1 Corinthians 6: But you were washed, sanctified and justified

1 Corinthians 6: But you were washed, sanctified and justified

Chapter 6 continues Paul’s admonition to discernment, as he rebuked the brethren for taking one another to court to settle their disputes. He contrasted this practice with the fact that the saints (Christians) would judge the world and angels. This being the case, even if brethren could not handle their own disputes, there ought to be at least one brother capable of making judgments regarding their petty affairs.

Paul admonished them to suffer wrong and allow themselves to be cheated, rather than air their dirty laundry before unbelievers, as the latter only served to damage the image of the church.

The apostle moves from there to speak of the need for righteous living on the part of those who had been redeemed. Following a litany of lifestyles that cannot be practiced by those who desire to inherit the kingdom of God, Paul wrote, “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” (v 11).

Without question this statement hearkens back to the time when Paul’s audience was baptized: “And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized” (Acts 18:8).

Note the order: 1) hearing the gospel; 2) believing the gospel; and 3) being baptized. This is the very opposite of Reformed theology and Calvinism which teaches that a man is baptized by the Spirit and regenerated/saved, after which he is able to have faith, then may be baptized (or not) at a later point in time.

Note what Paul says also took place at this time: 1) they were washed; 2) they were sanctified; 3) they were justified. This washing takes place when one is baptized for the remission of sins. It is at baptism that one is sanctified, that is, set apart or made holy and fit for divine service. And it is at baptism that one is justified by God (cf Col 2:11-13).

To further solidify these truths, it should be noted that washing, sanctification, and justification take place in the name of Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit. Baptism is the point at which one is born again of water and Spirit and enters the kingdom of God (cf John 3:3-5).

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