My Thoughts. . .
Several years ago, I sat across the table from one of our members. He told me he had cancer. The doctor advised him to, “Go home and get your house in order because you are going to die.” The physician was not being cruel, he just wanted that member to know that his life here would soon be over. A few weeks later he passed away.
He talked about things in his life which he had thought were important. The hours he spent to build his business was to provide for his family. Yet, he regretted those hours he lost by not being at home with them. Because of that, he did not believe he had been a good father. He spoke with regret about those times when he attempted to be in two different places at the same time and his juggling expertise was lacking. As a Christian he had attempted to be perfect and despite his efforts in faithfulness, it left him feeling short of that goal and now there was no more time.
Methuselah lived for 969 years. He had all those years to prove that man could live a perfect life. He still needed another year to prove it but failed! He is not known for perfection, only the length of his years. Everyone fathered by man, from Adam to 2021 has failed to reach that illusive perfection. Methuselah was God’s example that man, even in 969 years, could not achieve it. It is man’s “fool’s gold.”
Some preachers have quoted, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). I love preachers, but I have never seen one who was as perfect as he thought his audience should be. Is Jesus giving us an impossible goal? The “perfection” which some preach is out of context with what Jesus was saying. Since God is without sin (perfect), the thought was that we also needed to be perfect if we wanted to go to heaven. Our perfection would cause heaven’s gates to swing wide open to us out of respect for our accomplishments. The context is not speaking of sinless perfection, but of the KIND of completeness needed. God loves all of mankind despite our sins and sent his Son to prove it. Jesus encouraged us to be complete by loving saint and sinner as God does. He is not saying that we must be sinless to enter heaven, but we can love others despite their sins. You may be a loving spouse, a wonderful parent, an excellent employee, a terrific friend, a helpful son or daughter, a pleasant neighbor, and an outstanding citizen, but those attributes are not your Savior. Jesus is! Good people are lost. Good people sometimes do not accept Jesus as their Savior. Good people can be saved by Jesus, but they choose not to accept his salvation. We are creatures of choice and responsible for the ones we make.
You may put a check in the offering plate that no one can match, teach a Bible class that is always overflowing, be considered as one having angelic qualities, and work harder than any Christian since the first century, and you will continue to be without a Savior. Without him your sins remain yours. Without him, all you have is your worthless righteousness. Without him you are still clothed in the rags of sin. Without him you are dead with no hope. Without him God’s Spirit cannot dwell in you. Without him you do not have your avenue of prayer. Without him, you have no proper dwelling place for eternity. Without him you are without!
All of us have shortcomings. Why? “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). We make wrong choices. Our intentions are not always good. We have regrets that cannot be fixed. We will always come up short no matter how tall we are. Life is full of potholes awaiting our misguided footsteps. Following Jesus will not produce “A get out of all problems” card. You may never be the life of the party. People will not want your autograph. Sadly, you will find out who your “real” friends are. But he will buy your sins with his blood. He will fill you with his righteousness. God will dwell IN you.
You may never be “perfect” in anything, but when you become a child of God, you have everything that is perfect (Ephesians 1:3).