Unrighteous vs Living by the Spirit
1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Paul says something similar to the Galations: And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:24-25). A Christian has been bought with a price; we now need to live as Christ wants - putting aside those things that entrapped us, which Paul calls 'things of the flesh' which can be done in the power of the Holy Spirit. We cannot do this ourselves, and even if we stopped doing the things listed in this verse we will not inherit the kingdom of God, because our sin must be punished (paid for). The only way to be made righteous is to believe on Jesus Christ and by his grace we are saved; and the Holy Spirit will wash you and sanctify you and justify you.

Christ our strength (Phil. 4: 12, 13)

It is blessed to look back and see the grace of Christ in His lowly life. It is blessed to look up, and see Christ in the glory, as the one glorious Object before our souls. It is blessed to look on, and see that Christ is coming to conform us to His image. Nevertheless, as we look around we are faced with the circumstances by the way —  prosperous circumstances that may make us careless and self-satisfied, or trying circumstances by which we may be cast down and dissatisfied. How then can we be lifted above our circumstances, be they bright or sad?

To answer this question, the Apostle gives us his own experience. He had known what it was to be in want as well as in prosperity: he had been full, and he had hungered; he had enjoyed plenty and he had suffered need. But in all circumstances he had found his support in Christ. So he could write, "I have strength for all things in Him that giveth me power."

In circumstances of weakness the Lord had said to him, "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness" (2 Cor. 12: 9). Therefore Paul had learned, in whatsoever state he was, to be content.

That Christ was his strength, was not merely an absolute truth to which he assented, but a truth that he had learned by experience. Through the strength of Christ he was made superior to all circumstances, be they bright or sad.

We may say Christ can do this for all saints, and it is true. But Paul says, as it were, "He has done it for me, for I have learnt by experience that I can do all things through Christ which strengthened me."

Thus, with Christ before his soul as his life, his Pattern, his Object, his hope, and his strength, the Apostle entered into all the blessed experiences that are proper to a Christian in the power of the Holy Spirit, and this in spite of so much in his circumstances that was sorrowful and heart breaking.

Seeing that Christ remains, and that Christ is the Same (Heb. 1: 11, 12), it is still possible, amidst the gathering gloom of these closing days, for the simplest believer to enjoy this same true Christian experience — this joy in the Lord, confidence in the Lord, peace in the midst of trials, love that flows out to the saints, hope that looks for the coming of Christ, and faith that counts upon His support to lift us above every trial by the way.

Hamliton Smith
Posted: 05 Jun 2024