1 Corinthians 6:11 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Corinthians 6:11, NIV: 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 Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

1 Corinthians 6:11, ESV: 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.

1 Corinthians 6:11, KJV: And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

1 Corinthians 6:11, NASB: Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

1 Corinthians 6:11, NLT: Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

1 Corinthians 6:11, CSB: And some of you used to be like this. 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.

What does 1 Corinthians 6:11 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul has listed multiple examples of sinful lifestyles, insisting that nobody identified by them will inherit God's kingdom. That list included the sexually immoral, idol worshipers, adulterers, those who practice homosexuality, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers (angry insulters), and swindlers who cheat people out of money. The point is not that such things are unforgivable, as this very verse disproves. Rather, those who embrace such acts demonstrate a deep rejection of God and His will. Those who persist in such sins are proving they want nothing to do with God.

Now Paul says something convicting to the believers at Corinth: some of you were "those" people. You did those things. Because of that, you did not deserve to inherit God's kingdom and share in His glory forever. You deserved to be separated from God. In truth, this could be said of every person who has ever lived. Our specific sinful actions may not be the same, but our sin caused every one of us to fall short of God's glory (Romans 3:23). We were dead in our sin and, by nature, were objects of God's eternal wrath (Ephesians 2:3).

Paul immediately shifts to encouragement and love, however. For the believers at Corinth, as for all Christians, something dramatic changed when we came to God through faith in Christ. He declared us righteous and welcomed us into His family as His children. He made us heirs to His glory (Romans 3:21–26).

Sinful practices define the life and nature of the non-believer, but that is not who the born again Christian (John 3:3) is any longer. First, we were washed. In a letter to Titus, Paul called this the "washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit" (Titus 3:5). We are no longer stained by those sins; they are gone.

Second, we were sanctified, set apart from the rest of sinful humanity for God's purposes, as God's people. Paul began this letter by describing the Christians in Corinth in this way (1 Corinthians 1:2).

Finally, we were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. That's more than a declaration of "not guilty." It's an identity swap. Instead of, "unrighteous because you are a thief," we became "righteous because you are in Christ Jesus."

Any and all of those heinous sins can be forgiven. In verses 9 and 10, Paul made no effort to rank them or declare those who practice them beyond the reach of the gospel. We're not forced to try to stop sinning in order to become like Christ. Believers have been declared by God that we are in Christ—it is time to stop sinning and start living as He did.