(408) 779-0697 | info@westhills.org

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 Study Guide: Such Were Some of You

Community Group Study Guide — Such Were Some of You

1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Study Information:

The church is made up of people who are glorious messes. We are each a mess because one of the things that makes the church unique is that we all enter membership in the church because of God’s grace; not because we paid a fee or made the cut. Paul gives us a list of sins in our passage that indicates that regardless of the extent of your sin or struggles, before placing your trust in the person and work of Jesus, you were excluded from his kingdom and could not earn your acceptance into Christ’s kingdom. We are glorious though because of 1 Corinthians 6:11, our past no longer defines us rather in Christ we are justified and sanctified and “found in Christ” by the Spirit of God (note the Trinitarian statement!) 

We all lack the merit we’d need to be in the kingdom of God if it were not for how he saves by his one way love in the perfect mercy and justice that God has displayed on the cross. Over the last few study guides we’ve interacted with how Paul has been helping us see distinctions between how we should think of those in the church and those who are outside the church. Paul referenced how we should hold Christians to a high ethical standard in following Christ and not try to hold those outside the faith to the same standard (1 Corinthians 5:9-13). We also learned that when dealing with conflict in the church we should look to the wisdom of God among the membership to help solve that conflict so that Christ is honored and not defamed needlessly in the world. Paul’s desire in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 is to show us what really makes the members of Christ’s body, the church, unique and different from the world; being marked by God’s grace. 

First, there is a tendency to rank certain people as further outside the reach of God than others. 
We have already seen how the Corinthian church was called by God, named as “saints together”, were spirit filled and sanctified. In spite of their struggles, they were a group joined together by Christ. Paul reminds them of who they are apart from Christ as a way to humble them and fight against their division and pride (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). Without Christ they are outside the kingdom of God. Before coming to faith in Jesus they were sexually immoral, idolators, revilers, adulterers, drunkards, homosexuals, thieves, greedy and swindlers. This may explain why there is conflict in Corinth! These kinds of folks were excluded from God’s kingdom and were caught up in living for the world out of their sin nature. Yet, because of Christ’s saving grace, Paul point the to their new identity: they are a spirit-filled work in progress. At a moment in time we are justified in Christ being forgiven and made righteous in his sight; but the rest of our lives we are living into that new identity as we are sanctified more and more. 

Notice the list of sins Paul gives. We all get called out in this list in one way or another. If for some reason you feel like you passed this list go look at Romans 1:29-32 and certainly between these two lists there will be at least one thing that shows how far outside of God’s kingdom you were. The great common denominator all Christians share is that before putting your faith in Jesus you were outside of his kingdom because of your sin. This passage often gets singled out to show how the church is known for its views on homosexuality however do not miss the bigger context here; it is not just sexual identity and activity that is called out. Paul shows us how sexual immorality in general and greed and swindling can become our identity if we are not found in Christ and that is what keeps us outside his kingdom. To be part of God’s kingdom we need a new identity and we no longer can be defined by our past, present or future sin whether that is seen in sexual struggle, idolatry or buying into the silicon valley life that is often marked by materialism and greed; all of those things are poor substitutes for what is offered to us in Christ. 

We err if we see certain sins on this list a greater disqualifier than others. Certainly some sins carry greater consequences, but each of these sins are enough to keep one outside the kingdom it is not that the sexually immoral are further off than the swindlers. Paul’s warning is “do not deceive yourselves” and we’d be wise to heed that same warning. If you come to Christ and think that you’re still good enough or better than whoever else you’re in conflict with then you’d be wise to know that you did not earn your place in God’s family, it was given. Jesus addresses that kind of heart attitude in the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector (Luke 18:9-14) with the main application point of “whoever exalts himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” 1 Corinthians 9-11 is a humbling passage, meant to show you just how much you did not earn or deserve your place even if you think your sin was “little” compared to someone else. Each of us is outside of God’s kingdom apart from his saving grace, which is where Paul turns next. 

Second, such were some of you…!

“And such were some of you” should be some of the most encouraging words you can read in the scripture. Our past does not disqualify us and our present good works are not enough to grant us entry into God’s family. If you are “in Christ” you are no longer defined by your past history. At various points in 1 Corinthians, Paul reminds us that what we have in Christ is a gift and this is one of those places! This church is made up of people who used to cheat others in the marketplace, visit temple prostitutes, worship idols, engage in homosexual activity, bar hoppers, adulterers and the like. The church is a family and a place that only exists because God’s grace brings them all together in Christ. 

In Christ you are washed meaning that you are no longer considered unclean because of your former sin. In the Hebrew Bible we see many examples of the Israelites having to ritualistically wash themselves clean when they committed sin; for those in Christ that is a once and for all action. In Christ you are justified meaning that you are declared righteous in God’s sight. Jesus took your sin to the cross and by faith his righteousness is applied to you. Finally, in Christ you are sanctified, set apart for a purpose and God is at work to help you to will and to work for his good pleasure. This means that by God’s grace we put sin to death and pursue holiness. This is who you are church! 

Main idea: If you were to get a history of the lives we all used to live before Christ you’d come to the conclusion that the family of God is made up of some pretty shady people. Paul tells us that the unrighteous cannot inherit God’s kingdom, but such were some of us: drunkards, adulterers, sexually immoral, thieves, and the like. In Christ you are washed, justified and sanctified but if you are not in Christ you are defined by your sin and remain outside his kingdom. You no longer have to be defined by your past action. God offers us a gift of a new life, a new start and a new family when we put our trust in Christ. 

At your community group:

Take 15-20 minutes to share about how God has been at work in your life, prayer concerns and pray for one another.

How did God speak to you through the scripture and the sermon this week? 

Discussion Questions:

Read 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Based on this passage, what does it mean to be righteous or unrighteous?

Have you grown up or experienced church community that sees certain types of sins as being further outside the reach of God than others? What was that like and why do you think that was the case?

Paul wants Corinth and by extension us today to see that we are all unworthy and have a list of sins that excluded us from God’s kingdom until we were forgiven and made new by the work of God. How does this understanding strengthen church community and help us seek out those outside the church?