And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:11)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Many words could be used to described us outside of Christ: fornicates, idolaters, adulterers, homosexuals, sodomites, thieves, covetous, drunkards, insulters, and extortionists. That's a pretty harsh list. And St. Paul says that such people simply will not inherit the Kingdom of God. (And once again, the Lord's Word answers what happens to those who want to cling to such sins).
But that's what you WERE. You are not that now. You have been washed, sanctified, and justified. You have been saved by Jesus Christ. For, on the cross those ugly words above that describe you, instead describe Him. He is those things. He is the scum of the earth. He is the curse of sin. He is the one who suffers for these things. Why? In order that you don't.
By your Baptism into Christ, all the evil and wickedness you have done has been washed away. It's gone. You won't answer for it. You won't be kept out of God's kingdom because of it.
But what if temptation seizes you and you give in and start sticking those adjectives back on yourself? Repent. Call it what it is: sin. Confess it. Hear your pastor absolve you of it. Run to the waters and name of your baptism and flee to the sanctifying power of Christ's holy flesh and blood put in you. In other words, when the sin that keeps people out of God's kingdom stalks you, hear the Good News that now, clothed with Christ in Baptism, that's not you. When the Lord looks at you, that's not what He sees. Instead, He sees Jesus who paid the price for your sins.
And that is such a true freedom from such sins that you really and truly need not go back to them ever. For Christ has rescued you from being what you were to being what you are now: a child of God in Him. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
Today Your mercy calls us To wash away our sin. However great our trespass, Whatever we have been, However long from mercy Our hearts have turned away, Your precious blood can wash us And make us clean today. (LSB 915:1)
Questions or comments regarding the Reflections may be sent to the Rev. Mark Buetow, Reflections Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org.