Are Christians Flawless?

No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier. Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules~ 2nd Timothy 2:4-5 NASB

 I have been blessed (?) with an eclectic taste in music. I enjoy some classical composers, seventies war protest music (I blame my hippie parents), eighties techno-pop (don’t ask), folk music (again my parents) Irish punk-rock (my son) and of course Christian worship music.

 However, when driving, I stick almost exclusively to Christian music. There are reasons for this. The goody-two-shoes spiritual reason is that I have kids who are usually with me in the car. Even the best secular music frequently presents questionable philosophies in a very appealing manner. Young minds are simply not prepared to make sense of those messages from a Christian worldview.

 On a more down-to-earth note, Christian lyrics have a healthy way of reminding me at just the right moment who I belong to and what I am called to be all about.

 I need to be reminded of those things when I’m driving a car.

 Behind the wheel of a motor vehicle is the one place on Earth where I tend to forget all about Jesus and being a Christ follower. It’s fair to say that a Christian song playing just the right thing at just the right moment has averted more than a few occurrences of road rage and perhaps even saved some lives in our greater metropolitan area.

 However, there are some disadvantages to Christian music. I believe with all my heart that what we believe about just about everything matters. Beliefs are essentially thoughts and our thoughts about life dictate how we respond to reality. This is especially true in the spiritual realm. Our beliefs about God and His standards deeply affect how our faith is lived out in the world.

 People who think like I do don’t write every Christian song. As a result there are times I find myself singing along to a song that I simply don’t agree with or that I believe is true only up to a point.

 I find this maddening.

 Such is the case with a popular song that plays on the Christian radio station what feels like a thousand times a day. The song drives me nuts, not because it’s a terrible song, but because it’s a good song that is annoyingly easy to sing. It’s also a bit of a hot mess from a doctrinal perspective. The song is about grace (what else) and it puts forth the idea that once someone becomes a Christian they reach flawless perfection. The chorus states “grace has made you flawless”.

 It’s not all wrong. Grace is an amazing, beautiful, sometimes puzzling and always fascinating mystery. When God sees people through the lens of grace He does not see their mistakes or sins. Nor does He see the scars inflicted on them by their sins or the sins of others. Rather, a person’s faith in Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross gives God (for want of a better term) the authorization to see the flawless perfection of Jesus in sinful people.

 When a person becomes a Christian, God chooses to look past their sin and see the literal perfection of Jesus (Hebrews 8:11-13). Jesus’ death and resurrection has made those who have committed themselves to Jesus, flawless in God’s sight.

 Having God decide to see us as flawless is vastly different from actually achieving flawlessness. Before the teaching of doctrine became hopelessly old-fashioned, this deed was known as justification. In a sense, justification is a little bit like a Jedi mind trick God chooses to play on Himself that works to our advantage.      

 The cross is not, nor will it ever be a magic wand that makes us perfect. The cross, or rather our faith in the work done on the cross, did not, nor will it ever, put a seal of approval on an anger problem, gossip problem, porn problem or any other kind of a problem.

 Grace does not make our sin go away. We work and struggle and fight to make our sin go away (1st Corinthians 9:25-27, Hebrews 12:1, Hebrews 12:4). However, if grace is properly applied to our lives grace gives us the empowerment necessary to deal with our sin problems in a way that is pleasing to God.




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