Last year, two men knocked on our door and asked permission to look for old bottles in our backyard. Our 1830's home once had a pit toilet which doubled as the trash bin. Once that site was located, the men were able to dig through the trash and find a number of old bottles. They unearthed about 20 bottles but nothing of interest to them. Of all that were in the ground, one particular bottle caught our attention—an old ketchup bottle. After washing the dirt off the bottle, we placed it on one of our bedroom dressers for display.
I thought of that bottle when I read 1 Corinthians 6:9-11:
"Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."
The Corinthian church was made up of an assortment of sinful people whom God had rescued from their previous lifestyles. As the list indicates, some of them had been saved from heinous lives of sin. But they had been washed, set apart, and justified. Like the old bottle, their filthy lives had been washed clean by the blood of Jesus. He then set them apart as his special treasure for the world to see. And best of all, God declared these sinners just because of what Jesus had done for them.
That is an amazing story which actually explains what God has done for each of us. I was wallowing in the filth of my sin when God chose to rescue me. For a reason unknown to me, God chose to wash me clean from my former lifestyle, set me apart as one of his cherished treasures, and declared that because of Jesus I am righteous. That is what God has done for all those whom he has chosen to rescue from their sin.