“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.” (1 Corinthians 6:1)
What do you think of this passage from Mary Karr: “If you live in the dark a long time and the sun comes out, you do not cross into it whistling. There’s an initial uprush of relief at first, then-for me, anyway- a profound dislocation. My old assumptions about how the world works are buried, yet my new ones aren’t yet operational. There’s been a death of sorts, but without a few days in hell, no resurrection is possible.”
It seems to me that both the verse and the quote inhabit the same thought-world – that middle section of our experience between waking up in your new post-resurrection world and entering fully “into the joy of your Lord” (as Jesus phrased it). It’s the position of being already, but not yet. Already forgiven, but not yet capable of forgiving? Already transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light, but not yet “renewed in your minds”.
Paul draws quite a list –a horrific list- of ne’er-do-wells and then adds, quite nonchalantly, that “Such were some of you”! But then his profound sense of the possibilities of grace kicks in. Don’t worry about any of that stuff. Don’t major on what is behind you. Consider what’s happening now. You are already “washed… sanctified.. justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
The seagull has been plucked from the oil-slick. It could do nothing to save itself. It was doomed. But now the detergent is being worked carefully into its feathers. Washed, sanctified, fully rescued. Loved.