MAY 2012 - FAULTESS BEFORE THE THRONE

How do you define yourself?  What measure do you use to determine who you are?  Are you good?  Are you bad?  Are you a mixture of both?  Which are you mostly? 

Do you live a pretty good Christian life, and then mess it up once in a while?  Do those moments eat at you?  Perhaps you ask yourself, “WHY DID I DO THAT?” It can be frustrating to sincere believers who want desperately to do well according to God’s law. 

We need to be cautious in trying to clothe ourselves with good or bad.  It is a spiritual mistake to self-label based on how good we are or how bad we are.  We should be careful to only clothe ourselves in the righteousness of Christ. 

Galatians 3:26-27 says it well, “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”  When we put on Christ and his righteousness we depend on him to keep us on the straight path to our inheritance as sons of God.  We don’t have to depend on the old dirty, filthy rags we used to wear. 

Years ago, I tried to build some steps for our home.  The project seemed to be doable.  Others had done it.  How hard could it be?  The stringers were cut and the step treads were installed.  Donna laughed when we walked down the steps.  A person had to lean backward to move down each step.  She still laughs about it.  But wait, no problem.  They could be corrected!  Saw, saw.  Nail, nail.  They were worse than before!  I called a friend to do it right.  He laughed too. 

No matter how hard I tried, I could not fix the problem on my own.  It just kept getting worse.  Then my friend made it work. 

That is what Jesus does for us.  No matter how many mistakes we make, our friend is there to clean up the mess for us.  We can sincerely call on him to step in and take care of things.  Unfortunately, we often are too stubborn to give up and let him. 

We can count on him to provide some clean threads to cover our imperfections.  No matter how bad, He covers them all.  What an amazing thing!  He cares and loves us enough that no matter what, his grace is all sufficient to take care of whatever mess we create. 

Listen to the words from an old spiritual warrior, the apostle John, “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.”   Christ is ready to wrap his cleansing arms around us and “make it all better.”

David Daniels writes in Discipleship Journal about how Christ views us.  “As believers, we are wrapped in Him and His righteousness.  This is our new identity.  We are no longer strangers, but children.  Not aliens, but heirs.  Not enemies, but friends.  Not sinners, but saints genuinely changed by Jesus forever.”

A friend of mine, an excellent woodworker, told me that most everything he makes has a mistake in it.  They are mistakes that no one else can see, but because he made the piece, he knows where they are.  “A good carpenter can cover mistakes.”  It is possible that a woodworker would be such a perfectionist that if there was one blemish, one flaw, he would toss the whole piece into the trash.  What a loss that would be! 

Satan wants us to live life that way.  He is always ready to pounce on the smallest mistake and maliciously point his finger.  Alone, we are no match for his accusations.  He just keeps grinding away at us, tearing us down, trying to get us to throw our lives into the trash.  He subtly, slyly tries to get us to think we aren’t worth anything because of our mistake. 

Then, the one who clothes us with righteousness, spreads his grace to cover us from Satan’s fiery darts of accusation and condemnation.  God’s grace is a great dart deflector.  Nothing gets through.  In fact, Christ actively helps us to heal the wound and get rid of the sin. 

There is an old song written nearly 200 years ago that sums it up perfectly.

My hope is built on nothing less

Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.

I dare not trust the sweetest frame,

But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

On Christ the Solid Rock I stand,

All other ground is sinking sand;

All other ground is sinking sand.

When the time comes for us to stand before the throne of God, much of what we would like to think will matter, won’t.  Tall or short, won’t matter.  Pretty or not so pretty, won’t matter.  Made a lot of money or poor, won’t mean anything.  Nice car, house, or duds?  Not for a second.  Lots of friends or alone, no significance. 

It does matter how well we have been obedient to God, but we shouldn’t allow our mistakes to keep us away from him. 

When He shall come with trumpet sound,

Oh, may I then in him be found. 

Dressed in His righteousness alone,

Faultless to stand before the throne

Faultless.  Oh, my.  Thanks, Friend.