Keeping the Past in the Past
1 Corinthians 6:11
“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.”
As Paul addressed the church in Corinth, he reminded them who they were before they got saved. Verses 9-10 shows a church that came from a very bad background, but the saving grace of God was able to save them from their wickedness. Paul’s concern was that he didn’t want them to go back to such wickedness. He said after going through the list of sins, “And such were some of you…” He was trying to get them to realize that they didn’t need to go back to where they were, but they needed to keep the past in the past. He then gives them seven things to do to keep the past in the past, which is exactly what you must do if you don’t want to go back into a sinful lifestyle.
First, get right with the LORD about your sin. Paul said, “…but ye are washed…” You will never overcome your sin until you get right with the LORD. Trying to overcome sin without getting right with the God who you sinned against is a fruitless effort. According to 1 John 1:9, God is the only One Who can cleanse you, and you can’t be washed or cleansed from your sin until you get right with God.
Second, get busy serving the LORD. Paul continues to say, “…but ye are sanctified…” Sanctification is setting yourself apart for service. You will never overcome sin if you don’t get busy serving the LORD. Getting busy in the service of the LORD is one of the key ingredients to keep you from going back into sin. If you don’t get busy serving the LORD, you will find yourself struggling to overcome sin’s temptation.
Third, forgive yourself as God has forgiven you. Paul said, “…but ye are justified…” One of the biggest areas in which people struggle when trying to conquer sin is to forgive themselves. You must realize that God never requires penance for the returning saint of God to pay to be in His good graces. Not forgiving yourself of your past is saying to God that His forgiveness didn’t go far enough. God’s forgiveness is great enough to forgive anything you have done, and you must accept it by forgiving yourself.
Fourth, realize that just because you can do it doesn’t make it right to do. Verse 12 shows that you may be able to do something, but that doesn’t make it right. You must realize that freedom to do something doesn’t make it right to do. There are some things you must not do to keep yourself from going back into sin.
Fifth, avoid the associations that will cause you to go back into sin. God cautions the believer in verse 17 to be careful about their associations and who they choose to join. You will never overcome sin if you don’t clean up your associations. Bad associations always result in sinful choices and actions. You can’t run with the wrong people and be right with God.
Sixth, flee the things over which you can’t get the victory. There are some things for which you will never conquer the desire for, and those are the things you must completely avoid. God says to flee those things, which means you must know your weakness and avoid being around it.
Seventh, keep in mind that your body is God’s temple. You can’t do wrong without it grieving the Holy Spirit Who lives inside of you. If you will remember your body is the temple where the Holy Spirit dwells, you will have a better chance of not doing the wrong which would cause Him grief.