The Apostle Paul described some of the saints in Corinth as: slanderers, idolaters, thieves, greedy, drunkards and sexually immoral. He declares that such people will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor 6:9-11). It might appear that Paul was pigeonholing these people to be able to pull out their file to remind himself who they were when their name came up in conversation. Not so! In the same verses he states, “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.” It must have been extremely difficult to be holy and set apart for a citizen of Corinth. At one time 1,000 “sacred” prostitutes served at the temple of Aphrodite and Paul mentioned adulterers and homosexual offenders and male prostitutes in that aforementioned passage.

Yet these people could now hear themselves called saints (1 Cor 6: 2). That term was also used in addressing the Christians in Ephesus, (Eph 1:1) Philippi (Php 1:1) and Rome (Rom 8:27). Paul certainly knew the sting of being pigeonholed as an enemy of the Church of God because of what he USED TO BE rather than what he now was, an Apostle, a teacher of the gospel and martyr for Christ (1 Cor 15:7-10).

Jesus was pigeonholed and mocked as being nothing more than a carpenter’s son (Mt 13:15) (Mk 6:3) by the people of his hometown. He was pigeonholed as one having a demon by the religious leaders of the Jews. Imagine trying to put the creator of the Universe in a box! It seems as if most people want to keep their peers at the level they remember them in spite of their age and accomplishments.

No matter how many years go by, some of us, in spite of many physical and educational changes in our life, are still pigeonholed as, “that little rascal” or worse. Thanks be to God he doesn’t dismiss us spiritually by what we once WERE. He sees immersed believers as: beloved children (1 Jo 5:2) heirs (Rom 8:17) and priests (Rev 5:10) (1 Pe 2:9). God does not pigeonhole Christians, he loves and honors them (Ps 139:13-14). May we learn to value each and every person as unique.
—Jim Bailey