I can’t wear white until I get to heaven.
At least, I can’t wear white without frustration. I invariably spill food or find scuffs and stains from unknown sources that speckle my white garment.
I can wash white clothes, with varying degrees of success. But eventually they turn gray or yellowish.
So I prefer to wear clothes that make the occasional spill or scuff less noticeable.
Four times since December 30, my Daily Light on the Daily Path devotional book, compiled from Scripture by Samuel Bagster, has had readings about being blameless. Here are a few:
And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God (Philippians 1:9-11).
And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13).
Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace (2 Peter 3:14).
Sometimes the word “blameless” caused me the same kind of frustration as a white shirt. My flesh fails daily. How can I ever be blameless?
Well, first of all, we’re not only forgiven, but also cleansed when we trust Christ for our salvation.
Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish (Ephesians 5:25-27).
And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him (Colossians 1:21-22)
In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Paul lists some of the kinds of people who will not inherit the kingdom of God. Then he says in verse 11:
And such were some of you. 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.
The ESV Study Bible comments on this passage:
God has already declared the Corinthians Christians to be ‘righteous’ (see Rom. 5:1; 8:1, 33). God was able to do this because the ‘righteousness’ that belongs to Christ, due to his perfect life, has become ‘our . . . righteousness’ (1 Cor. 1:30; see also 2 Cor. 5:21). Paul’s point in 1 Cor. 6:1-11 is that the Corinthians need to live in a way that is consistent with this verdict and status (p. 2198).
If you’re familiar with the Corinthians at all, you know they weren’t living as people washed and sanctified. They weren’t going to lose their salvation, but they needed to live in light of it. We’ll never be perfect in this life, but our lives should reflect the change God has made in us. We should be continually growing more and more like our Savior.
It can be easy, as Christians, to take grace for granted. I have my sins that I continually battle with; I am sure you have yours. We can be tempted to accept that they are a part of who we are. Under the umbrella of being “authentic,” we can even wallow in our “mess” in ways that make it seem we’re proud of it.
Sure, we want to be real with people. We don’t want to portray ourselves as anywhere near perfection or above anyone.
But the Bible continually points us higher. It’s not that we rely on God’s goodness to save us and ours to walk with Him. No, we depend on His goodness all the way. We don’t compare ourselves to each other. But we strive to be like Christ. Not in our own efforts or strength, but relying on His. We rest in His grace, but we don’t presume on it.
For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live (Romans 8:13).
Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world (Phil 2:14-15).
Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation (1 Peter 2:11-12).
Not just forgiven, but actively living unblameable before the world.
Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it (1 Thessalonians 5: 22-24).
This shows both our effort–our abstaining–as well as God’s keeping us. Isn’t it interesting that verse 24, which we take out of context and apply to all kinds of other things, was a promise given to encourage us of God’s faithfulness to sanctify and keep us?
But how do we live a blameless life when we’re so prone to go our own way?
Our relationship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Back in Romans 8, our relationship with God is woven through the passage. We’re in Christ Jesus (verses 1-2); in the Spirit (verse 9); Jesus is in us (verses 10-11); we call God our Father (verses 14-16); the Spirit helps us in our weakness (verse 26); God foreknew us and predestined us to be like Christ (verses 29-30); nothing can separate us from God’s love (verses 31-37). These truths of our relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are throughout the Scripture.
Remember you are a temple of God. Not your own. Bought with a price. “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1Corinthians 6:18-20).
Word of God. “So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation” (1 Peter 2:1-2). “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:9-11).
Prayer. “Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression” (Psalm 19:13).
Confession: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
Don’t just “don’t,” but “do“—actively follow right. “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22).
Don’t make provision for the flesh. “Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires” (Romans 13:13-15).
Be renewed in our minds. Ephesians 4 shows the difference being a Christian should make in our lives. Paul urges us to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called” (verse 1) and explains why. In the middle he calls us to “put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24).
Abide in Christ. “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:4-5).
Yield to God. “Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God” (Romans 6:13).
Walk in the Spirit. “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh) Galatians 5:16).
Beholding His glory. “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (Corinthians 3:18). Ultimately, our change comes as we behold Him.
Does this all seem a little overwhelming, a little too much to keep up with? It’s probably supposed to, to remind us that we can’t do it on our own. The word “walk” in Galatians 5 is encouraging to me because a walk is a series of steps. I don’t have to worry about the whole pathway of the rest of my life. I just have to take this step yielding to Him, walking in fellowship with Him.
I think of this similarly to parents and children. In most cases, parents love children even when they mess up or wills clash. They’ll do everything they can to help a child do right. A child isn’t ever going to stop being his parents’ child, even if they aren’t on good terms. But a child who loves and respects his parents will want to do what they say and please them, even though sometimes he fails.
“As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:13-14). But He also said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). We don’t do His will to earn or increase His love, but to show our love to Him. And when we fail, we come to Him for cleansing and forgiveness and carry on.
Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. (Jude 24-25).
(I often link up with some of these bloggers.)