"Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And 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 and by the Spirit of our God." 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
This passage is set in the context of believers bringing lawsuits against other believers. There were two main issues Paul brought up:
1. They were trying to settle disputes outside the church in front of 'secular' courts of law, and
2. That there were lawsuits in the first place was an indication of a problem.
I can't claim to know exactly what Paul was thinking, but I can tell you what struck me about the part I highlighted in bold, "And that is what some of you were." He told them that it would be better to allow themselves to be wronged than bring a lawsuit...also that some of them were actually the wrongdoers.
I can picture this letter being read aloud to the church at Corinth. Surely there would have been some in the crowd that when it was read that the sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, etc., wouldn't inherit the kingdom, that would have said "yeah, uh-huh, preach it pastor, that's right," until he then read, "and such were some of you." "Oh." What more could be said? "Oh. Yeah. That's right. I forgot." Silence.
I know, I know, He removes our sin and casts it as far as the east is from the west. But that doesn't mean we are to forget...we aren't to hold on to shame or guilt, but if we forget what we once were, then we will become short on grace for other people. It is much easier for me to forgive, and look past outward failures or habits, when I remember what I once was. I don't have to think about it very long, and I manage to find some grace for the other person.
This is like fresh news to me today. Mind you, it isn't easy, but we are called to be slow to anger, patient and kind, remembering that it is the kindness of the Lord that leads to repentance. Oh yeah. That's right. I forgot.