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Bible Study: Washed, sanctified, justified in Christ

NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.

This week’s Bible study is adapted from the YOU curriculum.

Bible Passage: 1 Corinthians 6:9-20

Discussion Questions:
— When have you seen a simple change make a huge difference in someone’s life? What was the impact of that change over time?
— What does sanctification look like in your everyday life?
— If a friend asked you to explain sanctification, what would you say?

Food for Thought:

In her book “King Rules,” Alveda King shares how Michael Luther King’s mother had always wanted to name him Martin. However, during our nation’s darkest period — a time when not everyone was created equal –- a Caucasian midwife convinced her to name the boy Michael instead. The midwife believed that name suited him as a black male child.

But, according to family legend, when Michael grew older, he changed his name to Martin Luther King. Years later, he became the father of Martin Luther King Jr. That’s a powerful reminder that in many cases, change can be the catalyst for incredible things. It happens in history, and it happens in our spiritual lives.

Read 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. Before we asked Christ to enter our lives, we were enslaved to sin. We lived our lives on our own terms, doing what seemed best for us. But in 1 Corinthians 6, Paul made it clear things changed once we surrendered to Christ.

While we once were trapped in sin, each of us became a new creation in Christ. We became a part of God’s kingdom and members of His family. At the moment we accepted Jesus as our Savior, He set us apart. All our old vices — things like immorality, idolatry, dishonesty, greed, and addictions — became past tense in our lives through the grace and power of God.

Paul used three key words to describe the spiritual transformation we experienced as new believers. First, we were washed from our sins. In a sense, God gave us a spiritual bath, cleansing us from all the spiritual filth that we’d picked up living on our own.

Second, Paul noted that we were sanctified. That means we were set apart by God and declared holy. God created each of us for a purpose. He has a plan for us to fulfill. And He expects us to live in such a way that the world sees the difference in us.

Finally, Paul said we were justified. This is a legal term similar to a judge declaring a defendant “not guilty.” In the sight of God, the ultimate Judge, we are considered righteous. When He looks at us, He sees only the perfection of Christ standing in our place.

All three things happen at the moment of salvation, but they are each different. For example, justification is a one-time event, while sanctification is a daily process. Each day, we must choose to live apart from the darkness and habits of this world. Just like Paul reminded the Corinthians to avoid the sins of the old life, we should remember that we’re a new creation in Christ.


YOU is committed to providing a complete Bible study experience for small groups and classes. Every session is written through an urban and multiethnic lens that provides relevant, engaging and applicable studies that not only encourage and equip people, but also motivate them to mission. This flexible, non-dated, all-in-one quarterly resource offers weekly Bible study for leaders and learners, devotionals and teaching plans, as well as articles on hot topics and missions. For additional downloadable online teaching resources, visit LifeWay.com/YOU.

Other ongoing Bible study options offered by LifeWay for all ages can be found at LifeWay.com/SundaySchool or ordered at LifeWay Christian Stores.

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  • Staff/Lifeway Christian Resources