Here he takes occasion to warn them against many heinous evils, to which they had been formerly addicted.
I. He puts it to them as a plain truth, of which they could not be ignorant, that such sinners should not inherit the kingdom of God. The meanest among them must know thus much, that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9), shall not be owned as true members of his church on earth, nor admitted as glorious members of the church in heaven. All unrighteousness is sin; and all reigning sin, nay, every actual sin committed deliberately, and not repented of, shuts out of the kingdom of heaven. He specifies several sorts of sins: against the first and second commandments, as idolaters; against the seventh, as adulterers, fornicators, effeminate, and Sodomites; against the eighth, as thieves and extortioners, that by force or fraud wrong their neighbours; against the ninth, as revilers; and against the tenth, as covetous and drunkards, as those who are in a fair way to break all the rest. Those who knew any thing of religion must know that heaven could never be intended for these. The scum of the earth are no ways fit to fill the heavenly mansions. Those who do the devil’s work can never receive God’s wages, at least no other than death, the just wages of sin, Rom. 6:23.
II. Yet he warns them against deceiving themselves: Be not deceived. Those who cannot but know the fore-mentioned truth are but too apt not to attend to it. Men are very much inclined to flatter themselves that God is such a one as themselves, and that they may live in sin and yet die in Christ, may lead the life of the devil’s children and yet go to heaven with the children of God. But this is all a gross cheat. Note, It is very much the concern of mankind that they do not cheat themselves in the matters of their souls. We cannot hope to sow to the flesh and yet reap everlasting life.
III. He puts them in mind what a change the gospel and grace of God had made in them: Such were some of you (1 Cor. 6:11), such notorious sinners as he had been reckoning up. The Greek word is tauta—such things were some of you, very monsters rather than men. Note, Some that are eminently good after their conversion have been as remarkably wicked before. Quantum mutatus ab illo!--How glorious a change does grace make! It changes the vilest of men into saints and the children of God. Such were some of you, but you are not what you were. You are washed, you are sanctified, you are justified in the name of Christ, and by the Spirit of our God. Note, The wickedness of men before conversion is no bar to their regeneration and reconciliation to God. The blood of Christ, and the washing of regeneration, can purge away all guilt and defilement. Here is a rhetorical change of the natural order: You are sanctified, you are justified. Sanctification is mentioned before justification: and yet the name of Christ, by which we are justified, is placed before the Spirit of God, by whom we are sanctified. Our justification is owing to the merit of Christ; our sanctification to the operation of the Spirit: but both go together. Note, None are cleansed from the guilt of sin, and reconciled to God through Christ, but those who are also sanctified by his Spirit. All who are made righteous in the sight of God are made holy by the grace of God.