“I am a terrible Christian.” This was said to me recently. The person who said it to me is a godly, Bible believing soul. They were not saying this in any facade of ‘brokenness’ or ‘authenticity’ which we often do in order to seem more spiritual in certain settings. This was genuine brokenness and authenticity.
I know exactly what they mean. I’ve said it myself. Often times when we examine our life and we see a disconnect between what we say we believe and what we actually do, the weight can make us cry out with the Psalmist,
“There is no health in my bones because of my sin.
4 For my iniquities are gone over my head;
As a heavy burden they weigh too much for me.
5 My wounds grow foul and fester
Because of my folly.
6 I am bent over and greatly bowed down;
I go mourning all day long.
7 For my loins are filled with burning,
And there is no soundness in my flesh.
8 I am benumbed and badly crushed;
I groan because of the agitation of my heart.” (Psalm 38:3b-8 NASB*).
What I am saying in this post is that while I understand the sentiment, it carries with it a subtle serpentine hiss of, “You can do this,” or “This hinges on you.” What this person was trying to say is, “I see so many shortcomings and failures in my walk with Christ that I wonder of progress in my sanctification.”
The reason I am making this distinction is simple. It is not my progress in sanctification that determines the quality of Christian that I am. What makes me the “quality” of Christian that I am is simple, “[K]nowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.”
Jesus Christ alone determines the quality of His bride. He alone will wash her and present her spotless and without blemish. He has begun and will carry out to completion the work He has begun in His bride.
Yes, in light of this we are to , “conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth.” The recognition of the work of Christ on behalf of sinners has an impact on how Christians are to live. Christians are to mortify sin and to put on righteousness. But it is Christ alone received through faith alone who makes Christians. And He will see to it and determine your “quality” because His blood is more precious than gold.
*Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible® (NASB), Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. http://www.Lockman.org