Imperfect, sin-tainted obedience

When we work to be about our duty to defend and care for the poor, the orphan, the widow, the alien and the stranger like we see modeled for us by righteous Job in Job 31—when we take action to help the weak—we will sin in the process of that.

What do I mean by this?

First, we have to understand that everything that we do in this life is tainted by our sin (this is an application of total depravity)—even when we are at our best and consciously working to obey God, we don’t carry out His commands fully or with perfectly pure motives. So when I say that “when we take action to help the weak we will sin in the process of that” I’m not really saying much—there is sin in everything we do.

The thing is, though, we’re no cleaner or freer from sin if we don’t act—in fact, when Jesus speaks of separating the righteous from the unrighteous at the end of the age as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, the great sin of the unrighteous is in failing to act to help the weak – ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ (Matthew 25:31-46)…

At this point it’s easy to get discouraged. We say with the Apostle Paul, “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?” What’s the good of anything, if there’s sin in everything we do? The answer is that through the blood of Jesus Christ our Lord, God is pleased to use our feeble efforts, imperfect and sin-tainted as they are, to accomplish the work of His kingdom. This is the Christian life! The more we set ourselves to the work of obedience, the more we know our sin and the more we hate it and fight it and cry out to God for deliverance from it. And God will answer our prayers. “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).

So when we begin to help the weak and see sin in ourselves, we must not give up! Instead we must press on in hope, confessing our sins and trusting that God will accept our sacrifice (Romans 12:2). After all, this is why God made us: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).

This entry was posted in faith, hope, love your neighbor, masculinity. Bookmark the permalink.

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