Such were some of you; but you were washed…sanctified…
justified in the name of the Lord...
1 Corinthians 6:11
This verse contains the biggest BUT in the Bible. Paul has just taken our inventory, listing those sins and identities that keep us out of the kingdom of God. Back up a couple of verses and read the list. The bad news is that we’re all somewhere on the list. How many define you? “…the sexually immoral, adulterers, homosexuals, drunkards, thieves…” It’s a thorough list and leaves very little to speculation. Just cleaning up our acts won’t erase those stains. Turning over a new leaf, doing religious activities, or trying to even up the score won’t get our names off the list. Because God is outside of time, every sin from our past and present follows us like a noxious cloud, the way dog doodoo clings to the bottom of a shoe.
God doesn’t tolerate the stench.
Then comes the good news—there is a BUT! Jesus came to this earth, lived the life we should have lived, pleased God in every way, and then offered Himself as payment for the debt we owe God. On the cross, He became everything on the list (2 Cor. 5:21; Col. 2:14). As the Son of God hung suspended between heaven and earth, God poured out on Him all the righteous wrath He has against our sin. When Jesus rose from the dead, He put the BUT in that verse. He offers to tear up the list for anyone who will surrender to His lordship. When we bow at the cross, Jesus’ sacrifice erases the stains of our past. In exchange, we get His righteousness credited to our account.
We don’t have to stay on the bad list. There is a BUT.