By Not Known
Some of us came from non-Christian families and followed another faith before our
conversion. Others came from Christian families, but had a period of wandering
from God before Jesus became ours in a very personal way. Others again have
periods of wayward backsliding.
Either way, we all have ‘baggage‘. There are things in our past of which we are
ashamed and wake in the night with the cold sweat of guilt.
It was the same at Corinth in the mid-first century. The congregation included
former idolaters, adulterers, active homosexuals, thieves, drunkards, swindlers
and slanderers (1 Cor 6:9-11a). That’s quite a list! There must have been
embarrassing moments at church as people recognised one another from past
Some of us have been caught up in some of these things. We carry them as our
baggage. More commonly, in Singapore, our baggage is idolatry of our ego,
possessions or pleasure. Pride, materialism and hedonism are the unholy trinity
before which most of us have worshipped.
Scripture is clear. Those who are willingly ‘stuck‘ in these things keep themselves
outside God’s kingdom, for God is holy (1 Cor 5:9).
The truly good news is in these words:
And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you
were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus
and by the Spirit of our God (1 Cor 5: 11b).
No sin is beyond God ‘s forgiveness if we confess, repent and put our faith in Jesus.
The only unforgivable sin is persistent and wilful unbelief in Jesus, and rebellion
against the gospel. Our appalling sins of putting ego, possessions and pleasure in
God’s place are forgiveable, along with all else that Paul mentions.
As we look around the congregation today let’s not be judgemental about our own
past or that of others. Christ has borne the judgement. Rather let us be grateful
for the grace that sets our past aside. Let us resolve to set our past aside by now
living in a way that honours God (1 Cor 5:20). And let’s tell this truly good news to
people who are not yet Christians and welcome them as they turn from their
shameful past to a new life in Christ.