My Thoughts. . .
A person may be “holy” in character with a reputation that is spotless yet continues to be a sinner. Why? Peter did not mind telling others what he would or would not do, but he was a sinner. Paul’s work-ethic was stronger than most, but he had the same fault. John, the one who immersed, was related to Jesus, but he also came up short in law keeping. The Philippian church received a letter from Paul, who had almost nothing negative to correct, yet they were guilty of sin. When Paul wrote the Roman brethren, he summed it up with, “For all have sinned” (Romans 3:23). The application of Paul’s words goes beyond the first century. Luke in describing the Pentecost event, informs the reader that first covenant children of God (Jews) realized their short-comings and asked, “What shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). Peter’s first “do” was “Repent” (v.38). Peter’s command to “Repent” was immediately followed by “be immersed for the remission of sins” (v.38). Yet, even saved sinners are not immune to shortcomings. That is why mankind continually needs the results of Jesus shed blood.
Even though saved sinners are redeemed by the blood of Jesus, non-believers are capable of finding fault in their lives. God forgives while non-believers find fault. It is usually their way of dismissing Jesus. The female gate keeper could have informed her friends how Peter was a lying, cursing disciple of Jesus (Mark 14:71). However, she had not had the opportunity to hear or know Jesus. Former colleagues of Saul could have reminded him about his covetousness (Romans 7:8 ASV). They had not yet experienced the work of Jesus upon the cross. However, even though one follows Christ he is not Lilly-White. If Jesus had not died to remove our sins, you and I would remain lost because we do not have that ability ourselves.
We cannot erase our past history. It is what we used to be. Although Jesus saves, he does not mold us into a robotic individual who never stumbles again. He not only took our past sins, but all of them to be washed away by his sacrificial blood. Our forgiven imperfections may continue to haunt us, but we are forgiven! Satan attempts to enslave us again by taunting us that Jesu’s blood is not sufficient to keep us clean. If we forget the continual cleansing power of Jesus’ blood, Satan celebrates our weakness of faith. Paul stated, “You, however, are controlled NOT by the sinful nature but by the Spirit” (Romans 8:8). Our shortcomings should remind us that Jesus cleanses those who confess these glitches in life (1 John 1:8-10). Satan wants you to believe you must be perfect. Remember, you are not capable of perfection, but Jesus is sufficient in keeping you perfectly cleansed. Keep your eyes focused on him who took ALL our sins upon himself and bestowed upon us his righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). His righteousness is not feeble. It is not negated by our lack of perfection. It is activated by faith in his redemptive work on the cross. The Hebrew writer reminds us “But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved” (Hebrews 10:17, 39).
We have a choice. Follow Jesus or accept the cost of living without him. If you believe your perfectionism will save, you are following the wrong teacher. Impotent cleansing is no cleansing at all.