What were you? As you remember the sins from before you were a believer, how would those sins label you? So what are you now if you do some of the same things?
These are hard questions for most believers. Because our identity was so tied to what we did, we applied these titles to ourselves. Someone who stole was a thief. Someone who lied was a liar. Someone who cheated on a spouse was an adulterer. We simply learned to take the verb and make a noun out of it. Like Hester Prin, we wore the scarlet letter of our sin to show who we were.
When we came to Christ and He became our life, our identity was no longer found in the things we did. Our identity is in Him. We are now saints, holy ones, because that’s what He says we are. We are Christians, those who belong to Christ.
But it is hard for most of us to remember that. We still think according to the flesh, the old way of life that used to make so much sense. We still find it very easy to condemn ourselves as being whatever we were.
So that’s why I really appreciate this passage from Paul:
9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites,10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 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. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
This is what they were. They are not that any longer. Is it because they have stopped doing those things? No! In the verses just before this section Paul chastises his readers for doing wrong against their brethren. Then he says, That’s not who you are anymore!
And look at this list! Fornication, adultery, homosexuality, theft, extortion. Wow! Some of those are pretty bad even in our world. And I don’t think we are to take this as a complete list, do you?
So let’s get this straight: If you committed adultery, that sin and the label of adultery has been washed away from you. It no longer belongs to you because your label now is that of one who belongs to Jesus. If you were a homosexual, that sin and label no longer belong to you. On and on through whatever list of sins you might produce. They are all gone. They have been washed away by the blood of Jesus.
You have been washed. You have been sanctified. You have been justified.
So let the past be past!