Three Words you Must Know
Do you know exactly what the Saviour has done for you? In the core of 1 Corinthians 6 Paul declares that Jesus has done three things for His people: You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God (1 Cor 6.11).
1. Jesus has Washed us
Job said ‘Since I am already found guilty, why should I struggle in vain? Even if I washed myself with soap and my hands with washing soda, you would plunge me into a slime pit so that even my clothes would detest me’ (Job 9:29-31). Job knew that his sins were so ground-in that even after a year of hard washing and scrubbing God would still have to condemn him to the pit of judgment, and that in comparison to his (amoral) clothes he would still be foul. Soap and water and scrubbing brush can’t wash the black stains of a guilty soul, but Jesus’ blood can, and has done just that. This gives us a wonderful confidence! ‘Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water’ (Heb 10.22).
2. Jesus has Consecrated us
The Greek word hagiazō means to holify (my new word), to sanctify, to set apart, and to consecrate. In the Old Testament Tabernacle the seven branched-menorah was consecrated by the blood of a sacrifice (Heb 9:21). Once that happened, the menorah could be used for the worship of God in the Tabernacle, and could be used for nothing but the worship of God in the Tabernacle. Having been sprinkled by the blood of Jesus, we can love and serve God, and we can do nothing but and serve God. We are not free to use a single second or a single calorie of energy except to serve God. And all of our love for one another, and all of our work in the world, is done as—first and foremost—service to God. ‘You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body’ (1 Cor 6:19-20). For the Christian, this is not a restriction, but a wonderful freedom, ‘for his yoke is easy, and his burden is light.’
3. Jesus has Justified us
The Greek word dikaiō is a legal term. In the courts of law judges would ‘justify’ a person: declare them ‘not guilty’, and therefore free from punishment. This is what God has done for us thanks to Jesus. ‘For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus’ (Romans 3:23-24). The Reformers helpfully described this as an ‘alien’ righteousness. It is not a righteousness that derives from any good part of us, or any good act that we might have done. It is Jesus’ righteousness imputed to us, or counted to us. On my bad report my name was erased, Jesus name was inserted, and he took the consequences of my bad behavior. On Jesus’ good report his name was erased, and mine was inserted, and therefore I enjoy the rewards and blessings of his perfect life. But from there the metaphor fails: because in heaven we will all gather around the perfect and spotless lamb to sing his praises for eternity!
Jesus has washed you, consecrated you, and justified you. And so your life is transformed. We are freed from Paul’s list of sins in 1 Cor 6:9-10, the Terrible Ten, that once enslaved and crippled and condemned us. We can flee from immorality (verse 18), and honour God with our bodies (verse 20).