and “he that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he [God, who calls us] is pure.”

Jesus prayed on behalf of his disciples, saying, “Sanctify them through thy truth, thy Word is truth. As thou hath sent me into the world, even so have I sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.” (John 17:17-19) The truth had been recorded by the Spirit of God in the Old Testament Scriptures. When Jesus entered into his covenant of sacrifice with the Father, he agreed to do all that was written of him in the volume of the Book. By living up to this agreement he became sanctified, or set apart, dedicated to God’s unique service for him.

By his faithfulness Jesus pointed out the way for us to similarly be set apart, sanctified, for the holy purposes of God. If we walk in the light which emanates from God through his Word, we will be directed in a way which leads our humanity to the cross, while being transported from glory to glory in the prospect of a new life in the heavenlies. This change of glory takes place, as the apostle says, when we “with open face behold as in a glass [mirror] the glory of the Lord.” The mirror is his Word which reflects so clearly the image we are to achieve, none other than the image or character of God our Heavenly Father. As we sanctify our lives to fulfill his Word, we are gradually “changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”—II Cor. 3:18

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Romans: “Being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Rom. 4:1) Elaborating on this, the apostle attributes our justification to the application of the ransom, the blood of Christ. He continues in his treatise to show that the ransom was provided for the ultimate purpose of doing away with all sin. “In that he [Jesus] died, he died unto sin.” Then, reminding us that we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, he draws the very practical lesson of how incongruous and unthinkable it would be for us to let sin reign in our mortal bodies, “that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.” He continues, “Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin; but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.”

Cleansing, sanctification, and justification have been made possible through Jesus and his worship. “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.”—II Cor. 9:15

Dawn Bible Students Association
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