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Discovery Magazine 6/1/2005

You can Be Forgiven if You Repent

At the time Paul traveled around the Roman world, the city of Corinth was a very wicked place. It was filled with all sorts of sinful behavior—especially sexual sin. In fact, it was widely considered to be a place of loose morals. The great temple of Aphrodite had 1,000 prostitutes. The city had many bars and taverns where people drank alcohol. “To act the Corinthian” became a common expression that meant to engage in fornication. Fornication is sexual intercourse that God condemns. Corinth indeed was a very sinful place.

But the Gospel is powerful! When Paul visited the city and preached the Gospel, guess what happened? “Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his household. And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized” (Acts 18:8). Some of the very people who had been living immoral lives had become Christians! Isn’t that wonderful? When Paul later wrote a letter to the church of Christ in Corinth, he said: “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

Even though some of the Corinthians had done some bad things before they became Christians, they could be forgiven and accepted by Christ. But they had to obey the Gospel to

be forgiven of their past sins. When Paul said, “such were some of you,” he meant that they had repented of those past sins, which means that they changed their mind about behaving in that way, and stopped doing it! That means that anyone who says that homosexuals are “born that way” is wrong. Some of the Corinth-ians had been homosexuals. But they had ceased their behavior. They stopped practicing their homosexuality, even as the idolaters stopped their idolatry and the thieves stopped their stealing.

Isn’t it great that even if we have done some pretty bad things, we can be forgiven and live with God in heaven—if we will repent?

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