You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 6:11
My friend Bill described Gerard, an acquaintance of his, as being “very far from God for a very long time.” But one day, after Bill met with Gerard and explained to him how God’s love has provided the way for us to be saved, Gerard became a believer in Jesus. Through tears, he repented of his sin and gave his life to Christ. Afterward, Bill asked Gerard how he felt. Wiping away tears, he answered simply, “Washed.”
What an amazing response! That’s precisely the essence of salvation made possible through faith in Jesus’ sacrifice for us on the cross. In 1 Corinthians 6, after Paul gives examples of how disobedience against God leads to separation from Him, he says, “That is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 11). “Washed,” “sanctified,” “justified”—words that point to believers being forgiven and made right with Him.
Titus 3:4–5 tells us more about this miraculous thing called salvation. “God our Savior . . . saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth.” Our sin keeps us from God, but through faith in Jesus, sin’s penalty is washed away. We become new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17), gain access to our heavenly Father (Ephesians 2:18), and are made clean (1 John 1:7). He alone provides what we need to be washed.
Why is it vital for you to be washed and sanctified by Jesus? What has it meant or what will it mean for you to put your faith in Him?
Dear Jesus, I know I’ve sinned against You. And I realize that the penalty for my sin is separation from You. Thank You for the salvation You’ve made possible and for drawing me close to You forever.
Paul’s reference to spiritual rebirth in Titus 3:5 echoes what John described in his gospel (John 1:12; 3:1–21). In John 3, we read of a religious leader who is dumbfounded with Jesus’ emphasis on the need to be born again. Initially, Nicodemus, who’d come to Jesus under the cover of darkness, finds the idea laughable. Later, he takes the risk of speaking a word on behalf of Jesus (7:47–52). And the last time we see him, he’s helping another secret believer care for Jesus’ body (19:38–42). Jesus said there’s something real and mysterious about being born from above or “born again” (3:3).