“But … you were sanctified”.
1 Cor 6:11 NIV
Several years ago a family bought a small run down cottage which had been rented out for many years by the previous owner. They scraped the cheap paint from the walls and put brightly-coloured good quality paint on them. They re-shaped the tumble down rockery in the garden and planted flowers. They replaced the broken gutters. They installed built-in cupboards where there had been none. It started to “look a picture”. Then the time came when they had to move on and they invited the agent who had sold the house to them to sell it for them. He looked over it and remarked “You bought a lemon, but you’ve made lemonade”.
Paul bought plenty of lemons when he founded the Christian church at Corinth. They were a motley bunch and had been involved in all the decadence for which Corinth had become famous. Then Jesus came into their lives and their attitudes changed. So did their conduct, their values and their aspirations. Love had replaced selfishness and kindness had taken the place of abuse and exploitation. Peace of mind had replaced anger and bitterness. Despite the remnants of a few pips here and there, lemonade had come out of the lemons. That is sanctification. It is the replacement of sin in people’s lives with holiness. Instead of Satan running riot in their attitudes and actions, Jesus takes control and produces godly character.
However well-organized a church community may be, however powerful a preacher the pastor may be, however much money the people contribute, the real test for any Christian fellowship is, “How sanctified, how holy, how godly are the people?” How well does your congregation measure up to this test?
Lord, let your Spirit work in me till I am sanctified in Christ.