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THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS - Chapter 6 - Verse 11
Verse 11. 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 men.
(3.) It is well for Christians to look back on what they once were. It will produce
(c) a deep sense of the sovereign mercy of God,
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. Heb 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 Ghost in regeneration is elsewhere represented by washing. Tit 3:5, "The washing of regeneration." Compare Heb 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 Barnes "Joh 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 Barnes "Ro 1:17''; See Barnes "Ro 3:25, See Barnes "Ro 3:26"; See Barnes "Ro 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. Men are justified when they believe, and when the work of sanctification commences in the soul
All this had been accomplished through the Lord Jesus; that is, in his name remission of sins had been proclaimed to them, Lu 24:47; and by his merits all these favours 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 Ghost, 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 Ghost.
(6.) The obligation thence results that he should lead a holy life, and forsake sin in every form.
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