2004-02-05 - Imperfection
James 3:2 For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well. (NAS)
One of the more common arguments I get from non-believers is that Christians think they are perfect. What we read here written by James should correct that in any of us who may feel we are better in any way than others.
James is crystal clear. We all stumble. There are some Christians who do a better job at walking than others. They are often those who have been walking with Christ for a long time. These people are also the first to proclaim their frailty. The longer one walks with God the more acutely aware of sin they become. At early thoughts are that if we keep a simple list of do's and dont's we will be all right. The fence to scale appears to be maybe chest high. The further along the road we get and the more we realize our fallibility, the higher the fence becomes. Later, when our glimpse of the requirement of perfection becomes slightly less hazy and we may get a glimpse of the holiness of God, we realize that the fence is a barb-wired wall that reaches into the clouds.
For those who feel they have arrived, or achieved some higher station I offer Matthew Henry's stinging rebuke:
We are all guilty before God; and those who vaunt it over the frailties and infirmities of others little think how many things they offend in themselves. Nay, perhaps their magisterial deportment, and censorious tongues, may prove worse than any faults they condemn in others. Let us learn to be severe in judging ourselves, but charitable in our judgments of other people.
The task of being sinless is not within the realm of humanity. Should it be our aim? Yes. Will we fall flat on our faces? I have the skid marks to prove it. Our failures become bearable under the care of the Master as He allows each stumbling to be a teacher, and Him to be our Guide. By Jesus' matchless mercy and grace these scrapes and scars become reminders of His love. And His words become a lamp unto our feet and a light onto our path.
1 John 1:8-10 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. (NAS)
Grace & Peace,