Years ago in a worship service, pastor Ray Stedman stepped to the pulpit and read the text for the day: “Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. Some of you were once like that” (1 Cor. 6:9-11 nlt).
Then he looked up, a bemused smile on his face, and said, “I’m curious: How many of you have one or more of these sins in your background? If so, will you stand?”
There was a young man there who had never been in a church before. He had recently been saved at a Billy Graham crusade and came with fear and trembling to church that Sunday, not knowing what he would find. He later told me that when he heard the pastor’s question, he looked around to see if anyone would stand. At first no one did, but then most of the congregation was on their feet. He said to himself, “These are my kind of people!”
We can all find ourselves in Paul’s list in 1 Corinthians. But when we confess our sin and accept the gift of eternal life paid for by the death of Jesus, we become a new creation saved by grace (Rom. 6:23; 2 Cor. 5:17).