“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall 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.”
I Corinthians 6:9-11
The Bible teaches the absolute necessity of the new birth. “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?” God is holy, and none of us are righteous within ourselves. Every person is in need of salvation. In our unregenerate and natural state, none will qualify for Heaven.
People are deceived about the seriousness of sin, the nature of salvation, and the requirement of rebirth and imputed righteousness. False teachers assure their listeners that good works or moral reform will gain an entrance into God’s holy Heaven. This is not true. That is why the text says, “Be not deceived.”
Thank God for salvation that brings forgiveness of sin and the new man of righteousness. God’s gift of eternal life produces transformed lives in those who are redeemed. Only God can create a new person through the miracle of the new birth. We can identify with Paul’s statement, “And such were some of you.” We may not be all that we should be, but thank God we are not what we once were. God can change anyone. When we are born again, we become new creatures in Christ. Our past is exactly that; it is our past.
Sometimes new believers have a hard time putting their past behind them because of guilt over past sins. It is important that we take God at His Word concerning our former lives. Our sins are under the blood; we have been justified by His grace; and we have peace with God.
Because we remember what we once were, it should help us have compassion on the unsaved and a desire to reach them with the Gospel. Nothing could have changed us like the power of salvation. We should never look, with a critical, judgmental eye, at others still bound in sin. But for the grace of God, we would still be there. The next time we get irritated or frustrated with the behavior of lost sinners, remember this: “And such were some of you.”